The Speaker for the Trees is a scifi/fantasy novel wherein humanity is observed and judged through the eyes of an alien race, familiarly known as plants. The Council of Plants planted plants (smiled when I wrote that!) on Earth to ascertain why our planet hadn't been conquered by plants (they hadn't seen my yard!), and whether or not mankind is a threat to the universe and should thereby be eliminated. Okay, I'll stop playing with the plant thing. The plot is delicious (because I'm a vegetarian?) and unique in that the alien plants share certain flaws with humans, so the pot calls the kettle black, which eliminates an objective moral superiority thereby showing that tolerance and empathy are the true virtues.
This novel felt easy to read as the style is similar in tone to books such as The Little Prince and Doodling, which, strangely enough, also incorporates toasters. Hmm. Sentences vary from short, staccato ones that startled me and made me laugh, such as:
"Hedge exhaled a deep, shuddering breath. He was going to need a toaster."
-- to longer, more convoluted yet with oddly packed truth-isms, such as:
"By adulthood humans had trained themselves to be coy and manipulative in response to the coy and manipulative society in which they lived, which led them to believe that everyone was being as coy and manipulative as themselves and were uncertain about what was true and what was not."
Whereas The Little Prince is whimsical and illogical, The Speaker for the Trees manages to be whimsical and logical. Hedge's story is heartfelt, as only beings without hearts can demonstrate. Humans and plants are imperfect, yet the capacity to see beyond the flaws and to care for the sweet vulnerabilities that require a bit of nurturing to bring about a grand flowering--well, that is close to being divine.
If I were pressed to find fault here, I'd say I least appreciated the concept of the Visitors. The Mr. Visitor character added intrigue, and a wee bit of tension, but was not "fleshed" out enough to be truly threatening. For me, the Visitors, though interesting, were the least developed and thereby most disappointing component of the story. There. I was brutal.
Summary: Very enjoyable read. Please do so.