ember-burning

About This Book:

Senior year was supposed to be great--that's what Ember's friend Maddie promised at the beginning of the year. Instead, Ember Trouvé spends the year drifting in and out of life like a ghost, haunted by her parents' recent, tragic death. At home, she pores over her secret obsession: pictures of missing kids-- from newspaper articles, from grocery store flyers-- that she's glued inside a spiral notebook. Like her, the people are lost. Like her, she discovers, they had been looking for a way to numb their pain when they disappeared. When Ember finds herself in Trinity Forest one day, a place locals stay away from at all costs, she befriends a group of teenagers who are out camping. Hanging out with them in the forest tainted with urban legends of witchcraft and strange disappearances, she has more fun than she can remember having. But something isn't right. The candy-covered wickedness she finds in Trinity proves to be a great escape, until she discovers she can never go home. Will Ember confront the truth behind her parents' death, or stay blissfully numb and lose herself to the forest forever?

 

*Review Contributed By Patrick Hodges, Staff Reviewer*

A very solid debut effort

The story:

Haunted by the tragic death of her parents, seventeen-year-old Ember Trouve has withdrawn from her life.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.

 

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