Canopy by D.M. Darroch
A Dystopic YA Novel published by Sleepy Cat Press (01/04/21)
“I had tremendous arm span, enviable upper body strength, and powerful feet that gripped tree limbs like hands.” (Kindle location 1703).
Many, many years ago people lived on the ground. When the earth was on the brink of destruction, a group of people climbed thousands of feet into the trees. Now, the community in the canopy is a close-knit group. So close that gossip spreads almost as fast as the potential plummet down to the ground. Everyone has their place and their purpose. Ostrya’s place is as an apprentice doctor. Her mentor is also her mother. Her purpose was assigned to her at birth when she inherited the canopy doctor’s trademark blue/green eye combo. But Ostrya doubts her role as community doctor. She is too different from the others. Too alone and outcast for them to trust her. She would rather spend her time climbing, exploring, or making rope anyways. But she bears the teaching and tries to settle into her role until a devastating storm tears through the canopy and reveals new gossip that could unravel everything Ostrya has been working towards.
Dystopian, Coming of Age, Canopy, Trees, Climbing, Gossip, Friendship, Doctor, Community, Rationing, Apprenticeship, Teaching
If I were to describe this book in one word I would say that it is ‘polished.’ I couldn’t put this book down it was so entirely engaging from the plot to the characters to the pacing to the writing style and word choice. Even the ending was flawless. The story that follows the main character Ostrya was expertly wrapped up but the overarching story of the world she lives in – the Canopy and the ground below – left me wanting to start the second book in this series immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a solid story that was very well written.
I really liked Ostrya and the way that she was portrayed in Canopy. She has her faults and she makes poor decisions but she is almost always making choices as a good person. Sometimes she cannot see beyond her own teen angst and wishes, but she also cares so much about those around her! Ostrya has a purpose in her world, as the future doctor in the community, but she doesn’t feel like she can live up to her Mother’s and grandfather’s examples. She also doesn’t feel like being a doctor is her real calling. But what else, other than climbing, is she good at? Ostrya questions herself and her abilities (not her climbing skills though) throughout the course of the book, meanwhile she knows that what she’s been told her whole life about her society and the world below on the ground can’t possibly be true. What is the truth and why are the elders spreading lies?
The world building in this story was masterfully woven into the descriptions, dialogue, action, and thoughts of the characters. I loved the details of everyday life in this tree world. They elevated the story and set it firmly in this science fiction/dystopic place of what if… What if humans abandoned the ground and generations of evolution passed thousands of feet above in the trees? The world felt genuine and alive. This civilization felt unique yet still surrounded by the faults and flaws of humanity. Gossip runs rampant in this society. Societal pressures still exist but are different because of the environment that the characters live in. I love how the story included multiple aspects of society so that I felt like I could see the world as a whole – including school, daycare, doctors, gardens, hunting, exploring, love, relationships, etc.
I received a free ARC for an honest review.
This novel was published by Sleepy Cat Press on 01/04/2021 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0
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