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The Tree That Grew Through Iron

The Panagea Tales
Narrated by: Gerard Marquez
Length: 15 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The world's end was his beginning.  

Whole chunks of earth are withering away from the mainland and falling into the sea. Natural disasters are claiming thousands of lives. Prayers are no longer answered by gods. Prayers are answered by machines and the Time Fathers of Panagea.  

Nicholai Addihein, one of the eight ruling Time Fathers, struggles to save the lives of his people. After a single moment of misunderstood treason, he must also save his own.  

While running from the wrath of Panagea's other Time Fathers, Nicholai lands in peculiar company. Can a fabled immortal, a crew of societal rejects, and a silver-haired woman with a mysterious past breathe life back into a world on the brink of death?  

With all of existence at stake, Nicholai and the others prepare to fight until their last breath to change the fate of Panagea. Who would ever guess that success might be just as fatal as failure?

©2018 McKenzie Austin (P)2019 McKenzie Austin

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

By far my new favorite fantasy series!

The Tree That Grew Through Iron is an amazing fantasy tale centered around a handful of heroes trying to save Pangea. A world filled with Time Fathers , Earth Mothers and lots more types of magic involved. A man trying to save hos daughter by stopping time even though he isnt supposed to is what sets this epic adventure in motion. I loved this book and I can't wait to get a hold of the second book! So beautifully written that it will keep anyone intrigued.

I was given this audiobook review copy at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Epic Fantasy + Dystopian + Steampunk

This story really hooked me. And I was surprised that it did. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I was expecting some YA fantasy because of this lovely young lady on the cover. However, that’s not what’s going on here (yay!). The story is a little dark and definitely epic. The second half pulls the story into environmental fantasy as our heroes battle to save the very Earth.

The characters really held my attention. Kazuaki Hidataka is the captain of a pirate ship. They chase down rumors and stories of the fantastical. Heard of Pandora’s Box? Yep. Their fault. Though, admittedly, the Earth was already pretty messed up before they accidentally popped that lid. So their part of the story opens with them hunting for the well of Mimir. Kazuaki is tired of being immortal. Granted, he doesn’t want to die today, but he’s tired of not aging and passing on with his friends. The rest of the crew have their reasons for hunting down this magical wish-granting well. But things don’t go as expected at all! Lots of great scenes there and I love that our heroes still have to deal with all their old problems plus these new ones they kind of brought on themselves.

Meanwhile, Nicholai Addihein is having his own troubles. He’s a Time Father and that means he has the power to control the flow of time is his sector (there’s a council of of Time Fathers for Panagea). After being approached to stop time and save a child’s life, things go poorly. Nicholai’s beloved Lilac’s life is put in danger and after freezing time, he flees (as he has brought down the wrath of the other Time Fathers). Nicholai eventually meets up with our pirate heroes and through shared experiences, they come to trust and respect each other.

We don’t even meet the lady on the cover until half way through the story. Umbriel Dasyra is an Earth Mother and the Time Fathers of old banished her to a long lost island. I liked her practical nature when it comes to the circle of life (death doesn’t bother her much). The world of Panagea has fallen into pollution. Very few plants still struggle along as well as animals (Granite’s pet dog is an unusual thing). So when the pirates come across this whole island of live flora and fauna, they are amazed. I did find it odd the ship’s cook (Penn) knew how to cook a deer as I don’t think he had ever seen one before. (Most food stuffs are highly processed, factory made).

All together, they launch on a self-imposed quest to rejuvenate Panagea. And that’s when things get epic. A little steampunky, part magic, part guns and sabers, the story has a great balance!

Bermuda, our hard-hearted quartermaster, was sometimes a fascinating character and sometimes a little silly. The story tells us again and again that she’s bold and confident and strong. But I found her to be emotionally fragile (or in complete denial of her feelings). She does get to do a few action scenes, but mostly she spends her time being emotional or emotionally distant. I would have liked to see more done with her character.

Elowyn, the ship’s medic, definitely pulls her own weight. She’s not just a healer but will also stand firm against enemies. She does have a little chip on her shoulder, having had to prove herself again and again in this patriarchal society. Brack… what can I say about him. He was a good comedic relief. Sometimes I wanted to slap him upside the head and sometimes I was laughing with him.

The tale wraps up well with a hint at the end of what’s to come in Book 2. I definitely enjoyed this tale not just for the characters or the dystopian setting; I love that actions have consequences. Not everyone makes it out alive or unscathed. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Gerard Marquez has a pleasant voice to listen to. He does overuse a little half laugh. Sometimes he used it even when a situation wasn’t meant to be funny or awkward. Towards the end of the book, his pacing got a little off as there were several times it sounded like he was reading the sentence for the first time and wasn’t sure where the story was going. He does do a great job with all the character voices and his female voices sound feminine. I loved that everyone had a unique voice. For the most part, he captured the emotions of the situation (except when that odd half laugh crept in where it didn’t belong). 4/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by McKenzie Austin. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Magnificent, captivating fantasy

A rogue timefather. An immortal captain. A mythical earthmother. A dying continent. These are just some of the things you'll experience in The Tree That Grew Through Iron, as Nicholai Addihein joins Captain Kazuaki Hidataka and his grew in a quest to save the world, and hopefully, his love.

Austin has created a magnificent fantasy world, and the world-building stands out instantly. It will pull you in, captivate you, and take you on an amazing journey.

Much of the story, if not most, happens on board Captain Hidataka's ship, and I loved it. It's a kind of environment that makes for a lot of fun adventure, and bonding between the story's cast (of which there are many, considering there's a whole crew).

Austin's writing is beautiful and captivating, and most importantly, never boring. I found the pace to be a bit slow a times, this is a long book, and I have a tendency to feel like it's just a little bit drawn out at times.

I had the audiobook version, and as usual, I find it a bit difficult to keep track of names, and some of the things that are going on, especially when it's a story I don't know from before. I didn't for example realize until the end of the book how much time had spanned during the events of the book, even though I'm sure it was mentioned several times.

Also, I didn't feel like the narrator was a good fit for me. I say it that way, because he didn't do anything wrong, he was an excellent reader and did great work with all the characters, but I felt like something was missing. Something didn't quite click with me, and I noticed I sometimes lost interested a little bit. I don't know quite how to describe it, which is why I want to emphasize that it's probably me, not him. Also, perhaps particularly toward the end, there was often a noticeable drop and increase in volume, which made me have to turn it up and down occasionally. Not a big issue however, by all means.

Austin has created a wonderful fantasy universe, with unique settings, adventures and characters. A pleasure to have read, and I'm sure the next installment will be just as captivating. Recommended!

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Adult Dystopian Fantasy

As a parent reviewer I feel the need to start out with a morality rating - Just in the first 30 minutes of listening alone there is a pretty descriptive near sex scene, 3 f-bombs along with other bad language, and violence - I would rate it in the "R" range and say it is definitely geared to an adult crowd. It is a beautifully descriptive story that does draw in the reader into a very complex dystopian world of fantasy and mythology. It was a bit out of my comfort realm since I prefer a cleaner read. The narrator did a wonderful job and was an asset to the story with his skill.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A great blend of dystopian and fantasy

This novel was a wonderful blend of dystopian and fantasy. The author did a very nice job describing the setting, plot, and characters. There were a lot of nice details that helped to paint a picture. The book has a little bit of everything, including spells, monsters, myths and love. I also loved how some of the perils we are seeing in today's world were shown and pondered. I think a lot of the themes are seen today and were thus very impactful for the reader. *I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Read

I received a copy of this book from the author. I really liked the story and it did hold my interest. I am glad that it did have an ending to it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal story

I love how the author developed the characters. The storyline is emotional it made laugh and cry. The writing is descriptive with strong details. The book is fast paced with an air of adventure and a touch of mystery. The book deals with environmental issues and that is very important. The narrator was absolutely perfect. I received this audio book upon my request. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review because I really enjoyed this book.

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excellent.

** I received a free review copy of this book at my request.

This book was great, it has heavy environmentalist tones which is always good to see.

the adventure was a lot of fun, and the main characters where well developed and full of quirks. In some cases they did feel a bit forced but it didn't over shadow the narrative.

The antagonists did have the problem of being either completely insane, or so biased and incapable of being reasoned with that they may as well have been insane.

This book is solidly enjoyable, while also making a strong point about social responsibilitu.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Phenomenal story!

I listened to the preview of this book but it did not do justice to the phenomenal story inside. Technology has taken over Panagea and forest are destroyed so technology can advance. To this end, hypoxia and natural disasters claim thousands of lives. Enter Nicholai, one of several Time Fathers, who, in a moment of desperation, stops time to try and save his daughter. After fleeing his homeland, he joins up with the immortal Captain Kazuaki Hidataka and the rest of his crew. This sets off a series of events, some catastrophic, that will either save or destroy Panagea and the ones he loves. McKenzie Austin's engrossing tale has it all. Action, drama, love, loss, tragedy, not to mention twists and cliffhangers that will leave you breathless! McKenzie's writing evokes and conveys raw emotion you can both see and feel as the story unfolds. Gerard Marquez delivers a solid performance by breathing life into a masterfully crafted world and characters you will both love and hate. I look forward to learning more about the time fathers, earth mothers, their powers, and how they work. There is a reason this book was a Gold Medal Winner in the 2018 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards. This award winning book should be on every listeners list. I highly recommend it and can't wait for the next audio book installment.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary honest review

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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 09-07-19

A Definite Page Turner

4.5 out of 5 stars

The first thing that is apparent in this book is that Austin has a grasp on character development. A lot of this book was devoted to that and usually I harp on books going into too much detail or being too long because of this but I thought that she did a good job walking that tight rope of being overly descriptive and actually giving great details. The same can be said about setting the scenes. They were described well without being too wordy. Unlike I’m being in this description here.

The story itself was enjoyable – I usually do not read a lot of (what I would call) Epic Fantasy usually because of its length – but it didn’t bother me in this story. I thought that the scenes and overall vibe of the book was well told and every part that I would have shortened would have most likely taken away from the pacing and vibe that Austin was going for.

Another thing that is apparent is that Austin loves a good shock and awe (or other may call it cliffhangers). They happened a lot in this book and every time you think you had something or someone figured out, boom, another change up. It made for a fast read and a definite page turner.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad that I read it. I usually don’t pick up longer books like this but I’m glad that I did.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-02-19

Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic book. The story showcases a world that although imagined, mirrors our own in how truly great it can be and how utterly horrible. Its filled with greed and generosity, cruelty and mercy; fanatisism and selflessness; love and hate; all woven into characters that grip your heart and doesnt let go, characters that are wonderfully human, good , bad and everything in-between. I enjoyed every minute often dreading what would come next ( in a good way).
Appreciation to the narrator for bringing the characters to life with his voice changes and use of speeding up / slowing down the text to create effect.
I cant wait for the next instalment in the Panagea story.

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  • Jonathan
  • 08-17-19

A unique and intriguing world

I requested a copy of this book to review because of the world hinted at in the summary. This is not a traditional fantasy world, it is a distopian capitalistic technocracy led by the time fathers, and that is not an honorary title, without them time physically stops.

Nature has had to make way for industry and the continent suffers for it, with people having to take injections to protect themselves from pollution and oxygen deprivation. Magic and gods still exist in this world, although there is little room for them on the continent.

The book is well narrated and my only criticism would be that the source of the time fathers power is never really explained (in this book) leaving you wondering why people who purport to shun magic aparently use it habitually to keep time running.