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The Chrysillium Tree

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There is a language beyond words, in the forests and sacred places, if we can remember how to listen...

Separated from her family and her homeland, Mæve Faolái struggles to navigate her new life in the Palace of Light. With the cruelty of her abductors, and the lecherous advances of a Crown Prince lurking around every corner, she longs for freedom and to find her parents.

But once Mæve learns the vile truth involving the Azantium exploitation of the Lumani’s sacred chrysillium trees, she shares these secrets with a Lumani man in the woods. When things take an unexpected turn, Mæve finds herself caught between a forbidden love and a burgeoning rebellion as she awakens a part of herself long forgotten.

An enchanting blend of adventure and lore, sacred trees and found family, The Chrysillium Tree is an adult fantasy story about the struggle for freedom amidst tyranny and remembering forgotten magic.

268 pages, Paperback

First published September 22, 2021

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About the author

Laken Honeycutt

2 books21 followers
Laken Honeycutt is a fantasy author weaving stories from the sanctuary of her forest home in historic New England. Enamored by the stars and with a deep connection to nature, Laken’s work often includes celestial wonders and the natural magic of forests. She is also an avid reader who enjoys hiking, surfing, biking, trail running, and kayaking.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Michele Quirke.
Author 2 books130 followers
September 2, 2021
If you're looking for a lovely tale of magic, courage, and love, then look no further than The Chrysillium Tree. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC copy of this book and I'm so glad, because it's wonderful!

I think where Laken shines the most is in her in-depth world building and descriptions. The setting she created is marvelous and her descriptions allowed me to envision it perfectly. I wish I could see the Chrysillium Trees in real life!! When it comes to world-building, Laken does it in such a way that there are no info dumps. All the history and details are given to us naturally, which prevented me from losing interest.

There is a wide cast of amazing characters in The Chrysillium Tree, but my favorite was Isaac. It was so much fun getting to know him and watching as he turned his back on the very life he had always worked so hard to achieve for himself. I'll be honest, I really ship him and Maeve together.

Overall, The Chrysillium Tree is a delightful debut novel from Laken Honeycutt! I hope there will be a sequel and eagerly await more stories from this amazing author!!
Profile Image for Elyse Cunningham.
6 reviews4 followers
September 10, 2021
The Chrysillium Tree has been a delight to read so far as it follows Maeve and her quest to find and reunite with her parents. There has been a lot of twists and turns, which have been exciting and slightly shocking. The worldbuilding for this tale is simply beautiful as the story gathers traction with each paragraph. I recommend anyone looking for a wonderful fantasy tale that is filled with mystery, magic, and worldbuilding.
Profile Image for Danni Connelly.
Author 1 book11 followers
September 11, 2021
Disclosure: I had the honor of receiving a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It's such a pleasure to see a fresh new voice in high-fantasy! The world of The Chrysillium Tree feels real and convincing, as if it's always existed and has just been waiting to be discovered. The pacing is pitch-perfect, allowing time to savor the lovely prose while keeping the action brisk and spellbinding. Furthermore, I especially enjoyed the details put into creating the intriguing mythology of this world.
Comfy scenes, horrifying scenes, dramatic scenes, swoon-worthy romantic scenes--The Chrysillium Tree has it all! Make sure you have a good chunk of time carved out when you settle down with this gem, because once you've started it, you won't want to stop!
Profile Image for Darren Boeck.
Author 8 books92 followers
August 23, 2021
This novel starts off at a seemingly good pace, but hold on to your seat as it picks up traction and doesn't stop. I received this as an ARC and boy am I glad I read it. Great writing by L. Honeycutt. The storyline was solid and fun to read. I am undoubtedly now a fan of both the author and the story. Thanks for letting me read it, loved it. If you're looking for a new author to try, don't hesitate.
Profile Image for Cat Bowser.
Author 3 books34 followers
October 13, 2021
I started this book the day I got it and I was cursing the heavens for not having the decency to put more hours in the day so I could finish it. Now that I have, I want to read it again just to go back to that world.

Worldbuilding is my bread and butter and I love the worldbuilding here. It really set up the religion, the beliefs of the people and there exists this otherworldly mythical sense to it that allows you to fully believe you’re somewhere else yet being familiar enough that you connect and emphasize.

The characters are fun! I really enjoyed each of them because they were well thought out, layered and with their own problems and issues outside of what the plot demanded.

In short—human and realistic.

If you’ve been itching to explore a new world that will completely engulf you, congratulations, you’ve found it. I’ll see you there.
Profile Image for Charlie R.
19 reviews1 follower
August 21, 2021
Chrysillium Tree is something I’ve been waiting for a long time, and it did not disappoint. If I had to describe it in one word, the word that comes to mind is Quality. I feels weird to say that about a story, but the author, Laken Honeycutt, has crafted something so special, I can’t think of a better word. I received an ARC copy and had no information about how this book was published, traditional or indie. It is so slick, polished and professional, I just couldn’t tell. The writing is well paced. Never did I find unnecessary words or description, yet there was gorgeous prose, beautiful imagery, magic systems and world building. As a reader, my comprehension is not great, but I was completely immersed by the clear specificity of Laken’s writing style. The characters are well thought out and fun and surprising, the antagonist so vile and creepy, with fantastic creatures including flora and my favorite, mycelium. This book has everything. For a debut, this author came out swinging for the fences and I have no doubt she will be around, hitting it out of the park, for a long time to come. So will I, as a fan and supporter. I loved it 100%
Profile Image for Laura Maybrooke.
Author 5 books73 followers
September 21, 2021
What a wonderful tale, and one happy ARC reader here. I stepped into this book without too much foreknowledge and found myself in a land of strong characters, magic, love, and exemplary courage. Couldn’t count myself happier.

The descriptions and world building are wonderful- we get painted a real, living look into a world that feels real. Enchanting. Organic. How cool would it be to see those Chrysillium Trees in real life; could well imagine them with the vivid descriptions.

And the characters in this book? Fantastic. Strong, with interesting histories, and great character growth. I especially liked Isaac in that regard. A superb character whom I loved to follow and learn more about. I also shipped Maeve and her “LI” practically from the first page, so expect some swoon-worthy romance.

A fantastic debut novel from Laken Honeycutt! I am excited about the sequel hinted at the end of this story, but I also enjoy it that the story here is complete in its own right.

The writing is great and polished, the world immersive, and I fully came to love this new fantasy world. A stellar read!
Profile Image for Nel Thompson.
4 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2021
One thing about fantasy’s (which is my favorite genre), is that many take so long to get to the point.

The way Laken writes, with such clarity and the creative ways she brings the immersive and wonderful world building, as well as the characters who you fall in love with and root for all the way. All of this as a debut? Oh, she is going FAR.

The plot in itself were awesome and…I don’t want to go further, as I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s definitely refreshing and a constant page turner.

For me, it’s good when I immediately am just heartbroken over it ending!

I am looking forward to more from this author and am honored to have been able to review this one!
Profile Image for E.P. Stavs.
Author 15 books89 followers
August 17, 2021
Love, Love, LOVED this book! Maeve is strong and compassionate, Isaac is a lovable work-in-progress, and Armaiti is just the LI you want to fall in love with. Oh, and the queen - a deliciously vengeful villain. Beautiful imagery, imaginative world-building, and characters you'll be dreaming about for days after finishing - TCT has everything a fantasy lover could possibly want in a story. Highly recommend!

*I was given an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for H. Ferry.
Author 1 book11 followers
September 23, 2021
A powerful debut novel from the talented Honeycutt. It takes you to a world where the illusion of superiority brings a nation not only to enslave people, but nature itself. You see this world from the eyes of three characters, each of whom have their own stakes in the emerging political storm. Maeve, a slave taken from her home by force, Isaac, a successful merchant, and Armaiti, a man whose people have been abused and coerced into capitulation for years, their sacred lands desecrated.

The world-building in this book is spectacular. The beautiful imagery and the way magic and mythos are weaved into the narrative are one of the main reasons I fell in love with it. Add the lifelike characters (and I'm not only talking about the heroes) and Honeycutt's masterful story-telling to the mix, and you have a recipe for a book you won't easily forget.

I'm so glad this part of a series, because I'm not ready to leave the world of The Chrysillium Tree.
Profile Image for Wendy Bayne.
Author 14 books59 followers
September 28, 2021
I have always admired those that can take a grain of an idea and create a world like none other and fill it with life. Laken Honeycutt did this superbly.
She awakens and enthrals your imagination with her debut novel, The Chrysillium Tree.
The characters are bold and rich in description and lore. The palace and the people of the Azantium and their environs is cross between Game of Thrones and Versailles. In contrast, the indigenous population of the Lumani are magical in their closeness and reverence for nature.
Conflict is inevitable between these two groups as the Azantium seek to rape the natural world of the Chrysillium trees and subjugate or annihilate all who stand between them and their desires.
This is a well-crafted story from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed my time following Mæve Faolái, the heroine of the story. If you love fantasy, then this is a must-read.
Profile Image for Sara Cleveland.
Author 8 books55 followers
September 25, 2021
The book starts with an interesting premise. The main character, Mæve, has been taken as a slave by a cruel, expansionist empire. Her slavery puts her in the right place to learn some of the terrible secrets and plunge her into a whirlwind of rebellion and romance.

The worldbuilding is fantastic. It just feels like there's a ton of history, myth, and lore hiding behind every door in this book. I suspect we only got a small taste of everything there is. Further, each world element that was introduced seemed to have a direct impact on the story while still giving the world depth and breadth.

Some of the characters did fall a little flat for me at times. While there were injuries and deaths, they weren't particularly impactful because we weren't really given enough time with those characters to feel a lot of attachment to them.

I did have some issues with the plot. There were some great twists I was not expecting and the characters did suffer some serious injuries and losses. However. There were times when it felt like certain things were just too easy and it lost some tension for me. The romance that ended up being end-game also felt a bit underdeveloped to me, which may be why some people were Team [Redacted].

The Chrysillium Tree was a great read with a world that felt deep and full of interesting cultures and conflicts. Its greatest strengths are in its world-building and the interesting stage in which the characters tell their story. I'm really looking forward to a follow-up!
41 reviews2 followers
October 5, 2021
I mean, what can I say that other people haven't already raved about regarding this book?

Honeycutt's freshly-woven fantasy story delights and excites on all fronts: the drama is top-notch, the lore is rich, deep and vibrant, all of the characters have such depth to them, from their dialogue to their morals, everyone has something to fight for, the villains- though they don't appear nearly as often as other characters, with their own scenes at least- are some of the most wonderfully hateable I've ever read, the locales are described beautifully, the violence is graphic and visceral but not excessively so and even sprinkles of wholesomeness and romance to complete one absolutely amazing fantasy-story-package!

Now, no story is free of sin; there was the occasional moment that felt out-of-place given the tone of the story at that point, but credit where it's due, I personally couldn't find any real logic errors from the characters themselves anywhere, which tends to be done questionably by other fantasies, so good on you Laken, you've made something truly wonderful and enchanting and I hope the success can spur you to create stories even greater than this fantastic work!
Profile Image for K.R. Wieland.
Author 8 books11 followers
January 27, 2022
I absolutely loved this book! Maeve is a character that is easy to love from the very beginning. It was a pleasure to see her story unfold, read about her past, and see where certain choices led her. Of course I am a huge fan of Isaac and would love a story of his adventures as well. Another aspect I enjoyed was the friendship between Armaiti and Iraji and seeing them work together through difficult times. This had a satisfying ending with a hint at more to come and I look forward to what’s next!
Profile Image for Luvsbooks.
137 reviews3 followers
September 23, 2021
Forbidden love, secret meetings, magical powers, and lush, verdant forests; add in characters that you cannot help but fall in love with and you have the makings of a powerful, fantastic story. I was thoroughly immersed in Laken Honeycutt’s, The Chrysillium Tree and never wanted the book to end. I cannot wait for the next installment and Laken, please, please give me more Isaac. I fell a wee bit in love with him and I know his story will be powerful, as he travels back to Thalis in search of answers. I loved Maeve, Armaiti , the Lumani and was fascinated by the magical powers of the Mycellium. And don’t even get me started on that falstorm. This is world building at its finest, with both special moments, as well as heartbreaking ones. Oh, and hello Elijwa – I expect great things from you, little beauty. A thoroughly, captivating reading experience.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book with every promise to rate it honestly. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.
Author 3 books36 followers
September 16, 2021
I've been waiting to read this for a while now, and it was well worth the wait. I was also lucky enough to receive an ARC copy.

The first words that come to mind when reflecting on this story are, lavish, and fresh. Everything is described so beautifully, yet at a brisk pace. Every bit of the story feels well fleshed out, and the details of the world unfold before us without sidetracking in any way. It just felt very neatly wrapped up, without any excess left in there.

The characters were awesome too! They all had something to offer themselves, and Mæve, the main character, was very easy to get invested in early on. While it's always tricky balancing, and fully developing a sizable cast, it's expertly done here.

As for the setting, I mentioned it above a bit with the descriptions. It's beautiful, and I could picture myself wandering at night into those secret meeting, the pristine halls, and everywhere else.

All in all, it was an immersive experience from start to finish. It sounds cliche, but it really was. The story punches you in the face early on with these sad, tragic moments, and pulls you up with hope and comfort...only to push you back down for some more along the way!

Fantastic storytelling, seamless flow and prose. I highly recommend this to anyone who's looking to get lost in a fresh fantasy.
Profile Image for K Dezendorf.
Author 3 books21 followers
May 26, 2022
This book has a lot to offer; great characters, good world-building, and a budding, forbidden romance. Each of the main viewpoint characters had their own voice, personality, and world views, and watching their stories unfold was a treat. Honestly, it's hard to pick a favorite. Even the antagonist has understandable motives for what she's doing. I found the romance to be very sweet and a couple of times I caught myself going 'aww'. Though I can definitely see how people might be divided on who Maeve should end up with. The description is lovely but doesn't cross the lines of being overly flowery, and the story reads at a good pace that doesn't make it feel like it's dragging. I think fantasy fans old and new could easily get into this.
Profile Image for AK Nephtali.
19 reviews17 followers
November 1, 2021
I received a free ARC (advanced reader copy), but it took my tired ADHD brain a long time to start reading it, and I’m annoyed that I didn’t start reading it sooner. The writing is smooth, fluid, and elegant, and I was never confused or overwhelmed by the worldbuilding. The mythology is rich and intriguing, and I want to know more about Shadowlair and how the gods affect the mycelium.

I loved the protagonists and loved to hate the villains. Isaac is fascinating and morally grey. He has as many layers as an onion or a digital artist.

The writing is full of sensory details and vivid descriptions. This is an excerpt I chose at random — I didn’t have to spend any time searching for a beautiful quote.

“They ran hand-in-hand through the folds of the deepening night, silver moonlight illuminating the ebony forest around them. Soon, Mæve detected a faint hum. Though she was unsure of what it was, it struck a chord within her.”

If you like rich worldbuilding, evocative descriptions, and multiple POV’s, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Rosalyn Briar.
Author 9 books127 followers
October 28, 2021
The Chrysillium Tree is divine. I enjoyed every moment of reading the lush and lyrical prose of this wonderful fantasy novel.

Maeve is such a strong heroine, and it was easy to root for her from the beginning. The rich world building, mythology, and magic system were all beautifully woven into the story.

I look forward to reading more books by the author!
Profile Image for Alina Leonova.
Author 2 books41 followers
August 23, 2021
I'd like to preface this review by saying that I've been interested in The Chrysillium Tree for a while. I've been following the author Laken Honeycutt on Twitter, and whenever she shared a snippet of her novel, I was enchanted by how poetic it was. Even with a few lines, Laken managed to create magical atmosphere that invited me to get lost in her spellbinding world. I was waiting for this book to get published, and I was absolutely thrilled when Laken shared an ARC with me. I dove into the novel immediately, and I wasn't disappointed!

The book is filled with fascinating characters. Mæve is an endearing and compelling protagonist who has a few tricks up her sleeve. Watching her arc was exciting, and rooting for her was easy. The antagonist was intriguing in her own way, and all the side characters felt real, well-developed and unique. There were a lot of characters I really enjoyed.

The world-building is absolutely fascinating! The world felt so real, and at the same time, so magically different. There is lots of interesting lore, different types of magic, gods, mystical creatures, various forces at play, political powers - so many exciting details. I really loved exploring this world, and I feel there might be more to be discovered if the author wrote a sequel.

The plot is straightforward, captivating and filled with adventure. It kept me engaged all the time, and I reached for the book whenever I had a moment, curious what would happen next. There is also a sweet romance sub-plot that I enjoyed.

The writing is beautiful and atmospheric, yet clear and easy to read. It was a pleasure!

I loved everything about The Chrysillium Tree! The alluring world, exciting events and likeable characters, the overall atmosphere created by beautiful imagery, lore and the author's writing style. It is a kind book that left me in a good mood, even though there were painful and bloody moments, loss and killing. It explores colonialism and oppression, as well as the relationship between humans and nature while telling an exciting story.

You might enjoy the book if you like fantasy adventures, lore and books that are uplifting even though they have their heavy moments.

This review was first published on my website where you'll find more reviews, interviews, lists and more.
Profile Image for Jami Fairleigh.
Author 4 books32 followers
October 1, 2021
A lush, lyrical fantasy adventure

The Chrysillium Tree is a beautifully written fantasy story of love, magic, and honor. The world Honeycutt has crafted is delightful and I rooted for the characters as they deepened their personal power and fought to restore balance to their world. I loved the themes of connection woven through the story like a magical mycelium, and recommend this story to anyone who needs a moment of escape into a beautiful world.
Profile Image for Maria Blackrane.
10 reviews2 followers
September 21, 2021
I had the honor of receiving an ARC from this super supportive author. A magickal tale that felt like some surreal dreamscape while reading it is all I can describe it as. Maeve starts off as a servant girl, powerless and missing her family. I was drawn to her friendship with the horse in the beginning. There are so many other things worth mentioning and that I was drawn to but I don't want to give spoilers. Mentions of the wolf moon scored big points with me. Overall, the storytelling had a fairytale vibe to it and the writing was ethereal at times. Each character brought something unique to the table and wasn't just supporting characters. Maeve's character development was awesome! She summoned her inner warrior to do what it takes when needed. Laken knocked it out of the sky with her debut, way to go!
69 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2022
Mæve has been newly-taken from her lands, separated from her parents, and enslaved in the vicious Palace of Light. She is an accomplished huntress for one her age, in addition to being one of the few capable of traveling the veils left to her people, as those born with magic are fewer in every generation, and her relationship with her family is tender and heart-warmingly loyal. We never get to see much of their family, but what we do see of them is beautiful.

Isaac is a merchant prince who rose from servitude to his present opulent station by serving the Azantiums and harvesting the beans from the chrysillium trees to be made into deadly toxins, abusing the trees that unite heaven and earth. Forced to overproduce and made into a monoculture, the surrounding forest cut down, the chrysillium trees are now dying. Now, Isaac is trying to undo his wrongs by helping slaves, oftentimes Lumani ones, to escape.

Armaiti is a Lumani prince Mæve meets one night when she takes Trathòna, a horse who won’t let anyone else touch her but likes Mæve, out into the woods for a short escape from slavery. She ends up promising Armaiti to spy for him on what the Azantiums are doing with the chrysillium trees, and he starts to fall in love with her. The Lumani want Armaiti, who is chief of the Water Clan, to marry Iraji who is from the Air Clan, but Iraji is also in love with another man.

Isaac and Mæve eventually become fast friends and very good for each other, after some understandable suspicion and difficulty, but there are occasionally misunderstandings on someone’s side – are they just friends? Was there – ever – any romantic interest? Armaiti’s and Mæve’s love for each other, and Iraji and Ariol’s love for each other, and the way they have to work through that with the elders opposed was touching. Mæve’s friendship and concern for Trathòna was pleasant to see. I enjoyed seeing them together and when the horse is assigned to be killed since she can’t be sold (apparently not even auctioned) and is dangerous to anyone who tries to touch or work with her, Mæve’s concern is touching. I liked seeing that!

However, I found the development lacking. There were times when the straightforward simplicity of the writing fit the scene and mood perfectly, describing things as observed by the characters, but there were other times when it felt as it had been “trimmed,” “manicured” almost – like trees or bushes cut into identical boxes. It felt like in an effort to make it as “simple” as possible, the mood and depth possible had been destroyed. (At the same time, as simple and direct as the prose was, it manages in battle scenes to be precise in a way that comes short of being very disturbing and almost gory, in my opinion – and I have an odd experience of such things – only by being so manicured.)

I felt as if this “trimming” extended to the development of the characters as well. It feels like there’s always a “point” to the scene, to the interaction, and I never got to see the characters just behaving like themselves, with no concern for where it was taking the plot or whether it was showing “relevant development” of the characters. I should say it feels extended to the characters and the plot together. It felt ‘tropey’ if you know what I mean: and not that it was because it had tropes that I’ve had too much of (I hadn’t). It felt like instead of being genuine, complex persons, the characters were combinations of roles or personality types; not so much one dimensional as they could be complicated, with many-faceted personalities, and not falling into any stereotypes (sometimes, it felt like they almost blatantly avoided stereotypes, at least the ones I’m familiar with). It was more like they didn’t have that undefineable quality of something that can be at once simplicity or complexity that makes a living person. Maybe more like a cartoon than like a portrait (which isn’t bad, just not my thing)?

The plot didn’t feel like it had life in it either, but of course it would not to me without characters I could really relate to. And I wanted to: a lot of the things in this book are things I would like to relate to. Friends. A forbidden love. Forgotten magic and the restoration of lost magic. But I just couldn’t make the connection, not with characters that did not make me feel. However, I think the same thing that made the characters hard for me to feel is something people who like books that don’t get “bogged down” or distracted by too many threads, too much introspection or “naval-gazing,” or extraneous details might really appreciate.

And I liked the world-building: the Chrysillium Trees are beautiful, and the ideas of everything being connected was beautiful, too. And the notion that magic is dying and the world is starting to die, unless the old gods can be freed and the magic can flow properly again, instead of being like a stagnant pond. I really like and care about trees, and I noticed nice touches like the way the Chrysillium Trees relay on the whole forest.

I should mention something else: there’s some torture in the book, and what stood out to me about it is that I feel like a lot of books make it out as if anyone can be broken/tortured into betrayal. There’s no hint of that attitude here, and I really liked that. Our character decides (quite successfully, it is implied) to keep his secrets, his trust, no matter what, and to force that down, there’s no melodrama about the decision. It isn’t even written as if it were a big deal. It just is that way. He makes his choice. I can’t tell, because of the sparse style most of the book is written in, whether this is just an artifact of the author’s style, or whether it is deliberate, but either way, I liked it well enough. (By the way, the torture is mostly implied; introduced by a scene that cuts before the torture begins; and then there’s some aftermath scenes and descriptions. And while the scene is just as sparse as any part of the book, the torturer is cruel and psychopathic, and makes one’s skin crawl.)

This review appeared first and in full on Enthralled By Love (Paths of Fantasy)
Profile Image for Abigail Lindner.
145 reviews
March 8, 2022
The Chrysillium Tree is set in the land of Azantium, which encompasses the ruling Azantium people as well as the Lumani tribes that have homes in Eod and Idris; and slaves and employees from outer lands that the Azantiums conquered, including Callium, the homeland of main character Maeve. Maeve was captured and forced into service in the Palace of Light. The main point-of-view characters apart from Maeve are Armaiti of the Lumani Water Clan and Isaac Houghton, the High Merchant of Azantium.

The characters' lives are tied to the Treaty of Falls Hollow, signed ten years ago to end a war between the Azantiums and the Lumani, which gave the Azantiums a large grove of Chrysilium trees, a sacred tree of the Lumani whose laba beans had, by the Azantiums' experimentations,
seemingly unending uses. While wealth in Azantium soars, particularly around the Palace of Light, and the Lumani work to maintain peace and strengthen their communities, which had suffered greatly in the war against the Azantiums, threats loom; Maeve hears whispers in the Palace and Armaiti's water magic falters. Meanwhile, Isaac works to undo the harm that his trading in labas has engendered before the Azantiums destroy everything left of the Lumani and the Chrysillium trees.

Honeycutt has a rich world, with history, folklore, and religious practices, set up. These elements are presented well for the most part. I especially like the story of the Chrysillium trees Oyela and Ayin. (The parallel story with Shålan and Xä, two deities of old, seemed a bit much given that there was already the "separated love" story with Oyela and Ayin; I didn't see the point of its inclusion, though the tale was fun to read.) Enough information (exposition, flashbacks) was provided to form an adequate picture of Callium and Thalis, the latter of which is the poor, Azantium-subjugated homeland of Isaac Houghton. Given that one of the focuses of The Chrysillium Tree was forgotten magic, I had expected to discover more about the "mechanics" of the magic that the Lumani and others in the story used. There was some explanation about traveling through veils, but a little more about the when, why, and how would have made the world feel even more real.

A lot of characters are introduced from the Lumani Clans and the resistance that is forming against the Azantium rulers. For adult fantasy, The Chrysilium Tree is a short book, so not much time is given to connect with secondary characters, though many are important to the main three. The POV switches among Maeve, Armaiti, and Isaac (and, occasionally, secondary or tertiary characters) are smooth and sensible. At the beginning, as environments are being established, whole chapters are given for each character. As the story accelerated, most chapters have at least one POV switch. I generally favor longer single-character sections, because I can draw closer to the character in question when more space is allotted, but Honeycutt's format worked well for the plot-driven story that was being told.

I liked the friendship between Armaiti and Iraji and the camaraderie between Armaiti and Isaac; the romance between Armaiti and Maeve could have been...I don't know. More. For me, it was too clean. Armaiti and Maeve in themselves were good characters, but Isaac was my favorite of the three main ones. He was the most morally complex, I thought; Armaiti and Maeve had straightforward moral codes with objectively righteous goals (protect his tribe, reunite with her family, etc.). Isaac, on the other hand, was a not-entirely-moral man who had fallen into bad ways and wanted to redeem himself. It would have helped connect to Armaiti and Maeve if I saw bits of imperfect, dark humanity in them.

I'll add this review on a positive note, because I did, overall, enjoy The Chrysilium Tree: The mythology, and that regarding the Chrysillium trees in particular, was alluring. If there are to be future volumes set in this world, I would love to see more of it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Casie Aufenthie.
Author 2 books35 followers
October 21, 2021
The Chrysillium Tree is a stand-out debut by the incredibly talented Laken Honeycutt. Crafting a highly imaginative world where socio-political and environmental problems are swiftly coming to a head, Honeycutt tells a tale of courage, love, and faith.

With some of the most in-depth and beautiful worldbuilding I’ve ever encountered, you are instantly immersed in a whole new place full of magic and fantastical creatures. There are layers upon layers of detail that enrich the story and bring the characters to life without dragging down the story with too much exposition. In fact, full of action, intrigue, and romance, The Chrysillium Tree has a fun fast pace that keeps the pages flying by as you follow the adventure of Maeve, Armaiti, and Isaac.

Speaking of the characters, they are each equally strong and fleshed out, and all three take wonderful, and sometimes surprising, journeys through the course of the story. Maeve is a resourceful, strong woman despite being forced into slavery. Armaiti is a powerful ruler of high moral fiber. Isaac, my favorite by far, is a man who has done everything to gain power and prestige only to regret it immensely.

If you enjoy reading about worlds rich in lore and magic, about flawed people doing their best, I highly recommend The Chrysillium Tree. I can’t wait for the sequel!
Profile Image for Julisa Basak.
Author 1 book3 followers
October 26, 2021
I enjoyed this book from the first chapter, and I knew it was going to be good the moment I found out there was going to be bioluminescent trees and magic tuned to nature. I started reading it on my train ride to Boston and back (5 hour each way) and I did not regret it! Laken paints a beautiful imagery of her rich diverse world from start to finish, not only through the different cultures and practices, but also through the lore. I loved learning about the Lumani culture (and the origins of Zama), the intertwining magic of old, the history, the Azantium conquest, and everything in between. The different character perspectives all coming together to join one cause really made the plot more engaging, realistic, and diverse, especially when we have an overarching conflict affecting more than one person. Laken did an incredible job tying all the storylines together while feeding us the fantastical, and the great thing was that it was easy to follow and understand. Maeve and Armaiti’s love story was beautiful, and Isaac, unsurprisingly, has become one of my favorites (Btw, I’m single!). The title itself, aka the focus of the story, ties it all together as the Chrysillium trees are the source of magic sustaining in this world. All in all, beautiful debut novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! (Especially after that ending).
Profile Image for Lauren Kay.
39 reviews26 followers
September 22, 2021
Have you ever come across a book that made you wish you could drop everything in your normal life and somehow find a way into a universe birthed from pure creative genius?
Yeah, that was me with this novel.

The world building and intrigue captured my attention early on in the story. I buckled my seatbelt for the intrigue and found myself in hyper-speed as the pacing kicked up. There is not a slow section of this book, which made it such an easy binge read!

This author had fantastic world building, characters who felt real, and some of the most atmospheric writing I've come across in a long while.
Maeve was endearing, and I enjoyed the fact that she could handle her own. She knew how to be fierce and kind. I think I saw a lot of myself in her, which might make me even more biased to this book.

I had the privilege of reading this novel early (thank you Ms. Honeycutt!). The writing was phenomenal, and I've thought about Maeve several times since I finished this book last week. The book is under 300 pages, and was easy to dive right into.
If you like high fantasy, well-rounded characters, romance, and intrigue, do not pass this book up. It's the perfect read to finish out the year!

Profile Image for Jessica Piro.
Author 7 books62 followers
March 10, 2022
You can tell right away that the author focused on building this lavish world full of mythology, lore, cultures, and history. It's almost like opening a history book for there's a reason/backstory to everything. But, IMO, there wasn't much more to that. The characters felt flat; the romance b/w the MCs seemed forced and rushed--I was actually kinda hoping Mæve would get with another for they seemed to have more of a connection--and the plot didn't seem special (it was generic for a fantasy story).
Overall, it's a good start for a debut, but I felt it needed to slow down. Spend more time with the characters so the readers will be invested/connected with them (Example: Characters died and neither I nor the MCs seemed to care/their deaths weren't that impactful). Same with the lore; it was rich but didn't seem to have much of an impact on the plot. (Ex: The demons are released to only save the war; no repercussions (in this story); no hesitation in the characters for there's a reason why they were locked away; it seemed like they weren't mentioned until the heroes needed a macguffin; and they weren't terrible/something to be feared.)
Profile Image for Kenneth W..
Author 1 book10 followers
May 22, 2022
The Chrysillium Tree by Laken Honeycutt is a fun fantasy with a well-balanced love triangle in the center of the story. The further I read, the less I wanted to put it down. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to find books like that from new authors. This is a pure fantasy novel with the magical chrysillium tree at its heart. So, if you’re in search of a new fantasy author, don’t hesitate to read Laken Honeycutt. All the characters have nice arcs and while we bounce between a lot of POVs, it doesn’t feel like the dreaded head-hopping. I really fell in love with Maeve, the main character, though didn’t always agree with her decisions, as it should be. I think Honeycutt did a great job of giving me as the reader a reason to stick with Maeve throughout the story. By showing her different interactions with various characters, you can understand the love triangle between her known world and the new one behind the chrysillium tree.
Profile Image for Helena Craggs.
Author 3 books90 followers
September 13, 2021
I’m grateful to have received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Honeycutt’s writing is phenomenal. She is a magician with words. The story is beautifully delivered, and the worldbuilding is outstanding. It is, without doubt, a page-turner. I adored the protagonist Maeve. However, the whole cast of characters was well developed and engaging. The depth put into creating the mythology of this word was exceptional. If you love high fantasy with action, romance, great characters, and spectacular worldbuilding, then look no further. Well done, Ms Honeycutt. I eagerly await the sequel.
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