Trees of Change (Review)

Trees of Change (Review)

rees of Change is the second of a three book YA series authored by Janessa Gayheart, the first of which (The Thousand Year Ghost) I gave a reserved review. The author contacted me and asked me consider the series as a whole. So, as a writer, another rung of that long ladder has been reached: I got a free review copy. smiley

Anyway, even though you could just follow the link above to remember the deal, young Hickory lives in a world a thousand years in the future, altered by some titanic change that swept everything away. Portland is buried under silt and forest, but the past keeps popping up (in the form of illegal artifacts and second-shift ghosts).

I say illegal because the community is divided – most of them hold to the idea that they must follow quasi-religious dictates and not interact with the past. Hickory thinks otherwise. Several discoveries (and a fortuitous rescue) opens the community up to change.

See, to get to this point, I reread the first one book again. That’s the sort of reviewer I am. Now I suppose I should get on with this review, right?

Anyway, Trees of Change picks up immediately where we left off, with Hickory’s father’s new position in doubt. And while we still have a lot of the usual YA fare (not unexpected in a YA book), that being bullies, changing relationships with parents, entry into adulthood and dynamics with opposite-gender friends, the book does push much deeper into the world of “Portla”. With the swing in outlook, the township assigns its airship to go out and fetch back all the folks they turfed out for thoughtcrime. And Hickory has that big move to Ewok-land. And there is that ghost he’s having a blossoming relationship with. And those religo-bullies. And the artifacts he’s found. Yes, we’re all quite busy in this book.

One thing I was gladdened to see was that Trees was a much deeper book than the first. I’ll give the author credit and provide no spoilers, but there are at least three things that made me stop reading and say “Whoa”. And if you want to be this reviewer’s darling, catch me by honest and crafted surprise and you’ve won me. So now I’ve come to the end of the second part, with unanswered questions of the strange ecosystem, hints of the missing survivor ship, a recovered (yet mysterious) hermit, and I’m left looking forward to the last of the trilogy, which is pretty good for a YA series – Harry Potter never captured me like this.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me without noting technical fouls – couple of typos (look who’s talking; Early ReTyrement has a few), and there is the matter of paragraph tabbing. Maybe it was my apple reader (never had this happen before) but I saw the text drift from block paragraph to three-character tabbing to six, back and forth. Not a big deal – it’s like noticing that the mileposts change formats on a scenic drive.

So, if you are looking for a good YA series (so far, at least), you might want to check out The Story of Eidolon, which contains all three books under one title. Like the Mystery Tree sprouting beyond Canopy Fields, it’s growing on me.