So I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Treemakers at an author takeover event, it’s fair to say that this author wasn’t known to me until then and I’m glad that I got this opportunity.
So, the Earth has been ruined by it’s inhabitants, the hole in the atmosphere leaving no protection to anything above ground, wander in the open at your peril. The decimation of the trees has led to poor oxygenation and life expectancy. In order to survive new trees are fabricated from metals, filtering out the toxic air and allowing life - of a quality of sorts. Joy (although her existence is far from joyous) is a teenager working in the tree factory, although young herself, she is “momma Joy” to the younger children forced to work alongside her in perilous conditions, her and her best friend Jax, the unofficial parents to the orphaned brigade. The factory is overseen by the “superiors”, truly vile specimens of adulthood, able to prolong their lives through the oxygen canisters they are privy to. The children are ruled by fear .
Joy and Jax, when the opportunity arises, spend their nights exploring the bunkers and underground tunnels for anything that could make their lives easier, and one night they are pulled into an experience like no other, a paradise beneath the factory and a chance to escape. Caught on their return, punishments are severe and without mercy - punishments that fuel their need for vengeance and escape further than ever. Help from unexpected quarters leads to a a chance of a new life, but at what cost, and can paradise really be so?
I would say that this is a book which is very much at the top end of the YA age range, there are some really difficult topics which although are alluded to, still very much stayed with me. The friends receive horrible abuses at the hands of the Superiors and powerful imagery is left in it’s wake. The story pulls no punches when it comes to the risks taken and is very much a tonic to the stories where some characters are obviously expendable from the start.
It had the power to convey a sense of menace throughout and i had adrenaline at times about what was going to come on the next page, I was left never fully relaxed whist reading on tenterhooks about what would happen next. It’s been a long time since i have been reading a book and spending every spare second sneaking in a couple of pages here and there.
I realise that i have made this sound very doom and gloom and it isn’t the case there are some beautiful moments - especially when Joy becomes storyteller to the children, and when she find she is able to reminisce about her father when new friends are unexpectedly made along the way. The children's final destination provides them with the reprieve that they so needed, but the truth weighing on Joy’s shoulders is very much something that i am looking forward to finding out more about in book 2.
In a world which seems too good to be true, can Joy let her guard down and embrace what the future could be?
This is an exceptional story and i’m glad I also won book 2 so I can move straight on to the next part.