Book Spotlight: Rootless by Chris Howard

Seventeen-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 mysterious 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 some uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of stunning images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.


The book starts out with Banyan getting hired to build a forest for a wealthy man. The world has been torn apart by Darkness, and trees are something of the past. The landscape is destroyed, the locusts eat humans, and the constant dust storms make it hard to breathe. That is the world that Banyan lives in. His father was taken a year ago, and now Banyan is on his own. He’s a skilled builder, able to survive on the hard work he does. This seemed like a routine assignment, but it wasn’t. Banyan didn’t expect to meet a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo, or her daughter. Now it’s Banyan’s mission to find the place where the last trees exist and that’s where the fun begins. 

This whole book was one big mess of crazy! And I mean that in a good way. Banyan is a great character, a surviver, who makes decisions much better than I would’ve expected. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book. Every page had me guessing on what’s going to happen next. I like watching Banyan grow as a character and he really had to do that in this book. 

I also really enjoyed Alpha. Although, I swear, every page I felt like she was going to die. Everyone around Banyan just seem to and I kind of wanted her to survive (You’re going to have to read the book to find out what happened). She was definitely a kick butt kind of a girl, who didn’t take any crap from anyone. I liked her chemistry with Banyan, how she balanced him. 
Howard paints a picture of a world that is so realistic it makes you think twice about the one outside your own window. Every page is full of imagination and description that leaps out of the story. It did take me a little bit to get into it, I just wasn’t sure about the whole idea at first. But once I got through the beginning, the story takes off. Rootless comes out November 1st, 2012. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy reading, 

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