It took me way longer to post this review than it probably should have. I had a hard time organizing my thoughts. If this still seems a little scattered, know that it is despite my best efforts. So, here are the customary and obligatory disclaimers and disclosures. I did receive a free, advanced copy of this book for the purposes of review. This does not impact my opinion in any way. As always, my thoughts are my own.
I’m also going to get back into the habit of providing all the information I used to provide about the price, availability, etc. I’ve been slacking a little on my research lately.
This week’s review is for The Chrysillium Tree by Laken Honeycutt. It is releasing September 22, 2021 (yes, I really cut it to the last minute on this ARC review). It is not Amazon exclusive and will be available digitally for Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo, etc for $2.99. Paperback is also available for $15.99. It weighs in at 268 pages. It is written in English, and I am not aware of any plans for translation or audio at this time.
About the Author
Laken Honeycutt is an indie author from New England. She is fond of forests and enjoys activities that bring her close to nature, such as hiking and kayaking. She’s quite active on Twitter, where she motivates and supports fellow indie authors.
As I’m sure you all know by now, I can be a fan of both the simplistic and the ornate when it comes to cover design.
I have mixed feelings about this one. The font is gorgeous and well contrasted with the background, making it very legible. The tree in the center is interesting. However, with its white backdrop, I cannot help but feel that it lacks some oomph for a digital cover. If I wasn’t aware of the book and anticipating its release I think I’d be liable to skip over it in my Kindle scrolling.
It’s a really pretty cover, it just doesn’t have a lot of visual punch. I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks in paperback though. I may update my rating at that point.
3 teaspoons for exterior design.
Since I received a digital ARC, I won’t be giving a rating for the interior. However, I didn’t notice any major issues with my copy, so I’m sure the final release copies will be just fine.
The book starts with an interesting premise. The main character, Mæve, has been taken as a slave by a cruel, expansionist empire. Her slavery puts her in the right place to learn some of the terrible secrets and plunge her into a whirlwind of rebellion and romance.
I enjoyed Mæve as a protagonist. She didn’t do a lot of hand-wringing, instead taking action to save herself and others when the need arose.
Without spoiling too much, there is a bit of a love triangle. I will also admit that I was on Team <Redacted> the entire time, despite what some other ARC readers were saying on Twitter.
By far I think the most interesting character in the book was Isaac. He had the most depth and dimension of any of the characters, more so than either Mæve or Aramaiti in my opinion. It seems like he’s been set up for some interesting things in a sequel, and I’m looking forward to exploring that.
Some of the characters did fall a little flat for me at times. While there were injuries and deaths, they weren’t particularly impactful because we weren’t really given enough time with those characters to feel a lot of attachment to them.
This. This is where Honeycutt shines. Holy moly can she world build. It just feels like there’s a ton of history, myth, and lore hiding behind every door in this book. I suspect we only got a small taste of everything there is. Further, each world element that was introduced seemed to have a direct impact on the story while still giving the world depth and breadth. Bravo.
I did have some issues with the plot. There were some great twists I was not expecting and the characters did suffer some serious injuries and losses. However. There were times when it felt like certain things were just too easy and it lost some tension for me. The romance that ended up being end-game also felt a bit underdeveloped to me, which may be why some people were Team <Redacted>.
You thought I was going to spoiler on you, didn’t you?
Overall I really enjoyed Honeycutt’s style. It was easy to read and times lyrical. The overall pacing was good, despite the points I noted above about the plot.
The Chrysillium Tree was a great read with a world that felt deep and full of interesting cultures and conflicts. Its greatest strengths are in its world-building and the interesting stage in which the characters tell their story. I’m really looking forward to a follow-up!