Saturday, February 9, 2013

G21 Book Review of Rootless by Chris Howard

Name of Book: Rootless

Author: Chris Howard

ISBN: 978-0-545-38789-7

Publisher: Scholastic

Part of a Series: Rootless series perhaps? (This is book 1 it says at the end.)

Type of book: Science fiction, post apocalypse, lack of trees, genetic modification, big corporation, journey, coming of age, forests

Year it was published: 2012


17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .

Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

In this dazzling debut, Howard presents a disturbing world with uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.


The characters are perhaps one of the better strengths of the book; although I got confused by the names and couldn't differentiate between them. The female heroine, Alpha is a strong one, as well as Zee and Hina later in the story. I had a hard time understanding Banyan's world unfortunately.


Things are not what they seem.


This is in first person narrative from Banyan's point of view. For me the story seemed to be predictable and only parts I enjoyed were towards the ending. Other than that, I had to slog through what seemed to be boredom. Where exactly were they located? I was also confused about things the at end, and didn't appreciate how we are led to one thing, then without a warning something else begins! Very jarring and frustrating. This is supposed to be a young adult novel? A little sexual than what I remember. I'm not putting the author down or anything, just some things I feel the author needs to improve on.

Author Information:

The United Kingdom



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Literature & Fiction, Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy

From Cormac McCarthy to Cowboy Bebop

member since
December 2010

About this author
I'm the author of ROOTLESS (Scholastic, OUT NOW). The book takes place in a future where no nature survives, and it's about a 17-year-old who discovers a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth. The book's full of Rasta warriors, punk-rock pirates and flesh-eating locusts... Yeah! Check out Publishers Weekly very cool STARRED REVIEW. I live in Denver, but grew up not far from London. I studied natural resources in college, then spent seven years leading wilderness trips for high school students. I like to write more than anything else I've ever done, though reading is right up there, too! CHEERS!
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I have a confession to make: I'm not a science fiction person. Yeah, so why enter the giveway for this book then? Can't claim drugs or alcohol, maybe it sounded interesting thus I entered into it and won Rootless by Chris Howard. I have a difficult time reading science fiction, and yes I took a class and read the assigned stories/books. For me they need to be set either historically or contemporary just so I can know the history without being bored. That being said, I wanted to like Rootless. It has a cool book cover, (not to mention someone I know said the author looks cute.) Things I enjoyed was the way Banyan's voice was written, and the slightly imagined world. Yet in this case I needed some info dump to understand how things came to be. I also felt that the story was very predictable and little in it surprised it, or should have surprised me. Its a very good effort I think, but it didn't help me become a fan.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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