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The Merro Tree

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  382 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In the far reaches of our galaxy, the artist will face the ultimate censorship.
Mikk of Vyzania, the galaxy's greatest performance master, commanded stages on all the myriad worlds. His sublime, ethereal performances were unforgettable, drawing on the most treasured traditions of every culture, every people, throughout inhabited space. His crowning achievement, and his obse
Mass Market Paperback, 437 pages
Published August 30th 1997 by Del Rey
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  382 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, favorites
I want to start with a quote, as it illustrates what this book did for me:

"He gave us music that reached into the ear like a lover's tongue and changed the color of our feelings. He presented movement so exquisite and fluid it coaxed our souls out of our bodies to dance with him, weightless in the perfume of divinity."

What an exquisite and marvelous story.

It's the story of Mikk, a Vyzanian, with bright red hair, lavender eyes, and smooth white skin. He is born to a narcissistic shrew of a woma
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the few books that has changed my outlook on life. It completes me in a way that's difficult to explain unless you're of some artistic persuasion and have read it yourself. Books about the art world, theatre or acting can often be pretentious and stuffed with modern pop culture, but this is a scifi-fantasy that focuses and gets to the heart of what it means to be an artist, what it means to be censored and to fight censorship, and how it is that life can be love, but also acceptan ...more
*2015 Update* This remains one of my favorite books ever, it is so satisfyingly well written and textured, it is both filled with action and emotion, and I love it so much I've bought all the copies I've found at my local used book store to give as gifts :D *Update over*

I’m very glad that I went through the trouble of getting this book which was a bit hard to find. It is one of the most vivid, unique and emotionally engaging sci-fi/fantasy books I’ve ever read.

The story centers around Mikk, an
This book was gay Footloose in space with a giant snake.
This book is amazing. I bought it off ebay and 3 pages in, I already knew I didn't regret my purchase. It's fantastic. By nominal page 10 (about 3 for me because I'd apparently accidentally skipped the actual beginning into thing on my first read), I already cared about the main character, and he'd just been born. (I mean, I went back and read the beginning part, and knowing a bit more about the character from linear beginning, I actually cared more.)

It's fantastic, really. Absolutely amazing. I
Aimee ~is busy sleeping~
This book was something wonderful to experience. It was so incredibly unique. And thought-provoking, as it dealt with censorship. You don't need to like sci-fi in order to get completely immersed and lost in this. I loved how the book was structured between Mikk's present day trial and his childhood upbringing. His training to become one of the greatest performance masters thoroughout the universe, and his sweet romance with Thissiz especially. His romance with Thissiz (literally a giant snake) ...more
I need to think about this.

Edit (Jan 21st): Ok so this book had some parts that made me raise an eyebrow but fair is fair: I couldn’t stop reading, I cared way too much about the characters, and I’m still thinking about this book occasionally.
My heart started fluttering about halfway through this book, and now that I've finished, it's still fluttering with affection. I was entertained from beginning to end. I laughed out loud many times, and I was close to tears a few times. It's a shame that this book did not sell as well as it should have because I found it magical. I wish Waitman had many more books out there. She has a gift.

The great and expansive cast of characters charmed me the most. It's hard not to fall in love with Mikk. Hi
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ThinkGalactic--censorship, cross-species love, cultural appropriation issues
Waitman excels at creating alien cultures and physiologies that are truly alien to human readers. This, her first novel, follows gifted performance master Mikk, who is haunted by childhood traumas, inspired by his love for a sentient singing snake, and driven to fight censorship and laziness of mind wherever he goes.
Rebekkah Patriarche
20 years ago, this book would have got about a 15/5 from me. It was the first queer romance I ever read. It had some of the most alien aliens I had ever encountered. And it had Deep Ideas about the ownership of art and culture, and the ethics of performance in a connected world of cultural interchange.

Part of my reaction is because over the years I've come to have much higher expectations for both queer representation and explorations of cultural appropriation versus cultural "diffusion" or appr
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked this up as it was part of the Del Rey Discovery series, and I'd seen extremely good reviews of it, praising this debut novel to the skies...
Well, it was a good, enjoyable space-opera-type story, but I think my expectations had been raised a little bit too high. It was fun - reminded me quite a bit of Deborah Chester's "Golden One" trilogy - a sci-fi/fantasy setting with lots of different co-existing races (mostly inspired by different kinds of animals) and an adventure with themes of fr
Meredith Katz
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I first read The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman when I was fifteen or thereabouts, which I know for sure only because of the publication date (1997); I stumbled across it while it was still in bookstores, and I know I didn’t stumble on it late because after I read it, I checked bookstores for her name every time I went to one, which was at least twice a week, and this is how I came across her second book (The Divided, 1999). So I had to be 14 or 15.

I was in high school, and I had, at the time, a sp
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, favorites, own
"It's true everywhere. Those who want power are usually the least qualified to hold it."

This book is many things. I may not have enjoyed every single thing, but it was a joy nonetheless.

First off, this book is actually political, venturing to mainly censorship, to interspecies sex to even "pedophilia". Anyways..I just really liked this book and loved the ending. I didn't feel things get dragged out, which is common for 400+ pages books. The romance was A plus too.

The main characters are good, b
Noah Stark
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read this wonderful novel something like fifty times in the twenty odd years since I found it in a teacher's collection in high school. I've bought two copies thus far, and considering that it's out of print, that's been a challenge. As a survivor of abuse, it was helpful, seeing this book and knowing that you could escape, and grow past the abuse and the abuser to be something more. That you can find a family that will love and support you. As an adult, it's still a great comfort to me. ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f-fantasy
This was an outstanding and original story written so beautifully, that once you get to the end you wish dearly that the journey is not yet over. I’ve reread it at least twice. An unusual love story and a solid sci-if work.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I remembered this old favourite a few days ago, located it, put it on my shelf, and decided that I wanted to reread it soon. I ended up reading it much sooner than I'd thought at first, because I simply couldn't resist.

Mikk of Vyzania is, of course, the best character. We kept seeing new things about him, always another way in which he was more and better - I would say superhuman, except he is Vyzanian, not Terran - he seems almost divine, but he is never above anyone else, he is still equal to
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is to days one of my favorite books, hands down.
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I ordered this book used on Amazon & am so glad I did. It was rather hard to track down (in that it's not widely available and is not an ebook).

I didn't really know much about this going into it. I don't even know why I purchased it; the synopsis wasn't that gripping. Perhaps I like titles that have an obscure element from the story in it.

Waitman's writing was...shall I say: exquisite. It was very much a prose on the issue of performing arts and how censorship can be a tragedy when it comes
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shortlist: Best book I read in 2009.

While this is a first novel and has its imperfections, I adore it utterly. The issues of freedom and art and censorship and interplanetary cultural exchange, the intricately populated reality with myriad sentient species, are all extraordinarily well done. I recommend it without reservation.

A Del Rey Discovery Book
#1 | The Merro Tree, accidentally discover series of non-related novels.
#2 | Wheel of Dreams, intense effort to track down the complete series begin
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Very original space fantasy novel. Mikk is an alien who was abused and neglected as a baby by his parents. When he becomes a young boy, he is sent to a music conservatory to study, but his abuse makes him quiet and it seems hard for him to learn. While he is there he catches the eye of a visiting performance master (someone who has mastered countless instruments as well as the art of dance, theater and other performance arts). This man decides to take Mikk in as his last and greatest apprentice. ...more
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is quite possibly my favorite book of all time... It's about a very sensitive, strange, out of touch invidual named Mick who is very different from the others of his alien race...

In this inter-galatic community Mick becomes a Performance Master, his differences allowing him to become the greatest Performance Master of all time. He takes what should have been a weakness and turns it into his greatest strength...

This book challenges you, not just to be strong as Mick was, but also concepts o
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Still one of my favourite books after... I'm not sure, 16, 17 years. I first read this when I was maybe fifteen or sixteen. It was bought for my as a Christmas present by my aunt who was living at the time in Bermuda. She knew I was a science fiction fan and wanted to get me something I hadn't read so she went into a bookstore and asked for a scifi book that wasn't out yet in England. I'm so glad she did.

The story itself i won't go into for fear of giving away spoilers, but it is set in a wonder
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi
This is, without a doubt, my favorite book of all time. I borrowed it from the library as a kid, and I fell completely in love. Reading it again as an adult, the story hasn't lost any of its magic

This book tackles the issues of abuse, censorship, and freedom to love, without getting overly preachy, simply by telling the story of Mikk, the alien performance artist

I would consider this book more fantasy in a sci-fi setting than actual science fiction, but I would recommend it to fans of both genre
Casey Glanders
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was recommended to me and I'll admit, I avoided it for months. The name and the cover did nothing, but once I picked it up, I was completely sucked in. It's fun, the scenes flow wonderfully and every character is given a distinct, fun voice. It flows like a story should, smoothly, with scenes designed to advance the reader without bogging the reader down. It's a fun, sci-fi read that totally owns its concept.
Maggie K
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really a 3.5.
A take on censorship, as a 'performance master' is banned from doing a certain dance, but defies the ban in order to bring the beauty of the art to the masses.
Nice story, but a little saccharine for my tastes. I really didn't feel any true tension, it was clear to me that the outcome would all be in Mikk's favor.
The universe building, along with an large assortment of various aliens was very well done.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is as amazing as I remember. I loved Mikk and all of the characters. The themes were done beautifully. I recommend this to anyone who loves sci-fi, but especially those who enjoy a good story filled with love and political themes.

**I have to say that the editing is horrible, but I was able to see past it to the story, which says something for the story.
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time. Unfortunately, it's also out of print. I had an urge to reread this so I tore apart my bookshelves to find it again. It was just as magical as I remembered it. A very touching story about censorship in the distant future.
Harper Kingsley
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Exploring the idea of interspecies romance, this is a truly beautiful story. The first time I read it, it was a copy from the library. Once I finished, I barely waited a day before I went to B&N to order my own copy. I simply had to have it forever, that's how good it is.
Pamela Lloyd
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: science fiction lovers
Shelves: science-fiction
This was an amazing book. It's been years since I read it, and I think my son took it with him when he moved out. A truly moving story of a soul-deep love that transcended boundaries, including those between species. A book my son once declared was the best he'd ever read. I recommend this highly.
Mac Mathis
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The book was ok as a non-hard scifi novel, until the end. After Mikk escaped, became superman and single handedly toppled the galaxy wide organization that was persecuting him, it sort of lost believability. It teeters between a 3.0 and 3.5.
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“Have you ever gotten a bad review, Master Huud?"
"Hundreds of them."
"Do they hurt?"
"Of course. But you get over it. Critics are just people, lad. They're entitled to their opinions. They're not the enemy."
"Who is the enemy?"
“When we touch...our gods lay down their weapons and I can forgive every trespass...” 6 likes
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