3 out of 4 stars
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In The Omen Tree by Fredrick Niles, not all is as it seems in the small town of Poplar, Wisconsin. Danger and unknown horrors lurk at every turn. The seemingly quiet town of Poplar has kept its secrets well . . . until a serial killer awakens dark and inexplicable forces. Ella, Ben, and Ian are among the first to notice the unusual happenings, and when monsters—otherworldly and otherwise—start surfacing, the three children’s paths converge as they struggle to come to grips with the mysteries unfurling around them. Will Ella, Ben, and Ian find the answers they seek and stop the evil threatening their small town, or will they fall prey to it like countless others before them? Read the book to find out—just not before bed.
The Omen Tree is filled with captivating descriptions, epic foreshadowing, and realistic characters. This novel provided an excellent study of its characters, and while this did occasionally slow the story down, it also provided valuable information to help me connect with and understand the characters and their motives. Still, I was hoping for more action. There was enough suspense to make up for that, but I would have loved for there to have been more close encounters with the supernatural and with the main antagonist. At the same time, I appreciated how well developed the setting and characters were, and many of the details that seemed irrelevant at first actually came into play later in the story, which I found fascinating.
Most loose ends were tied up satisfactorily by the end of the book, but there were some questions brought up toward the end that left it open for a sequel. Still, I can walk away from The Omen Tree content enough. If Fredrick Niles writes a sequel, I will definitely be checking it out. Until then, I’m happy with the path each character’s arc followed. There was plenty of intrigue in the mysteries surrounding the murders and the monsters to keep me on the edge of my seat. While I was able to predict a couple of twists, others pleasantly surprised me. The three main characters were adolescents, but this isn’t a children’s book. There were no sexual situations, but considering the mild gore and the many instances of profanity, I would say this work is more suited for adults and mature young adults.
As much as I liked this novel, it could use another round of editing. Many of the errors were easy to overlook, but others were not. As I mentioned, the story did occasionally drag, but part of that could have been because I was so excited to get to the bottom of everything. The story seemed carefully structured to allow for the maximum amount of character development. It defied my expectations because I thought, based off the genre, there would be more action and horror elements earlier on in the story. While there was a good deal of strange and ominous occurrences, things slowed back down after the first body was found and didn’t really start steadily gaining speed again until later on.
In conclusion, I rate The Omen Tree 3 out of 4 stars. I took off a star mainly for the errors I found. I still feel some of the details could have been cut out to aid with flow even though many of them did end up resurfacing later. I didn’t find this to be a very graphic story, but those sensitive to themes of domestic abuse and murder may become uncomfortable. Fans of the supernatural and of mysteries with exceptionally well-rounded characters and a touch of horror will likely find this story enthralling. In all, this was a great read and I definitely recommend others check it out.
The Omen Tree
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