In Alsever’s debut and young adult trilogy launch, a Colorado high school senior realizes the utopia she’s found may in actuality be an inescapable nightmare.
Since her parents’ fatal car accident, Ember Trouvé has become a loner. She avoids social interaction and has even distanced herself from her bestie, Maddie. Ember happens to find a peculiar coin someone has apparently dropped. On the coin is written Trinity Forest, a place swirling with rumors of hauntings and witchcraft. The coin also bears a pyramid akin to the one adorning the cover of her late mother’s “Crazy Woman Notebook.” Ember feels obliged to visit Trinity Forest, populated primarily by teenagers. They welcome, feed, and clothe her in their mansion. When Ember returns home later that day, she learns she’s been missing for a month. But no one in her hometown is especially welcoming, so Ember heads back to the forest. Unfortunately, her second stay is rife with shocking revelations; for example, someone claiming they’ve been in Trinity Forest for decades looks like a teenager. Ember decides she wants to leave for good, but it’s quickly evident that getting out of Trinity Forest may be impossible. Ember is a fascinating protagonist. She, for one, blames herself for her parents’ deaths (details initially remain a mystery) and has synesthesia; she sees music as colors. Though she begins as a sullen teen, the character evolves as she sees the downside of isolating herself from loved ones. Alsever accommodates Ember’s synesthesia with colorful prose that ignites other senses as well. A dehydrated Ember sees images of a “rushing cool stream. Pools of water. Tall clear pitchers of it with floating ice cubes.” Although this book makes it clear what’s happening in Trinity Forest, there are still lingering questions by the end and plenty of reasons for readers to seek out Book 2.
An absorbing, stellar series introduction with elements of fantasy and horror.