1 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Immortal Tree, written by Scott Devon, is a fantasy novel regarding the Tree of Life, the dragons that protect it, the origins of humankind, and the darker side of human nature.
At the beginning of time, there is an immortal tree, the Tree of Life, which sits amidst a perfect, splendid garden and gives life to all things. The Dragon King, keeper of the Tree of Life and of all the animals of the earth, is called to assist the world’s first human woman as she undergoes a difficult labor. The King gives her fruit from the Tree of Life, which allows the woman, Lilith, to successfully produce a living son. In her gratitude, she promises the Dragon King to help him in whatever way he should require at any point in the future. Little does she know what horrors would be unleashed by her acceptance of the fruit and what violent consequences would result, years later, from her naïve promise. The Tree of Life, along with its miraculous fruit, is a prize worth dying for, and Lilith’s descendants set out to prove that no good deed goes unpunished as they attempt to claim it for themselves. The Dragon King, now older and wiser, is reluctantly set at odds with the human race he loves and must find a way to protect all the creatures under his care, even if it threatens his own life.
Throughout the text, anachronisms abound. A vase is described as Venetian in style, despite Venice having never been founded. Within 50 years of the invention of the wheel, both bombs and guns are invented and then immediately used in warfare. The Dragon King once appears wearing a tailcoat, a style of clothing that didn’t exist until the 1850s. With these and many other out-of-place details, it is difficult to imagine where or when the events might be occurring. The epilogue attempts to tie together the fractured timeline, but it doesn’t do so convincingly, making the story seem disjointed and thrown together.
The ending of the book left many loose ends untied. Several scenes had the opportunity to present a clear lesson for the reader to take away, but were instead left meaningless by their melodrama and lack of definite resolution. The most notable “hole”, in my opinion, is that one of the would-be major characters is introduced and discussed at great length, a conflict in that character’s life is revealed, and then the character is almost never mentioned again. I was surprised that the author would have left so many aspects of the story unresolved. It felt to me like this was a first draft: promising, but not ready to be released.
Corroborating this impression was the rough state of the writing itself. It was evident to me that the book has not undergone any professional editorial work whatsoever. Egregious errors, including incomplete sentences, typos yielding nonsense, and the changing of characters’ names part-way through, were present in abundance. This alone makes the novel not yet fit to publish.
The writing style, with its short, clipped sentences and blunt descriptions, makes the book read like a children’s novel. Do not be fooled, however; the content is definitely of a mature nature. While there is no overt profanity and very little graphic depiction of sex, there is great violence, as well as kidnapping, mentions of rape, physical and emotional abuse, drug usage, and incest. It is unclear to me, then, for whom the author intended this book in the first place.
The Immortal Tree earns a score of 1 out of 4 for its poor execution of what could otherwise have been an interesting concept. Due to its many mistakes, I cannot in good conscience recommend the book to any reader in its current state. A thorough editing would earn it a score of 2, but it would not merit a higher score than that because of its plot holes, vague messages, and unclear audience.
The Immortal Tree
View: on Bookshelves