Tree of Life
Tree of Life is an eBook novella published by Kindle Worlds and written by author Timothy Zahn. While Zahn is well known for his Star Wars work, he’s certainly done tie-in writing for other franchises. Tree of Life is a prequel to the series Wayward Pines which is both a television show and a book trilogy (the show is based on the books). Having not seen the show or read the books, I dove into this one based completely on the author. Zahn has written some good stories so I was willing to give this one a chance.
My first impression of the story can be summed up in one word: strange. Tree of Life reveals bits and pieces of a larger story, but unfortunately, it doesn’t show that big picture. The end result is a tale that’s kind of confusing in the number of unanswered questions. Yet even beyond that, that content of the novella is rather bleak and depressing. Suffice to say, there are no happy endings in this tale.
The story touches on a dozen characters in a little isolated town called Wayward Pines. The town itself was constructed. The people were brought to the town against their will and drugged so they won’t remember anything. They’re told the world has ended and that they are the survivors. Beyond the electrified fence that surrounds their town are creatures that will kill them. It’s part science experiment and part horror.
I’m going to get into a little bit of spoiler territory, but I think it’s necessary to give readers an idea of what to truly expect with this read. Through the story, a lot of people die, and no one finds happiness. Everyone in the town sinks into depression. The people in charge are nutcases and nothing goes right. It’s hard to form too much of a bond with any of the characters. Even the characters who do get developed suffer either from being terrible people or those doomed to awful fates. It’s pretty sad.
In the end, there’s not enough answers and not enough rewards in my opinion. Perhaps the story would have more meaning for those who have seen the show. However, if you’re like me and haven’t read the books or seen the show, then I’d suggest skipping Tree of Life. You won’t miss much.