After reading some very good fantasy novels by indie authors, the cover, blurb and title of Treespeaker caught my attention. Pretty soon I understood that this novel is different from the fantasy I normally love. It lacked the epic battles of knights in full armor, the fireworks of mages and powerful wizards. Instead, I got tangled in the roots of a forest village tribe, protected by the intricate, subtle magic of the Tree God, Arrakesh. No in-your-face bombastic magic, but an unassuming, delicate and organic magic that is quite unique and interesting. And despite the lack of epic battles, Treespeaker has plenty of tension and enough action to keep reading chapter after chapter.
I don't like spoilers in reviews, so I won't tell too much about the story. The main character, Jakan, the Treespeaker (a sort of shaman) of his tribe, encounters drama after drama as a stranger succeeds breaking through the protective barrier of the forest. With all these setbacks, Jakan tries to cling to his belief in Arrakesh and travels far away and at great risk to save his tribe.
The depth and development of characters is very good in this novel, and we see Jakan and is son struggle with issues which are also part of our lives, and very identifiable. This book deals with themes which are universal, and add to its depth. The writing is excellent, in a clear and sober tone, and - it is a word I keep coming back to - subtle. And again an indie novel which is very well edited and with a clear and pleasant layout.
One minor complaint I could find was with the plot, which is fairly linear and lacks the convoluted intrigue I like in epic fantasy. However, there are enough twists and the novel has sufficient pace to keep the reader involved. And the ending is quite nifty, with an excellent twist which again shows the unique magic displayed and the subtlety of author Katie Stewart. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and hope there will be a sequel soon.
I have one final comment. The complete lack of graphic violence, explicit language and all that stuff which I normally read and even like in novels was simply refreshing. That makes Treespeaker appropriate for all readers, and especially for those who search for novels that have no Content Advisory. I would recommend this novel to anyone.