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Rootless by Chris Howard

Rootless (edition 2012)

by Chris Howard

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1019119,589 (3.71)1
Authors:Chris Howard
Info:Scholastic Inc. (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:best of 2012, own, arc, signed

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Rootless by Chris Howard

  1. 00
    Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (wifilibrarian)
    wifilibrarian: Rootless shares several themes and settings with Ship Breaker. Both stories have teen male protagonists with family issues, and both stories are set in future worlds where the environment has collapsed due to human interference. Both include the setting of a future dystopian/post-apocalyptic New Orleans.… (more)

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In this dystopian novel every single tree has been cut down, leaving a world filled with dust storms, no wildlife, and no source of food other than popcorn. GenTech, a rich corporation, controls the growing, buying and selling of corn killing anyone who dares grow or steal their corn.

Read the rest of my review at: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/rootless-chris-howard/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
When I read the premise of this book and read about the map on the woman's body, I immediately thought of the movie, "Waterworld". The story is well written and carries you along at a steady pace. The characters are well defined. The author has done a great job of giving you one perspective of a character only to throw something in the main character's path that makes you look at the character again and re-think your feelings. I have read several books over the last year that are of the dystopian type that shows to what extent people will go to control society when things go wrong. Banyan was hired by a man named Frost to build trees on his property. The trees are made from scrap metal and lights. It is the closest thing they have to a vision of real trees. When Banyan meets the young girl who lives in the house with her mother, Frost and his son he learns from an item she has that his father may not be dead after all. His journey to find his father leads him to learn that all that he has been told is not necessarily what is true. When they mentioned the trash island he is taken to I immediately thought of the research some of our students did last year for our environmental unit. The researched "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch". I wondered if this was the inspiration for the trash island. This was a really great book. The use of the words "damn" and "hell" were the only two curse words in the book. I would suggest this book be read by 8th grade and above as it talks about the boys feelings toward a girl. There is nothing lewd in the book. It is just him mentioning his feelings of desire. unfortunately I hear this daily as I walk behind kids at school. That doesn't mean I want to hear it or condone it. It is however a fact of life that kids this age have raging hormones that we as adults try to keep a lid on. That is the only reason I would recommend it for the upper middle school or high school student. This is an author I had not heard of before and one I will definitely look forward to reading in the future, especially since this was just the first book in the series. ( )
  skstiles612 | Jan 27, 2014 |
Enjoyed this book even with what I felt were plot holes. What I thought made up for this was that Banyan, the protagonist, and the first person narrator was so likable, and a surprisingly well developed moral compass considering the violent world in which he lived in. IT made it easy to like the story he told about his life building artificial trees in a world where no more natural trees exist due to GenTec's, an evil corporation, genetic engineering of pest resistant crops which resulted in super bugs that ate everything else on the planet. Banyan soon sets out on a quest to find his missing father, who left him, while also trying to find a (sadly) semi-mythical place where trees might still grow. ( )
  wifilibrarian | Apr 28, 2013 |
3.5 Stars

As happens from time to time, I've read a book that is wonderful, but that does not work perfectly for the kind of reader that I am. Rootless by Chris Howard is a true dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel set in a nightmare landscape. The writing is beautiful and the characters are unique. I definitely like Rootless and I'm very impressed by Howard's debut, but I'm too easily confused by science for it to be the perfect book for me.

First off, I want to praise Chris Howard's writing to the skies. The writing is beautiful, perfectly matched to Banyan and to the world itself. Howard manages to establish that Banyan speaks in dialect with the use of words like "reckon," but keeps it to a minimum. Thus, he clearly gets across the sound of the characters without making Rootless any less readable. Dialect done wrong is a miserable reading experience, and I think Howard takes a marvelous approach.

Howard builds from a pretty standard dystopian formula with the evil corporation GenTech, but the world itself is like nothing I've ever read before. The world has gone to seed in just about every way possible. Trees and animal life (except for humans and locusts) have died out. The only remaining food source is a genetically modified corn that the locusts cannot eat, which means the locusts have to settle for the only remaining dietary option: people. Man-eating bugs are pretty much my worst nightmare. There are also pirates, and a whole lot of other unscrupulous, cutthroat folks. In Rootless, characters really do suffer, and it's not all about the romance; people die in nasty ways, just as they should in a good post-apocalyptic.

Banyan works as a tree builder. What's a tree builder?, you might ask. Well, since the trees are gone, the landscape's a tad empty. Rich folks will pay to have trees built on their landscape. Banyan, as his father taught him, crafts trees out of metal. This is a very strange concept, but one that puts such a stark mental image of this world into my head. His cast of characters is just as memorably strange as the trees built out of metal.

As I mentioned previously, the world in Rootless is one in which countless things have gone wrong. Genetic modification of foodstuffs lead to stronger locusts, which lead to no trees. A lack of trees presents its own problems. The moon also came closer to the earth, which messed with the ocean. All of the non-human animals are gone. Everything that's left is controlled by a corporation, the only institution capable of making food without cannibalism. All of this was just way too much for me to process, and I spent a lot of time confused, trying to figure out why something happened and what repercussions it would have on society.

From interviews I've seen, I'm sure Howard has done his research and put tons of thought into everything, but he lost me. Actually, I had a similar problem with The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, which is beloved of many people who understand science much better than I do. To tell you the hard truth, I was at best a mid-B range student in high school science. I know just enough to get things really wrong and muddled. Readers with more science background or less inclined to puzzle over things endlessly will likely not have this issue. Also, since Rootless is told from a first person perspective, the world building will likely become more clear as Banyan learns more.

Oh, one last thing, Howard is a HUGE Star Wars fan. It's all over his inspiration board on Pinterest, for example. His love of Star Wars really shines through. There are some very cleverly done references, which I, having been raised from a young age to be obsessed with the original trilogy (the only one that exists in my brain), loved. Watch out for those, Star Wars fans!

I highly recommend Rootless to readers who enjoy harder science fiction with a focus on world building and storytelling. Fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Star Wars should especially take note. ( )
1 vote A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |

In a world without trees, one makes beauty however one can. Banyan is a tree builder. His creations made from scrap metal are purchased by the elite to mimic forests of old. When Banyan meets the mysterious Zee while working on his current project he finds out something that will change his life forever.

Rootless, how do I wrap my head around you. I went into this book expecting one story yet what transpired was something completely different. Was it good still? Yes, Oh God yes. I love being surprised by a story and this one kept me on my toes that is for sure.

A world without trees is unfathomable. Yet, somehow the Author paints the landscape with such detail that it almost makes you believe such a world exists. The world of Rootless actually reminded me of Earth in the movie Wall-E, maybe less trash but still that landscape. If a world devoid of any plants isn't awful enough nothing except genetically modified corn grows on the planet. Can you imagine having to eat corn for every meal? I can't, but due to locusts swarms killing off everything else corn is all that is left. Speaking of the locusts, I forgot to mention these are man eating locusts. They will eat you if they catch you. Nasty right??

As for the characters, I loved Banyan. He has a gift for seeing beauty in stuff most of us wouldn't. He also is very practical and wise almost beyond his years. I really can't wait to see how his character evolves in the next book. I also liked Crow the watcher of Zee who really plays the anti-hero so well. It was fun trying to decide if he was good or bad. Ultimately, I decided he is a good guy just trying to survive playing with the hand he was dealt.

In the end Rootless is a debut that will stick out in my mind for being fresh and inventive. The world isn't necessarily unique but the execution is and that is what makes Rootless worthy of reading. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book and give it a try. I will be rating Rootless by Chris Howard ★★★★.

*I received a copying Rootless to review via Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them. ( )
1 vote Hermyoni | Jan 25, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545387892, Hardcover)

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree--they were destroyed more than a century ago--his missing father used to tell him stories about the Old World.

Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo
--a map to the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts . . . the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:05 -0400)

In a world devastated by war and disease, a young tree builder searches for the last trees on earth.

(summary from another edition)

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