Book Review: The Trees by Ali Shaw

First off, if that cover doesn’t draw you in nothing will. Just look at it!

One look at that cover and I was half way to the till. I read the back first and nearly put it back down. ‘An English ecological version of The Road‘. I really didn’t enjoy The Road. It was far too bleak and depressing. I know that by their very nature post apocalyptic books will be darker, but that went too far for me. While we’re on the subject of post apocalypse novels, or films and TV for that matter, why don’t people use cars. Roads will last for decades, as will cars, and fuel is easy enough to obtain from a HGV tanker, while basic car maintenance isn’t too difficult. In The Walking Dead, all the ‘alive’ characters are walking as well. If cars are too difficult, why not use bicycles. You will easily out run a zombie on a bicycle.

Anyway, back to The Trees. The author currently lives in Oxford, my old town, and he used to study at Lancaster Uni, so in the end I did pick up the book.

The beginning is breathtaking. One night, trees explode into being, suddenly appearing fully grown everywhere, bursting through roads and houses, obliterating shops, and unfortunately killing a fair few people. Obviously in this scenario cars and bicycles are of no use. Our intrepid group head off looking for one of their siblings, who already lives in a forest, before searching for the main characters wife, who was on a business trip in Ireland when the trees arrive.

The whole book is an allegory, although the hidden meaning, that humans are destroying our world, isn’t very hidden. The book stumbles along in places, but I was hooked, and even though some comments online suggest that there isn’t any real plot, I didn’t find this to be a problem as it is more of a journey. A physical, mental and spiritual journey for various characters.

I enjoyed it immensely and gave it five out of five on Goodreads.