Katie W. Stewart, 2011

Premise: Jakan is the Treespeaker for the Fifth Tribe of Arrakesh. His people live deep in the sacred forest, and speak to their god through special great trees, one in each tribe. The Treespeaker names the proper Chief Elder for the Tribe, foretells the weather, and generally advises the people so that they can live in balance with the forest. But this year, all Jakan can foresee is danger and death. A danger is coming to the tribe from outside, even though that should not be possible. It is also impossible for a Treespeaker to leave the forest and live, but Jakan will have to try, if he wants to save his people.

I thought the writing in this book was quite strong, although I didn't love the last third or so.

The world of the Tribes is colorful and interesting. I liked the use of magic, the mystery surrounding the impending doom, the internal politics of the group and the families. There's some romanticizing of their pastoral way of life, but that's par for the course in this genre.

Reading about Jakan trying to survive in the world outside the forest, where no one knows the rules he's always lived by, is pretty great too. There's a nice dose of mysticism, and a good scattering of supporting characters. The style is addictive and easy to follow.

However, somewhere near the build up to the climax the plot takes a left turn. Suddenly their god seems a lot more powerful, Jakan's mission fairly pointless, and a lot of the earlier plot and theme seems undermined. The ending is fine, I just found it really unsatisfying compared to what had gone before.

Overall I'm going to have to call it a good book, but it could have been better.

3 Stars – A Good Book


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