Leaves of the World Tree is a collection of short stories by first-time author Adam Misner. Taking place in a wide variety of worlds, the overall theme of the collection is that people are not what they seem: heroes are not entirely heroes, villians are not entirely villians. Misner is a young author with skill in evoking mood, especially dark moods, effectively. The stories have some interesting premises: of the collection, Olaff was my favourite story among them; the title character’s slow realization that the difference between being mediocre and being a hero is a matter of degree was handled competently and the story is defined in its purpose. The enigmatic 3 A.M. was a close second, though.
The stories are uneven in execution. The longest, Amorphous, is in my opinion the weakest; it has an ‘outline’ quality to it suggesting the author might wish to consider expansion into, perhaps, a novella. Shorter stories – Olaff, There are No White Knights – are tighter, the writing more focused.
The production quality of the paperback is less than stellar. There are changes in font size not related to the story and first-line indent issues. While these don’t detract from the stories, they are just a small annoyance that could have been avoided. The book cover by Jorge Jacinto, evoking Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology, is attractive.
Overall, I’m giving Leaves of the World Tree three stars. Short stories are a difficult form, and Adam Misner has made a good start in some of the stories in this first publication. As he matures as a writer, I’ll be interested in reading what he produces.
The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.