This book is my latest foray into the realm of fantasy, a genre which has really grown on me lately. Jakan is the treespeaker for the 5th Tribe of Arrakesh. He is the man who communes with Arrakesh to determine the course his forest village should take, and as such is an influential person within the community. However his role, and the village's way of life, is threatened when an outsider arrives with hidden intentions. When Jakan finds himself outside the veil which protects the forest, trying to save his life and his village, his son Dovan is discovering powers he didn't know he had.
This is an adult book but the content and themes make it suitable for the younger reader too. I loved the pastoral feel and the beliefs held by the Arrakeshi people, and thought the testing of their beliefs and the lure of the neighbouring, arguably more advanced, land was a great element. I also liked the creatures in the story that appear in the Arrakeshi's mythology, and the magical elements.
There is definitely an element of "the grass is greener" for the young people of the tribe who are allowed outside the veil for a year once they are 18. Dovan is looking forward to his own Sharesh, and exploring new places, but in order to save his home he has to grow up quickly. I really liked this character and felt for him as he tried to overcome tragedy but still be strong and almost take on his father's role despite his age and inexperience. It's probably an overused phrase but it is partly a coming of age story in addition to the age old battle of good and evil.
In places I found the introduction of several new characters at once a bit hard to keep track of, especially with some of the unusual names but I really enjoyed the beautiful world the author had created, and the level of detail regarding their culture which is woven in well. It's been very well edited and I would love to see a sequel, especially with more of Dovan's viewpoint.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*