Review – Semiosis

Posted May 3, 2018 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Semiosis by Sue BurkeSemiosis, Sue Burke

I originally received this to review, but I felt bad for neglecting it and picked up the hardback at that most excellent bookstore, the American Book Center in Amsterdam. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, so that was the impetus to finally get going, and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. The idea is great, and the way it explores a different kind of intelligence, a different way of living, is really great. I enjoyed the character of Stevland; it was a little too human-sounding at times near the end, but I do think that was partially intentional, as Stevland and the humans grew to co-exist and help one another, and genuinely work together (rather than one thinking of training or compelling the other).

I also really enjoyed that though the plants being sentient and against you would make a really creepy and probably enjoyable sci-fi story, it was more complex than that. Nothing was as simple as some of the characters saw it — even Tatiana, whose narration I quite liked for her dedication to working out what was happening, didn’t get Stevland quite right.

I was less impressed with the narrative voice, which sounded too much the same between the different characters, but that was about my only quibble. Sometimes it rather deadened the impact of events, but nonetheless there were some excellent scenes — especially with Stevland, but also one with Tatiana and Jersey.

Overall, not perfect, but recommended!

Rating: 4/5

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2 responses to “Review – Semiosis

    • Yes, especially since they have so many differences in culture! There’s some stuff in the language (the idea of someone’s best, and the increasing abbreviations of fippolions and so on) but not much in terms of the tone.

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