Spence City (2014)
The Other Tree is Mok’s 2014 debut novel, from the publisher Spence City, and while I’ve seen it noted as urban fantasy, I’m not sure it quite fits that genre marker – it’s one of those books that is tricky to classify as anything but “put it on your to-read list”!
If Seanan McGuire had written The Da Vinci Code, the outcome might have been a little like The Other Tree! Given I adore Seanan’s work and think The Da Vinci Code could have been quite fascinating in the hands of a different author, this is definitely a compliment.
I don’t know much about the heritage behind this story but the religious, scientific and geographic elements, whether real or invented, are believably written, and underpin an action packed yet inherently character driven story.
The book rollicks along very nicely, maintaining tension and gradually unpacking characters along the way. I absolutely loved cryptobotanist Chris and conflicted Luke, and their personal journeys are as important to the novel as the overarching plot. Even the secondary characters are multi-faceted and interesting, although I have to say if I have one nitpick, it was with the random head hopping of perspective in a couple of places. Otherwise though, an impressive debut for a very talented writer! Mok is most definitely on my “want more” list!
This review was first published at FableCroft on April 5, 2014.