Title: Ember Burning
Author: Jennifer Alsever
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Sawatch Publishing
Summary: from Goodreads
Senior year was supposed to be great–that’s what Ember’s friend Maddie promised at the beginning of the year. Instead, Ember TrouvE 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?
When I started reading Ember Burning I was a little unsure of what kind of place it was heading to. This feeling actually continued for a good chunk of the book, I wasn’t sure if it was going to go down a supernatural kind of route or head to a more of a science fiction area. I quite liked that there was no obvious and predictable plot, it gave the story a sort of mysterious feel to it which I enjoyed.
One of the strong points of Ember Burning is how well the book demonstrates the terrible crushing way that grief can affect someone. At the beginning of the book Ember has recently lost both her parents in a tragic accident and I thought that her descent into loneliness and pushing people away felt very realistic and dealt with well as a plot point. I also thought there was a really compelling sinister atmosphere to the story, there is quite a slow build up to the main events and the creepy feeling helps to keep the reader’s interest as the story evolves. I was invested in solving the mystery of Trinity forest and figuring out exactly what was going on in there.
There are a few things I wasn’t so keen on about Ember Burning. I didn’t always like Ember as a character and felt that she made some very strange decisions which I couldn’t figure out her motives for. I also think that sometimes the dialogue between characters felt, on occasion, a little strange and stilted. I also would have liked to see a little more of Ember’s relationships with her friends before her parents accident, I think that would have made me feel more of a connection to Ember as a character.
Overall I think that despite a few issues I had with the book, there are some really good things about Ember Burning, the story is intriguing and mysterious and the setting of Trinity forest is atmospheric and sinister. I do think if you are a fan of young adult novels with a slightly paranormal element and lots of folklore then you will probably enjoy Ember Burning.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a completely honest review.