The first book of the Saga of Evil series is an action-packed sci-fi thriller that begins with a man named Corey, who wakes up in a hospital and is asked to recount his failed mission to Mars. Between short snippets of monologue from Corey, the bulk of the story unfolds as one large flashback, following Corey as he fights ancient monsters that were awakened by previous explorers.
Seed of Evil is written in the format of a kickass video game. Corey’s team is ambushed, and he is left as the sole survivor on a decimated planet where a military base once prospered. After he fights some demonic monsters, he gains mysterious powers (leveling up), and then goes on to fight bigger, badder bad guys, until he meets face to face with what one might compare to the “boss” of classic video games. This is a formula that works well with the fast pace of the book, but it is somewhat predictable.
At under 40k words (just about 100 pages) this book is almost short enough to be considered a novella. This means that it’s an easy, fun read that you could take to the beach on a lazy morning and finish before you get home. Although the fast-paced style is fun, the world building and character development are flat. While the plot is fantastic, and some of the scenes and concepts are brilliant, the story falls short of its potential.
Even more unfortunate is the lack of editing that went into the book. Seed of Evil needs a content edit to help with sentence structure and tenses, as well as a thorough copyedit to catch typos. The editing process did not do the book justice, and the resulting issues are distracting throughout.
I find it hard to whole-heartedly recommend Seed of Evil as a stand-alone book, but I have hopes that future novels in the Saga of Evil will tap into its potential (assuming that Robert Friedrich will invest in an editor). Since Seed of Evil is essentially a teaser for the rest of the books in this series, its shortcomings will most likely be addressed in later books. If you value plot over character development, don’t care about grammar, and are willing to take a risk on a short and easy read, it's worth a shot.
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Amy R. Biddle, co-founder and editor at Underground Book Reviews, was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has since made a living on the great blue sea. Find out more at www.amyrbiddle.com or check out her book, The Atheist's Prayer.