I read this story in a couple of sittings. It's excellent - and it makes you care.
My review -
This is a fantasy tale for Young Adults, but people of that age pull no punches and neither does the author. Jakan, the Treespeaker, is one of a tribe of forest dwellers and through his gifts he can discern the will of Arrakesh, a forest spirit. Someone arrives within their community with the intention of cutting down the forest and enslaving the people. It's not an uncommon theme and was effective in Avatar, for example. Here, it's handled extremely well and touches upon human emotions and motivations with which young adults are just coming into contact, though they will deal with them as older adults too! We feel the greed of the interloper, the unfairness of what happens to Jakan, the disempowerment of the Treespeaker and the helplessness of his tribe. On the plus side we meet with loyalty, friendship, an urge for the common good, and I'm always happy to 'meet' a wise older woman - I like a good role model!
Katie W Stewart has an excellent writing style. It's clear, engages the reader in the subject and makes the characters feel real. I found that I cared about Jakan and his family and about the fate of the forest. I loved some of the other characters he met too, including the little girl who helped him when he was injured. If you're a lover of a good fantasy adventure story, enjoy some deeper things to think about than just orc and mage wars, and appreciate some good quality writing, this is absolutely the book for you. I enjoyed it hugely!