Book Review – Pages of Eden

Day 1 of the Embers Blog Tour with Random Things Tours organised by Anne Cater. First up is a review by Pages of Eden @HaslamEden on Twitter

I will admit that I don’t know if authors commonly share reviews of their books that aren’t 4 or 5 stars on their blogs or social media links, but personally I believe these reviews have important take homes for us, pointing out our strengths and areas of improvement. Embers is my first book and only the very beginning of my writing career, and seeing how it is received is showing me what steps to take make my second book even better.

Reating: 3.5 / 5

Review: My favourite thing about this book was Ellen and Simon’s relationship. It could have easily become gimmicky or stereotypical, especially with the representation of neurodiversity, but instead their sibling relationship was strong and caring. It was nice to see how they balanced each other out – Ellen helping Simon navigate social situations and Simon pushing Ellen out of her comfort zone with his insistence on solving the crime. Also, it was good to see teenage characters being more than simply moody and dramatic.

However, because of Ellen and Simon’s ages, some parts of the story felt unrealistic, such as them being sent on holiday on their own, which takes you out of the atmosphere.

The sense of place is so important to this story and the description of the location and culture was very well done. I could really imagine the places Ellen and Simon were and loved learned about Sami culture through their eyes. Addressing a mystery alongside discussions of aboriginal cultures and heritage added another layer to the story which made it interesting to read.

Personally, I found the ending a little convoluted and the motive felt weak. There were so many different components that it is hard to pinpoint exactly why the character did the things they did, even though an explanation is attempted. That said however, the mystery surrounding the reindeers and its relation to Sami culture and the townspeople’s history was really interesting. Some of the descriptions were a little graphic, so this may not be the one to read if you hate reading about animal violence, but the link between past and present is well explored.

Recommend: Mixing mystery with culture and heritage makes for an interesting read, though not if you don’t like animal violence. Especially worth reading if you enjoy teenagers taking on the role of detectives, especially since this book offers more than a typical YA story.

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