Crossroads of Canopy (Titan’s Forest, #1) by Thoraiya Dyer

Posted: February 1, 2017 in Book Review
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crossroads-of-canopuAbout :

The opening novel of Thoraiya Dyer’s “Titan’s Forest” series takes place in the world of a giant forest. Three realms live at different levels of this forest: “Canopy” claims the privileged position at the treetops, Understorey clings the boughs, and “Floor” settles in the shadows at the foot of the trees.

Crossroads of Canopy opens in Canopy, the most privileged of the three realms. Here, thirteen theocracies rule the Canopian citizens and interact through the usual ways of war, trade and peace. When a god or goddess dies, they are reincarnated into the body of a human babe. Unar lives in the Garden, a theocracy ruled by the goddess, Audblayin. Having run from poverty and barely escaped slavery, Unar plans to find glory by winning the position of Audblayin’s next bodyguard. But she becomes sympathetic to the slaves from the lower realm of Understorey, a complication that gets her into trouble with the Gardeners.

Then, suddenly, Audblayin dies. With her death, the magic that bound Unar to service and mandatory abstinence disappears, and new, overwhelming distractions get in the way of her plans…Crossroads of Canopy is fantasy published by Thoraiya Dyer. Published January 31st 2017 by Tor Books.

I requested this one immediately, when it popped up on Netgalley. Look at that cover. And the description?! Sounds amazing, right?

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it and ended up DNFing it at 47%

Why DNF?

When I started Crossroads of Canopy, I expected political divisions among the theocracies, adventure among the trees and a sense of wonder about the gorgeous forest realms. I hoped for some interesting philosophy about the religions, perhaps debated among friends.

But this book focused on other things, and unfortunately I struggled to connect with the characters, who often provoked each other with hostile attitudes; also, most of the action felt uninteresting and incidental to the plot. The purpose of each scene got lost in Unar’s focus on other things, mainly her sexual awakening.

Following the death of the goddess’s abstinence magics, most of the cast seems fixated on sex and sexual organs—and we’re not just talking about during a few sex scenes. One minute, we’re discussing religions/climbing gigantic trees/social inequality, and out of the nowhere, we’re talking about male “organs” and lady “flaps” and unrequited crushes.

Some of this makes perfect sense and would have been fine, had it remained a minor distraction from Unar’s plans; but it goes overboard and we end up spending lots time oogling Unar’s love interest or exploring Unar’s theories about masturbation when meanwhile, we only know the names of three of Canopy’s thirteen theocracies.

Since Crossroads of Canopy is book 1 in a series, the author seems to be taking her time in exploring the world (and adding in sexual tensions and drama-rama to keep us interested) instead pushing forward with the plot. Unfortunately, while the descriptions did a great job portraying the social stratification, I felt like they neglected other areas of worldbuilding—although some of the imagery of the garden flowers blew me away. Clearly Dyer spent a lot of time developing the flora of her three realms. Check this out:

The exotic plot was filled with rare blue and bronze-colored grasses from the places where Floor met the edge of the forest. A messy hedge of maroon guavas, interspersed with purple sugarcane thickets, formed a semicircle around the western boundary.”

Overall :

The worldbuilding has lots of potential, if you find the style appealing, but the book just moved too slowly for my tastes.

Recommended To :

Reads who might enjoy slow worldbuilding through the eyes of a single narrator. Also, readers who really appreciate gender and racial politics might enjoy the book’s diversity enough to keep reading. A couple of Goodreads reviewers really enjoyed the book for that reason.

Thanks so much to Thoraiya Dyer, Tor and Netgalley for this e-arc!

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    Hmmm. Sounds uh interesting. Maybe if I got it for free?
    But the blurb did sound awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tammy says:

    That’s too bad, this isn’t the first review I’ve read that had issues with the pace and storyline. Hopefully things pick up for book two:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      Yes, if the reviews for book II and III are spectacular, that could be a good incentive to push on! Unfortunately, the blurbs on Amazon (from great authors and reviewers) were already so positive for this one, it’s hard to imagine what might make me want to pick it back up, haha. Maybe if you love them, I’ll give them a shot ;D


  3. How disappointing! It’s always a shame when a story turns out different than you’d expected. I’ll be reading this one soon, hopefully I’ll have a better time with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      I know, I was so disappointed! Tamora Pierce blurbed it, and she’s one of my author-loves, haha. I was expecting something more like her work, I think.

      Yes, I hope so too!! Some people seemed to like it, and I hope you’re one of them 😉


  4. *ouch* What a pity! The start of your review filled me with curiosity about what seemed to be a very peculiar, very fascinating world, but once your disappointment came out – and I could perceive it quite strongly – much of my interest petered out. It would seem that the author was not quite sure about which direction to take with the story…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christy Luis says:

      That’s exactly how I felt while I was reading it 😢 I was SO excited for this one! It has such good blurbs and a beautiful world ripe with conflict, but…*sigh* It just moves soooo slowly, and in the slow meanwhile, I didn’t enjoy anything except the descriptions of the flowers. That’s just not enough to keep me interested, haha. I think (possibly, this is only a surmise) that the only reason someone would really enjoy this book is because they want to validate the political and social messages. But I need a good story to go along with my theorizing or I just get bored! Very sad case. Now I need an upper to get over the breakup, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Messages are important, and they add depth to a story, but I don’t enjoy them when the author, instead of being subtle about those messages, prefers to smother his/her readers under an avalanche of them, as if they didn’t trust our intelligence or perception. It’s never nice to be bludgeoned, when you could instead be gently persuaded… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Christy Luis says:

    *shudder* Agreed, I have a really hard time with books like that. Thankfully, this book doesn’t smother with an overbearing message; I didn’t mean to imply that, sorry!! 😅 Rather, my problem is more that I didn’t enjoy any of the book. It’s just so slooooow, ya know? There’s not much at all going on in the first half, and I got tired of all the character drama.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jen says:

    The synopsis and cover seem so promising, but those issues would definitely be hard to get past. I’m sorry this was such a let down, and I hope your next book is much more enjoyable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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