A very solid debut effort
Haunted by the tragic death of her parents, seventeen-year-old Ember Trouve has withdrawn from her life. She has shunned her best friend Maddie, dabbled in drugs, and kept company with shady boys. Her hobby – chronicling stories of missing kids in her notebook – has become an obsession. This obsession leads her to the mysterious Trinity Forest, where she discovers a place where time literally stands still. But the big question remains … can she leave?
What I loved:
Ms. Alsever’s writing style flows very well, and her characters are engaging. They come off as real people, warts and all, despite the rather unusual circumstances in which they all meet. Ember, in particular, is messed up, both mentally and emotionally, but you can’t help but root for her and hope that she finds a way through the dark patch she’s gotten herself into. The chemistry she has with Tre (eventually) is very noticeable, and it doesn’t feel the least bit contrived.
The book was also impeccably edited, and didn’t feel like a debut novel to me at all.
What I didn’t love:
There was a sense of menace present in the second half of the book, a vague hint of catastrophe that would affect Ember’s loved ones outside of Trinity Forest if she attempted to leave, but that menace was never really defined until the very end. Along the way, Ember delved into Egyptology and mysticism, and at time I came close to losing the story.
My Final Verdict:
Ember Burning is a well-written Young Adult story that flows well and has great, relatable characters. However, it’s one of those stories that you really need to concentrate on in order to fully understand what’s going on. There is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but since Book Two in the series, Oshun Rising, is only days away from debuting, I didn’t mind it so much.