TL;DR – the journey continues as Loretta tries to stop Meg’s transformation from happening. Pieces start coming together as the story jumps between past and present to unveil the full apocalyptic picture.
Summary (warning: spoilers)
Click here for my review of Family Tree (Volume 1) and what has happened so far.
Young Meg is fast turning into a tree. Leaves, bark, and branches. The full caboodle. Meg’s mum and brother, Loretta and Josh, are riding in a car with a doctor (who comes off like a voodoo witch) in the driver’s seat trying to outrun some pursuers looking to hunt down Meg and capture (or kill) her. They eventually stop on the side of the road, rain pouring down, and manage to move Meg to the edges of a forest. Her feet have transformed into roots and though she tries to tell her mum that she’s okay, Loretta watches in horror as her daughter turns into a full fledged tree.
The story then jumps to the future where the world has been overrun by vegetation and an adult Josh is wandering the wilderness trying to survive.
It then jumps again to the past prior to Meg’s transformation where we see the events of Meg’s father, Darcy, reuniting with Meg’s grandfather at a bar, and Darcy revealing to his father the same vegetative affliction (i.e., Darcy was also turning into a tree).
We are brought back to the present where Mr. Hayes (Darcy’s dad) is tied to a chair all beaten up after defending Loretta and the kids against a group of thugs seeking to hunt Meg down. Thanks to Mr. Hayes, he was able to provide enough time for Loretta and the kids to escape with the good witch doctor but was captured as a result. Here we learn, that the organisation hunting down humans-turning-into-trees is being led by a mysterious woman whose father also suffered from the same transformation. She believes she is protecting humanity from sort of disease, but Mr. Hayes believes that her mission is wrong because no matter how many her organisation has killed to date, the transformation keeps happening to others.
The second volume of Family Tree goes deeper into a war between two opposing factions. There is the faction that is seeking to destroy the humans that have turned into trees, and there are those who believe the transformation is meant to happen.
While the second volume conveys the turmoil and horror being experienced by Loretta in seeing her daughter turning into wood and leaves (and the illustrations convey this horror very well), the story itself does little to progress from the first volume.
Nothing is revealed as to why or how this is happening. There is no explanation as to why the faction seeking to literally uproot and chainsaw all human-turning-trees is doing what they are doing. Do they perceive the transformation to be a disease? A curse? Or something else?
All we know is that certain people are experiencing it, and there appears to be no cure. So, while the story jumps between past and present, little light is shed on why the hell it is happening in the first place.
By the end of the second volume, Meg has turned into a giant tree and is able to communicate telepathically to her mother that everything is going to be okay, and she knows what is going to happen. To demonstrate this belief, when their pursuers appear on the scene with chainsaws in hand, Meg releases a pollen from her flowers and everyone not wearing a mask suddenly bursts into vegetation. Of particular note, none of Meg’s family is effected. Loretta and Josh get to witness first hand the instant eruption of more trees that were once human.
This is meant to be shocking but loses its lustre because the story hasn’t progressed enough to keep me engaged. For what it’s worth, there are only three volumes to Family Tree so it’s not like it’s being dragged out, but there isn’t enough in the story to make me think it is anything amazing. I’ll pick up volume three from the library only because I want to see how they explain the mystery, but I’m not expecting any monumental twist.
2 out of 5.