Cover Image: The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC! 
I love this book, everything is perfect and it sometimes makes me even questioned myself about a lot of things!
The characters here are so well developed and such a page turner!
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Really enjoyed this book. I love the characters and how they seem pretty rag-tag but awesome at the same time. Kind of got off to a slow start but once you got going it was an easy read. I also thought it was really funny.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Houndstooth Books for the Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This was enjoyable but the writing style didn't really work for me. I liked the plot and the characters but something about it was just... off. 
I'd recommend this to anyone that likes puzzles/mysteries, really well paced and interesting story!
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Such a clever and entertaining read. Makes me wonder how smart humans can actually be. 

Many thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the ARC.
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I would recommend this book to others. Highly enjoyable. Miller is a good writer, and the writing flows, the pacing is good. All in all, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was delighted by what I received.
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Albert Puddles is a mathematics professor who is consulted by the local police following a murder where the victim was able to grab part of a written cipher from his assailant.
What follows is a  fast paced thriller (that is my best definition of this book's genre) that discovers The Tree of Knowledge - a mathematical/logical process to anticipate the future.

The concept of the book is quite interesting, and I didn't mind Puddles (despite the terrible name). There were just so many tropes in the book and unnecessary everyday sexism that made me feel like this book was written in the 90s. Some more editorial assistance and a mentor wouldn't go astray as there is a lot of potential here. I wavered on the rating, but landed on 3 stars as I did read it easily in a few hours and although I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book, I can see it may have some appeal for readers a bit more forgiving of what I found irritating.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Some readers would likely consider this book a cozy mystery. I don't always read to disect and evaluate but I read more for pure entertainment. While the ending didn't tie things up as well as I would have liked this book was an enjoyable read and clever story.
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A fun, quick, engaging read with lots of adventure! Characters were well defined and developed to the point where you would be able to figure out who was saying what without dialogue tags. The flow was nice and even, I didn't feel like there were a lot of lulls or gaps. Overall , I really enjoyed it!
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Thrilling, Action Packed and Enigmatic .............................. .

The Tree of Knowledge by Daniel G Miller reminds me of books by Dan Brown. The plot is fast and full of action and adventure. You won't find anything unnecessarily written or plotted in the book. The author has succeeded in giving us a crisp and fresh story. Details of Game Tree are exquisitely crafted which I found very interesting.The characters are strong which is a striking feature in the book. Although, I didn't like the cover as its not attractive.

But, the book has an open ending and demands a sequel without which the book is incomplete. Albert Puddles is definitely going to be a prominent character. I would give 5 stars to the book.
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I honestly couldn't finish this.  As a graduate physics student, all the characters seemed so stereotypical.  I really was surprised by how much I disliked it.
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A good entertainment to rest your mind in a rainy weekend.

📖 The Tree of Knowledge (2021).
✍️ Daniel G. Miller.

〰️

Plot: Imagine a person who could visualize ten steps ahead not only in the game of chess but in every human interaction. Mathematics professor Albert Puddles is such a person, and as he is thrust into a murder and burglary investigation on the Princeton campus he finds that there is such a secret. The discovery leads Albert to team up with an aging mentor, a curious graduate assistant and an unusual “book club” on a frantic chase across the country to recover the book’s secret and clear his name. Through this adventure, Albert rediscovers a woman from his past and is forced to confront his own understanding of love, rationality, power, and the limits of the human mind.

〰️

First of all, I would like to say this is an easy comprehension read, even for people who don't have English as their native language, like me. The plot is simple and at the same time keeps you engaged. However, some points didn't work for me. The "tree" from the title requires a fair amount of will to belief from us and that spoiled a little bit my reading experience. Also, I thought the closing quite lazy. My impression was that the author had not given the same attention to it as he did with the rest of the book.

So, I recommend this read for those who search for a good entertainment to rest your mind in a rainy weekend.

⏩ "The Tree of Knowledge" is available in @netgalley plataform.
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This book was good right up until the end. The characters were well defined as you have Dr. Puddles and Ying, his Chinese assistant getting caught up in logic and the Tree of Knowledge at Princeton University. You have Puddles former love plotting to steal the Tree of Life manuscript out of the safe at a local police station for her mother who has formed a Red Army and is running for governor of California., incriminating Puddles in the process. So Puddles turns to a former professor who in turn turns to a former military comrade who upon learning who stole the book, offers to train them to get the book back using the Tree of Knowledge, which is quite intriguing. Meanwhile Puddles love finds out where he is hiding, shows up with the FBI.
They then plan to enter the compound where the book is at by using a keycard that one of the mercenaries miraculously has. Puddles and Ying enter the compound through a series of mazes created by the Tree. Meanwhile the Professor comes upon the General of the Red Army who has the book and the professor is able to obtain by fighting off the General. All is well but then the mother shows up along with the daughter and captures them. Then the general, after having fallen several feet and handing on his head, rises up and shoots the professor. Two of the mercenaries are taken into custody by the local sheriff while Puddles and Ying are whisked off to New Jersey by a local detective who Puddles has managed to convince that he isn't guilty. Then it ends. Maybe your supposed to use the Tree of Knowledge to figure out the ending?
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This was an interesting idea that somehow never felt like it found its way... At least not as a novel. While the concept was intriguing, the characters were not as well-rounded as I would have liked, and the plot meandered a bit. There was a lot of interesting philosophy and theoretical explanation, and as a former philosophy major I did find that interesting - however I was reading this as a novel, and it did not do much for me in that regard, particularly given the blurb and book description... This one just wasn't for me.
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Another ARC from netgalley. Liked the premise of the story but was not captivating enough. Seems as if the author is trying too hard to make it exciting. Not worth the effort. Brutal, I know, but this is my honest review. Thanks netgalley for the ARC
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An interesting  premise but I do hate a book which is so obviously, what the author hopes, will be the beginning of a series. An inevitable ending with no resolution and everything left wide open.
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I think this one just wasn't for me. I didn't love it, although I did find a few points interesting and I really liked the main character, I just couldn't buy off on predicting through philosophy and mathematics. I just wasn't loving some of magic realism feel of the philosophy and the tree and the predictions. I wish I'd loved it.
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An intriguing plot- if you are into logic puzzles and/or chess this will likely be up your alley. However, the end fell flat for me, with some subplots that were left half explored. I don't mind the open ended-ness of it, but it was not entirely gripping to me as I assumed was the author's intended purpose. Overall an interesting novel, but not suited for everyone
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I loved this book! A quirkier take on a crime/conspiracy novel, it centers around a logician and mathematics professor named Albert Puddles, who is framed for a robbery/murder that he did not commit and, in fact, knows exactly who did. He is joined by his mentor, Professor Turner, and his grad assistant, Ying, to recover the stolen object, which is a book that holds the key to understanding the future. In a logical way, of course! The Tree of Knowledge is the brainchild of Professor Turner, and he is forced to train Albert and Ying for all possible circumstances, as they fight both the US government, and a newly formed party, the RED party, who are essentially plotting to take over the US. 

There's excitement, an excellent amount of nerdiness, action, and even a few love stories, which blend together to make a wonderfully enjoyable book. I'm already hoping for a sequel!
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I want to thank NetGalley and the author for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here expressed are my own.

This book is a little difficult for me to review, because there were parts that I really liked, and also some parts that didn't quite work for me.
Let's start with what I liked:

The premise sounds amazing, like a cross between the Da Vinci-Code and The Matrix. Following the guidance of the knowledge tree, a concept you might be familiar with from logic and philosophy, it becomes possible to predict the outcome of any situation with eerie accuracy - to the point where it almost begins to border on clairvoyance to the uninitiated layman.
Unsurprisingly, the good guys aren't the only ones interested in this, and when the notebook containing the details on the knowledge tree is stolen, mathematics teacher Dr. Puddles is framed for the theft - and has to race to clear his name and safe the world, before the bad guys manage to shut him up for good.

In the first third, the book does indeed deliver on the premise of a fast-paced thriller with an exciting concept, and it kept me turning the pages. This fast pace and constant action are the novel's saving grace that make it an enjoyable read in spite of some of the flaws that I will mention later on.
And writing action is where Miller really shines - these are the best chapters of the book, and here he has no need to hide behind the big names of the genre.

I also enjoyed the way some of the characters are neuro-divergent and POC, and one of them also suffers from a disability (scoliosis). This was really well done and was conveyed with a light touch - at no point did it feel like these things were merely included to tick boxes, nor were they unnecessarily and constantly in the foreground or just introduced and then dropped: they were merely part of who these people were.

Bonus point for the Poirot reference, which I really enjoyed. ;)

What did not work for me, unfortunately, was the prose, which was rather overwrought and kept intruding into my reading - and not in a good way. The dialogue is also wooden in places, although this is not the case everywhere.
Prose style, however, is also a matter of taste, and others have named his style as one of the best points of the book, so this is one of those things where you'll just have to judge for yourself.

Particularly in the first half of the book, when we still keep meeting new characters, there are long... (long!) passages introducing them with scenes from their childhood and upbringing, in long (did I say long?) and uninterrupted info-dumps, and it was here that the book began to lose me a little.

The plot started to fall apart in the second half, with the characters' actions making less and less sense, and the concept of the knowledge tree, which after all carries the plot of the book, not really expanded on further after the initial chapters. The characters go through a series of events and motions that feel disconnected, like mere obstacles on the road to the conclusion of the novel, that may bulk out the page-count but do not really further the plot.

The final climax of the story does, in the end, fall rather flat, without really wrapping the events of the story up - it feels more like a set-up to a second book rather than a neat wrap (even a neat open wrap) of this instalment.

Overall, there were some flaws that marred my enjoyment of the book, but - particularly for a debut - there was much good to be enjoyed, and if you like Dan Brown and his ilk, and thrillers
with a mathematical bent sound interesting to you, this is definitely worth picking up.#

If this is indeed the beginning of a series, I imagine that some of the lengthy set-up and worldbuilding that made this one a bit of a slog will have their ultimate pay-off in the following books.

Some of the things that bothered me should have been picked up during editing and proofreading (particularly a few typos here and there, as this is a published book, not an ARC), and I hope Miller's next books will receive more attention on that side, as that could help elevate them from a merely good read to a truly excellent one.
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This is one of those books that I loved from the beginning, but as I kept reading, more and more things started bothering me.

It’s a book about logic and math and puzzles. It feels like The Da Vinci Code meets The Queen’s Gambit with some pretentiousness from Princeton sprinkled on top. I loved the logic games. I was intrigued by the puzzles themselves and because they’re written in a way that makes them easily accessible, even for those of us who haven’t taken math in a long time, it feels exciting to solve them ahead of or alongside the characters.

It’s super fast-paced, which made it hard for me to put down. It’s an intriguing and adventurous murder mystery.

Here’s what I didn’t like:
It’s very dramatic, which I’m all about, but the writing sometimes feels at odds with the content in a way that undermines the story. What I mean is the dialogue tends to undercut the characters’ intelligence and the writing itself seems to try too hard, making it feel that much more unbelievable and ridiculous.

There are other things in the plot that seem way too over the top to be believable, from the 70-something professor’s agility to the giddy, childish behaviour of both Yuri and Albert—two intellectuals.

I don’t think the women are written well. I really disliked Ying’s characterization. Not only does it feel like she’s a stereotypical “smart Asian” girl, but somehow she’s also presented as the young, giddy (dumb) girl. Ariel specializes in “psychological warfare” AKA manipulation. And both Eva and Christina are painted as the evil
Latinas. Not to mention the characterization of the women is mainly physical, focusing on Ying’s short dresses or Eva’s beauty and her eyes, or how attracted Albert is to her, even when she was 14 (?). And both Turner and Puddles are distracted by such beauty.

The Tree of Knowledge itself sounded really intriguing at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized this is how people rationalize things in their everyday life, though not everyone. Maybe they’re not doing it with some elaborate chart on their walls or some fancy glasses that calculate their opponent’s next move, but people with common sense and perception can understand a sequence of events and make an educated
guess about what a person’s next move will be (if they’re also a rational person). And the twist and the ending were simultaneously dramatic yet underwhelming and incomplete.

It was a fun read that was hard to put down. But some of the issues with plot and characterization really took away from my reading experience. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Houndstooth Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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