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Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
The Sowing Playlist
Arranged By Elena & Amira of K. Makansi
- “Uprising” by Muse – The lyrics and rhythm in this song provide a great introduction to the Resistance in The Sowing.
- “Fireside” by the Arctic Monkeys – We love how well this song plays to Remy and Vale’s thoughts about the other. She’s confused and torn up about their past, but also knows that he can’t be trusted anymore; he’s been hurt and rejected, yet he cannot stop thinking about her.
- “Irresponsible Tune” by the Dirty Projectors These lyrics epitomize the struggle to find joy in a world that is “crooked, fucked up, and wrong.”
- “Wade In The Water” by Sweet Honey In The Rock – Though this is a spiritual/gospel song, and there isn’t much religion in The Sowing, the essence of the song is about struggle and faith, and finding joy and stability in an otherwise chaotic world.
- “Red Sea, Black Sea” by Shearwater – Chosen for the lyrics in the middle stanza that always sound dystopian and ominous to me: “And the walls came down, it was a f***ing disaster / The whole thing’s changed in unthinkable ways / And you have come to inherit it”
- “Baby We’ll Be Fine” by The National – This is one of our all-time favorites, and even though the lyrics are rather contemporary, we think this song characterizes Remy’s struggle to persevere despite all the odds. The lyric “Baby we’ll be fine / All we gotta do is be brave and be kind” is excellent advice for us all!
- “In The Flowers” by Animal Collective – The ethereal, otherworldly sounds capture the insanity inside Remy’s head while she’s hallucinating from the drugs the Sector’s given to her. It helps that the song is called “In The Flowers,” which fits as Remy visualizes two starkly different, but equally beautiful, flowers.
- “Climbing Up The Walls” by Radiohead – The sounds that are pulled out of this song are strained, tortured, stretched. It’s a perfect song for the moment when Vale is questioning everything he’s ever known, and trying to confront the life he now sees as a lie.
- “Ghost Towns” by Radical Face – The lyrics to this song seem to represent Vale’s uncertainty and fear of the future once he’s made the critical decision to leave the Sector.
- “No Light, No Light” by Florence and the Machine – This song is an anthem for the fraught relationship Vale and Remy share. It sums up the guilt and heavy past that weighs the two down but that also brings them together.
- Waltz in C-Sharp Minor, composed by Frederic Chopin – This waltz is critical to explaining Soren’s character. It’s classical piano, which is, of course, one of his passions, and this particular waltz is minor key but upbeat, which captures his dark humor and energy in one go. It feels like Soren is speaking to us, making a sarcastic comment under his breath or trying to communicate an emotion that he just can’t express through words.
- “One Too Many Mornings” by Bob Dylan – This captures the burden laid on all our characters by the last third of the book. All of them, I feel, have that “restless, hungry feeling that don’t mean no one no good” and “one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.”
- “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd – This song perfectly describes the climactic battle scene towards the end of the book, and all of the sadness that inevitably accompanies it.
- “Please” by Little Green Cars – This song, to me, perfectly sums up the desperate apology Vale tries to offer Remy in the budding dawn after the final battle in The Sowing. “Please believe my lies,” she sings. “Please don’t go, I won’t hurt you I swear/ I’ll just hold your hand, that’s all I wanted anyway.” I can almost hear these words coming out of Vale’s mouth.
- “After The Bombs” OR by the Decemberists – This is essentially a war song, about the strange and terrifying contrast between the crazy of battle and the calm that comes after: “We grip at our hands / we hold just a little tight / after the bombs / after the bombs / subside.”
- “Your Bones” by Of Monsters and Men – A gorgeous but tragic song, burdened with death but lifted by hope, this song celebrates the natural world and the circle of life. “Hold on to your heart.” This is the perfect song to sum up the ending of The Sowing and lead the charge into The Reaping.
K. Makansi is the pen name for the writing triumvirate consisting of Amira, Elena, and Kristina Makansi. Two sisters and their mother, the three women developed a passionate interest in science fiction as a way to write about issues of food sovereignty and food justice. Elena is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, and will graduate in May of 2014. Amira was a history student at the University of Chicago whose day job working in the cellar of a winery (and constantly being splattered with wine) keeps her busy when she’s not writing. And Kristy owns and operates Blank Slate Press, an independent publishing company based out of St. Louis, and is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group, a company providing editorial and design services to aspiring authors. When not writing or reading, the three can be found having animated discussions around the dinner table, sharing a good bottle of wine, or taking long walks in the park eagerly plotting out their next book.
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