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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Fall Far From the Tree is a dark fantasy by Amy McNulty about four teen children of leaders in the duchy and neighbor Hanaobi who grow up in fear of one another. Rohesia is the daughter of the Duke, trained to hunt the fugitives from the neighboring empire, despite her familial connection. With her father's growing reign as a tyrant, she begins to question her role. Fastello is the son of the nomad king who runs raids on the rich as they travel through the Stargazer's tower. He's beginning to question if he can truly follow his father's ways when he's not sure they're right. Cateline was raised by the Stargazer mothers since her parents abandoned her at the tower. She's never questioned the beliefs the mothers taught her until she's sent to town to ask the Duke for help in dealing with the rise of nomad raids. Kojiro is the next heir to the Hanaobi empire, and he's been taught to fear and hate the “barbarians” of the duchy, being trained to speak the language so he can do what he can for his people. But will he have what it takes? When these four meet, everything they believed in turns out to be not what they thought.
Fall Far From the Tree is tragic and honest with themes of violence and hate, but has a sense of hope that things will be better. One of my favorite aspects of this is the structure, with four different perspectives from each of the four areas. Each of the characters grew up hating the other people, or viewing them as barbarians, and everything is slowly becoming more and more violent and fueled with hate. A lot of things are thrown at the four main characters, but they're each starting to see the flaws, and are questioning their roles. There's a lot of heavy themes, but Amy McNulty handles everything well. It opens in a very dark place, foreshadowing more violence to follow, but it ends on a more hopeful note. Not to say that this isn't a tragedy. It is a tragic story, but when these four stand up, there's hope. A must-read dark fantasy adventure for readers who love dark fantasy.