3 out of 4 stars
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The Immortal Tree by Scott Devon is a re-imagining of the tale of Adam and Eve intermingled with creation stories from various ancient mythologies. The focal points of the story are a human-dragon hybrid who rules over a vast garden paradise, and a wondrous tree called Vivar that grows miraculous fruit. Anyone who eats the fruit of Vivar will be granted wisdom and eternal life. The garden is protected by two enormous snakes called Naga and Tiamat. The Dragon King reigns over the animals who reside in the garden.
The first humans dwell in the desert near the garden kingdom. They are called James and Lilith. One day while James is out working in the fields, Lilith goes into labor. She experiences complications. The Dragon King saves her life by giving her fruit from Vivar. Lilith gives birth to a son whom she names Jaaling. Jaaling is a good-natured and peaceful fellow, but his father is frustrated by his slow development. A few years later, Lilith gives birth to another son, whom the couple names Kahn. Kahn is quick-witted and inventive but bloodthirsty and cruel. He causes great trouble for animals and humans alike throughout the remainder of the story.
The thing I liked best about The Immortal Tree was its imaginative retelling of the well-known story of Adam and Eve intermingled with other mythologies. The result is a unique and thought-provoking tale. I looked forward to reading what came next every time I returned to the story. I also appreciated the fact that the story pointed out the problems with the historical mistreatment of women, who in both real-world and mythological contexts are abused, subjugated, raped, and treated as brood animals for men to do with as they see fit.
The thing I disliked most about the story was the fact that I do not think it was professionally edited. There were numerous small errors in the text, and, although the tale was compelling, it seemed unpolished. In its current form, I give The Immortal Tree three out of four stars. This could easily be a four-star story with professional editing.
I recommend The Immortal Tree to readers who are interested in mythology and who enjoy imaginative retellings of well-known myths. I do not recommend this book to readers who would be bothered by unpolished text or to more sensitive readers who might be upset by violence. The book contains several instances of violence including rape and murder, and it touches on disturbing subjects such as incest as well.
The Immortal Tree
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