It’s dark, creepy, has a fresh take on paranormal romance, and stars an independent heroine who’s not too tough…I loved Ember.
Jessica Sorenson titled her novel for its heroine, Ember. She’s a goth chick who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a small town and is gifted with the ability to see how the people she touches will die. Needless to say, she prefers to keep to herself, so she’s fairly quiet and introspective. She is mature, too, and handles herself very well. She doesn’t go boy crazy as soon as she is shown a little attention and is surprisingly kind to other students who are mean to her. Once you’ve seen someone die a painful early death, however, I guess you feel a little bad for them regardless of how they treat you.
You really feel for Ember because in addition to growing up with a “gift,” she also grew up with a very dysfunctional family. A lot of the townspeople assume that she will follow in the steps of her parents and brother, making her an excellent example of why you shouldn’t judge someone because of others’ deeds. I’m looking forward to her powers developing as the series continues.
Ember’s best, and basically only, friend is her neighbor Raven. Their parents were also best friends and the girls grew up together in almost identical family situations, forging a relationship that is more sisterly than the average friendship. Raven is the more outgoing of the pair and the leader in this relationship. As the novel progresses, Ember begins to call more of the shots and is more resistant to just going along with Raven’s plans, which is when Raven begins to act a little weird. It made me wonder if her weirdness began because the relationship was in flux and she was showing her true colors or if there is another reason. Ravens generally have something to do with death, so I’m curious to see if her name has any foreshadowing.
Other characters include Asher Morgan, a guy with a dark secret. He is the only person whose death Ember cannot sense, and there is obviously a reason behind it. He’s protective of Ember without being psycho, which makes him endearing, and his kick-ass fighting skills only add to his sexiness.
Then there’s Cameron, another bad boy who is more than just a bad boy. He’s good looking in more of a main stream way and not quite as natural a fit to Ember, but he’s alluring nonetheless.
There is also this total creeper named Laden, who is a bad boy and a little scary.
These characters lead to a few quasi-love triangles that have a little something for everyone. Romance fiends will enjoy watching the various couples get to know each other and vie for the attention of their object of admiration. If you’re a little sick of triangles, rest assured that none of the characters are totally stuck on anyone else (yet anyway), so there aren’t any tragically broken hearts like in other series. (Infernal Devices, I’m looking at you.)
In addition to writing characters that you care about and become invested in, Jessica Sorenson also creates a quick-moving plot that is suspenseful, dark, and creepy. Bad things happen to Ember and other teens in her community and you truly don’t know who is the culprit. The mystery is the result of excellent character development, because you can see the potential for good and bad in each character and, while you might not want them to be behind the problems, you can see how it is possible.
Sorenson’s writing style is not overly descriptive or wordy, which I prefer. You get details that matter–like Archer’s piercing eyes–so that you can picture everything but there is a fabulous lack of extraneous details.
One thing that I did not love was the amount of plot points and smaller issues left unanswered. It’s a series, so I don’t expect everything to be resolved by the end of the book, but I had a LOT of questions about Ember’s family and background (why is the necklace important?!) More background on the angels and reapers would have also been helpful, but I’m expecting that in the sequel (which I’m REALLY looking forward to).
Ember is a definite must-read book for any paranormal romance fan. But even if that is not your preferred genre, if you enjoy well developed characters and great writing, you will still be a fan of Jessica Sorenson’s Death Collectors series.
Genre: Young adult, paranormal romance
About Ember (Death Collectors #1)
For seventeen-year-old Ember, life is death. With a simple touch, she knows when someone will die. It’s her curse and the reason she secludes herself from the world. The only person who knows her secret is her best friend Raven.
Then she meets Asher Morgan. He’s gorgeous, mysterious, and is the only person Ember can’t sense death from. So when he pushes into her life, she doesn’t mind.
But when unexplained deaths start to haunt her town, Ember starts questioning why she can’t sense Asher’s death and what he may be hiding.
About the Author
Jessica Sorensen lives with her husband and three kids in the snowy mountains of Wyoming, where she spends most of her time reading, writing, and hanging out with her family.
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