Connect About Thanks for stopping by the site. I spend a lot of my time writing but to take a break from the stories in my head, I like to head out on adventures in my camper van, the Blue Elephant. I take my mountain bike, my guitar, some good coffee, and head up into the hills with my wife and any friends we can convince to come along for the ride. Before he wrote stories, Chris wrote songs, studied natural resources management, worked for the National Park Service, and spent eight years leading wilderness adventure trips for high school students.

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Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. 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.

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. I just finished reading it.

There is no blog post that is long enough for me to get how wordy I want to get. I will try and contain myself. The Set-Up. Something like a hundred years ago or maybe a little more, The Darkness came. There was twenty years of night. After this, the sun came back, but the moon was all wonky and took up much more space in the sky see there on the cover?

It made the ocean tides different and messed up all kinds of stuff on the earth. Now nothing is the same. Locusts came and ate everything, including the trees and crops. Everything is dusty. The dust is in the air, in the sky, all over everything. It gets in eyes and mouths. Because there are no trees, everything is made of metal. And plastic. Even the houses are made of metal.

So we have towns that are devoid of trees, grass, crops, plants. The only trees are the steel and plastic trees, and these are the trees that Banyan builds. Banyan is a tree builder. He builds the best trees in the steel cities. He builds these forests out of scrap metal, plastic, and lights. He loves making these fake forests look like they are changing seasons.

He wants them to look believable, like trees really used to look… Banyan is young and alone since his father is gone, struggling to survive. He gets a job working for Frost, who is a very bad man — quite the opposite of Banyan, actually.

Frost has some people living in his house, interesting people: a wife, her daughter, his son. There are other characters, including a beautiful pirate girl called Alpha. All of the characters are important to the development of the story and very interesting. I enjoyed reading even the bad guys. The Quest. Banyan learns information from the people living with the bad guy, Frost. Some of this information includes possible clues to the location of the last real, live trees in the world.

When Banyan sees a picture with even more information in it, he becomes hungry, thirsty, ill with need to get to this place. And oh my stars! In lots of places, it is still solid and sticky in the heat — but not everywhere. The dust is so thick it covers your windshield and slows you down.

This is particularly dangerous when there are dangers out there like pirates and locusts and poachers. I get very nerdy over things like the fact that Banyan and I travel the same roads, you guys. I am not joking. Yes, there are Pirates in this story. They are tough. They are awesome. They live in the Old Orleans area. They wear tall rubber boots because of the swampy area of Orleans, which was completely new to Banyan and they wear weapons.

They completely freak Banyan out and hold him prisoner at first — when they realize he is a tree builder, they commission him for a job… I love the beautiful and dangerous pirate. The one they call Alpha. A lot. After the locusts, pretty much nothing will grow. GenTech finds a way to make one particular kind of corn grow that the locusts cannot eat. The GenTech cornfields are a huge chunk of the landscape, which stand between the steel cities — where Banyan and Frost live — and the supposed location of the last remaining trees.

This means Banyan and his group need to cross thru the corn fields. Crossing thru these fields means potential battles with the deadly, man-eating locusts. And the GenTech staff. And poachers. And whatever else may be hiding out there. I loved every detail. I was absolutely amazed at how intricate and complex the plot was, and yet it stayed adventurous and fun and action-packed and awesome at the same time.

Okay, so you guys know that I am a cover girl, and I was completely mesmerized by this cover when I saw it for the first time. And then the summary hooked me. I ended up playing around on it for a couple of hours. See, there are seven clues hidden on the website. When you find them, you uncover these details about the book. So I sat and looked and played for quite a long time. The cover looks great, the summary is great, the website is cool — so the book must be great too, right?

Dusty and metallic. I could almost taste dust in my mouth and was practically wiping it out of my eyes. I loved it.

Not too far into the book — when Banyan saw the picture I mention up above — I had the death-grip on my Kindle and began with the holding-of-my-breath. It was completely exhausting and awesome. Once Banyan left to search for the trees, I could barely move. I kept shifting positions to read. Rootless is an adventure story with some crazy twists. A lot of twists, actually. Tons of action. A great male leading character. A mean bad guy and a bad corporation. Locusts, pirates, poachers, stuff like that.

People chasing people. A big moon that made the ocean wild and crazy. Some weapons, some fighting, and some people die for their causes. There is a lot of hope and there is a little bit of romance. The world-building is great. The language and imagery are vivid and so easy to visualize.

I practically watched a movie of this book in my head while I read it. The characters are colorful. The plot — just, wow. The plot is fast-paced and action-packed. I want everyone I know to read this book so we can talk about it.

Then tell other people about it. Rootless by Chris Howard is a strong start, a great start, a fun start to what I expect will be an awesome trilogy. I recommend Rootless for fans of adventure stories, dystopian stories, and YA male leads. And everyone else too.


Review | Rootless by Chris Howard

Shelves: won-t-re-read , male-lead I was so excited about this book when I found it, and it should have been completely perfect for me, but instead I find myself forcing to finish it. I really mean forcing too; I checked the weather at least five times and circled my favorite sites at least 10 before finishing what turned out to be two minutes worth of reading. Like the forests I was so excited about this book when I found it, and it should have been completely perfect for me, but instead I find myself forcing to finish it. 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. When I was a kid my parents referred to me as a tree and bunny hugger.



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