About a month ago, Katie Garland from Howard Marketing Group reached out to me and asked if I wanted to read and review Lene Fogelberg’s The Lightning Tree, the first book in The Natural Intelligence Revolution trilogy. I said yes, of course, and I’m so glad I did! Thank you to Katie, Lene, and the publishers Dedaun Publishing, for the oppurtunity to read this. Disclaimer: all opinions here are my own.
A year ago, Flora and Fauna were struck by lightning while climbing a tree. Though Flora got away with Lictenburg figures trailing her skin and no other physical damage, her sister wasn’t so lucky. She now sits in a wheelchair, unresponsive. The tree outside Flora’s window haunts her with the memory…until something darker happens on the tree. A body is found one morning wrapped in its branches. It is the first, but not the last. The police are treating the case as one of a serial killer, but it might be something scarier. It might be the trees themselves. What would you do if nature fought back?
This book drew me in from the first page. I kept saying, “okay, let me just read one more chapter,” and I couldn’t stop. Those are the best kind of books.
Flora’s grief and anxiety was so real to me, but so were her easy friendship with Carl, who quickly became my favorite character, and her strained relationship with her mother. Even as secrets were revealed, it was fun to watch how they affected the dynamics between chatacters, and what I would argue is the beginning of a found family.
I also loved the realistic view of how society treats those as “other.” When bodies start appearing in trees, of course people start blaming the girls with the lightning marks, because they are different. In some ways, they had seem to become the Boo Radley of the town, and just like in real life, people don’t take kindly to strangeness. Combined with a mob mentality, the town quickly goes wild but it doesn’t feel out of place. I could unfortunately see the people of my town reacting the same way (and sometimes they do!)
My only critique of the book is how fast it went by. I don’t mind fast-paced stories; they are exciting and suspensful. But it would’ve been nice to spend more time with the characters, and connect even more emotionally to them. Especially Carl. I would have loved to see more of Flora and Carl’s relationship, but I expect I’ll see more of that in the next book, which I’m so excited for even though the first one hasn’t been officially released yet.
Five out of five stars. This book was brilliant! I highly reccomend to anyone interested in YA magical realism books and like books that have strong themes of ecological justice. This book will be released on March 29, 2022, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
You can preorder the copy from Barnes & Noble here.
Order it from Amazon here.