[Audiobook ARC Review] Ember Burning by Jennifer Alsever

[Audiobook ARC Review] Ember Burning by Jennifer Alsever

Title: Ember Burning (Trinity Forest #1)
Author: Jennifer Alsever
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Narrated By: Moira Todd
Length: 8 hours, 47 minutes
Publisher: Sawatch Press
Publish Date: May 6, 2017
Setting: Leadville, CO Trinity Forest

Rape, Sexual Abuse, Drug Abuse, Overdose, Parental Death, Graphic Death


So I saw the chance to review this audiobook thanks to Jess at Audiobookworm Promotions, and something about it sounded so interesting. I just had to jump at the opportunity, and I’m glad I did! I’m surprised – well not really surprised – that I never heard of it before, but I’m glad that I got to find a new book and a new author to read.

Also there is a section in the themes that I’m talking about regarding rape/sexual assault. If you will be triggered by this discussion, please feel free to skip that part. All themes that I talk about are placed in headers so they should be bigger and easier to find, but here is a heads up just in case.

  • I love the pun of the title, but I’m sooooo curious to know what is going to make Ember “burn” in this novel
  • Trinity Forest… it sounds appealing honestly
  • What would I do in Ember’s situation?
  • I’ve never seen a book character with synesthesia before, and it sounds so interesting

Dealing with grief and pain by running away

One of the reasons why I felt like Trinity Forest was so appealing for Ember and probably the other people that ended up going missing in the forest is because they don’t want to deal with whatever life is throwing at them at the moment. I know I would have felt the same way, and if there was an opportunity for me to just… disappear from the life I’m living right now without any sort of confrontation to my problems, I would take it. Doesn’t it sound appealing, especially when you feel like things could literally not go any worse than it feels at that very moment?

Ember was acting out of grief. Her parents died and she gave up on everything that she was passionate about because why would she want to keep on living when her parents weren’t able to? Well not “acting out”, but this was the reaction to the grief that she had been feeling ever since that day. The only thing that she really kept up after her parents’ death was keeping track of missing people that were last seen heading to Trinity Forest, or even others that disappeared in other parts of the world. The one I remember was someone disappearing in Hawaii, although I didn’t recognize the place that was mentioned. It was probably on the Big Island or maybe another island that I just haven’t been able to explore yet.

Sexual abuse and shame

Two girls in this novel experience sexual assault in this novel – while both were off screen, both were discussed throughout the book. One of the girls was raped by someone that took advantage of her when she was under the influence, and the other was over a longer period of time. Both girls ended up feeling ashamed of what happened even though THEY were the ones that got abused! That just made me so angry but I get it because that’s what society has taught us. The girls feel like it was their fault that these boys could take advantage of them sexually, because if they didn’t end up doing whatever it was they did – which was freaking nothing – they wouldn’t have been raped.

Depression =/= Crazy

I think one of the things that really irritated me with Ember was that her mom had a really bad depressive episode before she ended up dying, and Ember was so cruel to her and called her crazy. She would even call this notebook that her mother kept her “Crazy Lady Notebook” and like… this just pissed me off so much. This is the whole stigma around having any mental health issues and how people would automatically think that means someone is crazy. Which of course isn’t true at all but it just felt like she didn’t want to understand her mom at some times. Then of course when her mom ended up dying, she felt guilty about it, but not enough to stop referring to her mom or other characters that she encountered “crazy.” Maybe it’s just colloquial terminology that is still used in towns like Leadville, CO or anywhere honestly, but it bothers me when it’s used like this. I mean something that you can’t believe can be “crazy” but not someone because of their mental health.

This book ended in such a HUGE cliffhanger! But I also feel like this made it hard for me to fully see any major character development, but then again this is just the first book in a series so I know that there’s going to be some in the future. I think that maybe Ember showed some development… very little in my opinion. There were times where I thought she grew up a bit and then she would go and call her mom crazy. So yeah, I didn’t really count those at all.

Then, yeah I didn’t really see any other development from the other characters as much. So yeah.

Hmmm, well I was kind of sad for Ember’s parents and how they ended up dying. Other than that, I didn’t really feel much. I mean that’s not always a bad thing but I didn’t feel anything truly worth mentioning I guess.

The plot was one of my favorite parts honestly. I also liked how well Alsever was able to make Ember’s world so visual and describe what she was seeing with her synesthesia. It was almost like I could see it as well and I was in her shoes. I also really liked the appeal of Trinity Forest honestly. The prose worked out in my favor and so did the pacing. Nothing really in this section was an issue with me, and didn’t end up taking a way from my enjoyment.

Yeah I totally skipped a section but oh well. I thought that this was such an interesting first novel, and I’m kind of bummed at how it ended! Like… it really did just end so abruptly that I was thinking that some of the book was missing. But nope, it ended the way that it was supposed to, and I was like “wait where is the rest of the story?!” I just can’t help it! But I did end up liking it, and I was impressed with the narrator. I liked how she made Ember sound, and I felt like she totally made me feel like I was listening to a real life teenager dealing with grief. I also think she did a great job with the other characters as well. The production of the audiobook was just really well done, and self-published audiobook production should not be underestimated. Well done.

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