Review: Ember Burning by Jennifer Alsever

About the 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?

Cover of Jennifer Alsever's Ember Burning

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Review by Katy Haye:

Ooh, this was really good. I loved Ember’s character – damaged, beaten but fighting.

And the story combined with Jennifer Alsever’s writing was very powerful: There was a tremendous, creeping sense of dread that worked so well. As I read there was always half a thought of, “Oh no, what’s going to happen next?”

Folklore and strange happenings were woven into a seriously creepy world. There was a bit of a cult feel to it. I kept urging to Ember to get out, which of course she was trying to do (of course, if you want to know whether she does, and whether you even think she should, you’ll have to read the book).

If you’re looking for something different and new, then Ember Burning comes highly recommended. It doesn’t fit neatly into existing categories but beats a whole new path. One that’s full of traps and people who can’t be trusted.

Compelling and creepy, I loved it.

Even better, the sequel, Oshun Rising, is out next week, so there’s more in this world to move onto once you’ve read Ember Burning.

Katy Haye writes speculative YA fiction. Post-apocalyptic romance, Rising Tides, shortlisted for the 2017 RONE Awards, is available now.

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