Working at a library has always provided a never-ending list of titles to add to my reading list. One such moment occurred when I was adding audio books to the collection and a title peaked my interest: The Trees by Ali Shaw. The short annotation was interesting enough for me to order a print copy and look it up on Goodreads for a longer description. The basic idea is that an ancient forest takes over in the middle of the night, sprouting up through houses, demolishing whole cities and killing many. The book has curious chapter headings that push you further into the story and subsequently the characters’ lives as they try to figure out how to survive such a catastrophe. Something that first struck me about this book was that the first character the reader meets is mostly unlikable. He’s whiny, lazy, and pities himself so often that you find yourself reading more just to get away from him. Once the other characters join him however, the crew becomes a weird mix of frustration and interest with the myriad of personalities Shaw has put together. What I loved about this book was that it twisted and turned in non-obvious places, much like a tree, it kept growing into something bigger (pun clearly intended).
I burned through the book in a few days which may or may not have led to some sleepy mornings. I never used to like horror books of any kind, not even ghost stories told around camp fires. Now I can’t get enough and The Trees is a perfect mix of horror, mystery and ancient beings to please any occult fan. Even the ending was a surprise, it was perfectly heartbreaking, but needed for the story to make any kind of sense. If you are into horror, getting angry at characters or horticulture, I highly recommend this book. I am not the only fellow library employee who has enjoyed this read, check out these comments below.
“A unique dystopia in our world full of the destructive end of the civilization. This book has the same great survival and a little bit of horror that all great dystopias have but the environment is so well done. Well worth a read.”
-Josh, Reader Advisor
“I quickly sank into the primordial forest of The Trees, whose atmosphere was both beautiful and dire. My only complaint is that Mr. Shaw’s book ended too soon. I was reluctant to leave his world of mysterious Whisperers, guiding kirin, and resurging flora and fauna.”
-Devon, Manager of Patron Services