I Did Nazi That Coming – A Review of Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

I had never thought I’d be using this pun in the title of a review, and here I am.

I picked up Bitter Seeds in a bookshop at the end of January, intrigued by its seemingly unconventional plot. It lived up to its first impressions and was finished in under three weeks.

In case the title of the book didn’t provide insight into this book, it takes place during the second world war. Only that there are some unusual players in the game; the Nazis have young adults with trained psychic abilities on their side, as British government agent Raybould Marsh finds out on a mission in Spain. As the Nazis gain on the Allies in the war, Raybould calls upon Will, a friend from university, to help provide their own supernatural secrets to win the war. That secret is Warlocks.

The premise itself was a hook; I have recently discovered a joy over reading books taking place in the Second World War. But this book was full of surprises. It was not simply battles and blood, although they did feature in it. The explorations of loyalty and morals were done very well in the context of this. And boy, was it dark. If you’re not a fan of dark stuff, this may not be your book. Oh, but it was SO my book! These relationships, these stakes… it was good!

But there was still some bad. I feel like with some characters while they got me engaged their personalities could have gone deeper. In particular, some of their motives get lost. The ending was also a lot calmer than I had anticipated. Without giving spoilers I’d say that the stakes weren’t quite as high as is typically structured at that point of the book, so its final chapters were a deflation of a lot of the mood.

Character I Loved

Gretel outright wins this. Her character is the most intriguing I’ve ever seen. From her thought processes, to her sinister charm, to her relationships I was hooked in. She was as well written as the protagonists, but I love her more than that. While she is totally on the bad side, I kind of want to protect her. Not that she needs it…

Character I Loved To Hate

Reinhart. Oh, the bastard. The things he does combined with his asshole nature just boils my blood! While Gretel did some dark things, some even darker than he did, I hate him more because of that a-word that is used to describe him.

Favourite Chapter

Chapter nine was full of all the emotions, and I drank them right up!

Favourite Serious Quote

‘Ravens everywhere huddled in their nests, to ride out the ice.’

This requires a lot of context and knowledge of its symbolism, but in short it was a beautiful way to describe how the world in the perspective of the ravens had turned to chaos.

Favourite Not So Serious Quote


And that was how Gretel roasted Rudolf and I fell in love with her.

Overall Verdict

A pleasant surprise with engaging content.

Bitter seeds gets a score of 4/5.

Yours in writing


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