Review: Old Green World

Reasons for Inclusion: Gay protagonists, major trans character

Publisher’s Summary: The apocalypse happened 4000 years ago; now, a wild forest covers the world. Albert Todorov, an immigrant military prodigy, lives on an island, in the shadow of the forest. He loves Thomas Newton, a boy he can never marry.

A new island civilization is blossoming, led by strange monks called the Adepts–who have power over matter and the mind–and their holy figures, the mysterious Old People. They plan to storm the forest, to tame it for civilization.

The forest doesn’t care. It is patient and vast. This is what happens.

My Review:

(3/5 stars)

Turns out that even over 4000 years into the future, the English still hate the French and the French still hate the English.

Old Green World introduces a community of (apparently) giants who live a vaguely medieval lifestyle where teachings are dictated by a vague idea of a perfect “civilization” they must achieve, as well as preperations for a vague war against the people on the other side of the Channel. And there’s some vague magic, or probaby science, in scenes where nuns throw people into the air and soldiers talk of magic portals.

The story gets very confusing, especially when it turns into a grueling series of battles.

It gets more interesting when they finally meet the Baixans, when Albert realizes he’s killing people and not concepts, and we get a taste of his adopted people’s imperialism.

After that, the story gets really interesting. The pieces start coming together, forming a haunting warning about the power of culture and the stories we tell to define ourselves and guide our future.

Even if it does get confusing at times, I preferred subtle worldbuilding to awkward exposition. But I didn’t like how the tone and pacing never changed. Pacing was the same for mundane chores and psychic nuns throwing foreigners into the air. It had a detached, fairy-tale/legend feel to it, but in some places that didn’t work.

(ARC received through Netgalley)

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