Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Ember Burning (Trinity Forest #1) by Jennifer Alsever

Book Blurb:

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?

My Review:

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Another-World, Heart-Wrenching, Mystery, Supernatural, Teen, Witches--

Ember lost her parents and blames herself for their deaths, closing herself off from friends and school, living her life in a bubble of grief and despair. When a classmate offers her drugs to help take away her pain she leaps at the chance, now losing herself in a fog of apathy. When she sees a strange woman drop a coin she feels a spark of interest since the coin has strange images she doesn't understand. Following the pull of the mystery, she finds herself in Trinity Forest, the place her mother always forbid her from entering. After stumbling on a group of teens in the forest who seems to accept her, Ember feels herself pulled in many directions, but which is the right choice for her?

I thought this would be an interesting mystery where Ember follow clues to help overcome the problems in her life, and sure I thought it would be a little dark with the synopsis mentioning her parents were dead, but man I was in over my head with darkness and sorrow. The book started sad and really it just kept getting more depressing the further the story went. There were some cool elements with mystery and magic thrown in that I appreciated, but overall I did not enjoy reading this story. In full disclosure here, I do not read books with rape because that is too real life for me and there was a date rape scene here that she kept flashing back to and it just made me feel awful. I know it happens far too much in real life, but I am an escapist reader and hate reading about it so it was hard for me to keep going with the book (the fact that Ember kept hanging out and taking drugs from her rapist made me want to scream!). There was just too much darkness here for me to love the book, but the underlying plot of what was going on was interesting.

The parts I thought were really cool was the Egyptian mythology and the overall mystery of the story, the sense of confusion and hints of some magical components. I love finding stories that tie into Egypt, either time travel or mythology, so when small symbols started showing up that hinted at a connection to Egypt I was super excited. Also, the mystery was really interesting, with the forbidden woods and illusions to not growing up and Peter Pan. I was kept guessing as to what would happen next, as completely in the dark as Ember. Jennifer was great at creating emotions for Ember, I could feel her angst, depression, grief, cloudiness, disconnect, and then a small sliver of hope. She was a fully fleshed out character, one who was so broken at times it felt like there was no positive outcome for Ember. I really felt for her and wanted to take away her pain as well as shake her for her constant bad choices (seriously, the girl could not stop making terrible choices!).

This was a very interesting concept for a story, I just think it was a little too dark for me. I kept waiting for the tone to lighten or the awfulness to be fixed or redeemed, but instead it just kept coming. By the time I reached the end, I felt pretty down and that was not a feeling I wanted. This is the first in what is a series (of how many I am uncertain) with a big cliff-hangar ending. I won't be reading anymore regardless of my questions as to what happens next because I am afraid the next book may be even darker and I don't think I can handle it. I know other people will love this story and enjoy the challenges Ember faces.

I received this title for reviewing purposes.

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