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The Trees

By: Ali Shaw
Narrated by: Ben Onwukwe
Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Summary

There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins.

There is no warning. No chance to prepare. They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.

Adrien Thomas has never been much of a hero. But when he realises that no help is coming, he ventures out into this unrecognisable world. Michelle, his wife, is across the sea in Ireland and he has no way of knowing whether the trees have come for her too. Then Adrien meets green-fingered Hannah and her teenage son Seb.

Together, they set out to find Hannah's forester brother, to reunite Adrien with his wife - and to discover just how deep the forest goes. Their journey will take them to a place of terrible beauty and violence, to the dark heart of nature and the darkness inside themselves.

©2016 Ali Shaw (P)2016 Bolinda

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but slow

The book starts quite quickly with a whole load of trees shooting up through the Earth's surface and instantly turning the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. No more internet, no more roads and an awful lot of screaming and dying from those unlucky enough to be impaled on branches as they grew from the ground.

From this great set-up, we meander. We really meander. Our protagonists traipsing slowly to one location and then another, occasionally philosophising an awful lot about what this scenario means. There's a fantastical nature to this new landscape with Whisperers hiding among the leaves and Unicorn-esque creatures guiding the way. Many would have stopped at this point (from other reviews, many have) but if you continue on, much like the characters in the book, there's a reward of sorts. The ending is certainly divisive and who knows if it was for me (I'm still attempting to process what happened) but in the final chapters the book moves quickly, which was great and for the first time listening to it there was real interest to see how events would transpire. Unfortunately it was a little too late but the descriptions are evocative, the idea is immense and this is probably ripe for an interesting TV mini-series adaptation.

The narration was very crisp and clear - all in all, very good - and that cover is absolutely beautiful.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

High Expectations but I Gave Up!

Was it the writing, or the lugubrious, snail-paced narration? The premise was great - Trees take back the planet as a small band of survivors search for loved ones. The setup and mix of characters were full of promise. Yet the pedestrian dialogue and the droning narration finally got to me. Half-way through I simply couldn't take another plodding hour - even with the addition of a pet vixen cub to the shrinking band of characters. I'd love to know what happened but oh dear...

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another Green World

Trees take over. The world becomes a forest overnight. Our protagonists react in different ways - missing computers, comfort, a fridge full of food, or joyful at the transformation, hailing it as a reprieve from humanity's fatal detachment from nature. I did really enjoy this book. I resonated with the characters and really loved the strange resolution. But I do think the author missed out on a few threads that would have made it more realistic and more engaging: details about these civilization-softened people learning to forage, build shelters, hunt and make fires. How would we cope without modern medicines - which would make the proper management of even the smallest wound imperative? This lack of detail and real consideration about how we would survive being thrust back into a neolithic environment was a bit disappointing to someone like me who knows how hard won even basic bushcraft can be. But it was still engaging and approached some interesting philosophical ideas. Ben Onwukwe is a brilliant narrator, although I really do think he needs to work on his Irish accents!

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Hard work

Everybody has different tastes but to me this was such a brilliant idea but such a miserable reading.

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Not for me

Very very slow . Not what I was expecting from the blurb on what it was about . Not much happens and the characters were a bit cliched for my liking .

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Thoughtful and intriguing

Maybe a slightly slow starter but stick with it, a riveting read. Beautifully read and relevant in so many ways. A fable for the 21st century and beyond.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A very green post-apocalyptic world.

I loved the ideas in this. A world dominated by trees. Where a small group of survivors battle nature, men and a mystical realm to survive.

The action is kept close to the main players in the story. They are brilliantly drawn, particularly Hannah, whose principals and morals are seriously challenged by the new world.

The author tells a wonderful story, with totally original ideas, that kept me glued to my headphones.

Excellent narration too. A real winner.

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  • Tam
  • 20-09-16

Post apocalypse with a little bit of magic

What made the experience of listening to The Trees the most enjoyable?

This was a strange book, difficult to define. The writing is beautiful with vivid descriptions of nature. It's a look at not only Earth's nature, but human nature as well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked them all.. every quirky, flawed one of them. I even started thinking "hey, maybe worms aren't that gross"

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite part of any book is when someone is faced with a difficult decision, and trying to understand what led them to that decision. There were quite a few in this book.

Any additional comments?

This book reminds me of a Margaret Atwood novel. If you liked her MaddAddam series, you will probably like The Trees. If you don't like apocalyptic/fantasy/survivalist stories, then this one isn't for you.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MissRed
  • 31-12-16

Worth it!

I had been putting off getting this title. No reason, I just figured I'd not enjoy it and have to return it. I was so wrong

I loved this. The characters felt real, and had their good and bad qualities. The premise is completely new, for me at least, and I loved that. I really loved how the magical elements were introduced slowly, and they didn't take away from the journey these people were taking.

I can't put into words what I felt when listening to this. But I will listen to it again. I know I'll find even more to appreciate about it. Maybe even find the words to describe why I loved it so much!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara L. Furr
  • 08-04-16

The Trees

A gripping,intense story with characters who grow into meaningful people The end is satisfying.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy Chilton-Kendrick
  • 30-05-16

Almost OK

Narration hard to follow with a very deep British voice. Story a little simplistic. Ending predictable.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Twelker
  • 25-05-19

Magical and Interesting Post-apocalyptic Novel

I went back and forth on selecting this book for months. Combed over the reviews multiple times. A couple times I was a close as selecting “confirm purchase” but sides against it. Finally I decided F*** it!

The book starts out strong and continues throughout the book. It was an interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic genre. The book had me excited to continue on. I’d wake up and be waiting for the time of the day I could continue the journey.

I thought the narrator was great! I will say though that I read most of the book on my Kindle so I only listen to maybe a 1/4 of the book but I thought the narration was solid. You could easily distinguish between the characters.

If you are at all on the fence with this book please don’t be like me a wait, going back and forth. Dive in, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Todd M Thompson
  • 12-01-19

The Trees

This book shattered all my expectations. Everything I thought would happen shifted and where some authors may end, the story continued, surprising me with what was still in store.
The main characters became very important to me. Adrian in particular seemed to represent how difficult mental illness can be and how difficult it is to live with such burdens. I understood him well and liked how his journey ended ( and ultimately began). Everything came together perfectly, in my opinion, and I relish listening again in the future.
The author has truly created a treasure.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Koshka
  • 29-03-18

Amazing Book

The story was engrossing. The Characters were fully fleshed out and relatable. I enjoyed every moment of it.