Saturday, 7 April 2012
Book Review: Ember by Madison Daniel
This is 'Ember' ...
Author Madison Daniel takes us on a journey with 'Ember', a novel walking the fine line between romantic intent, just hint of mystery, and of course, a thickening plot encompassing supernatural elements and believable action sequences.
Max Valentine is the focus of this story, a seemingly confident protagonist with a seriously troubled past. Tragedy now defines him, burns within, but sends him packing to the Hawaiian Islands and into the comfort of his favourite uncle's welcoming home as refuge.
A secret long understood by the family is what consumes Max's soul. Driven by the past, Max is determined to start fresh, begin at a new school, and make new friends in the hopes they don't turn from him in fear of his special ... gifts.
A chance encounter with the mysterious Asia, a dark haired beauty with a secret of her own turns Max's newly established world upside down. Fire and water collide, a seemingly clear case of opposites attract, but is Asia's beauty and her enigmatic presence enough to heal the hurt in Max's soul or will the beautiful and sweet-natured Samantha, the girl next door and newest acquaintance in the school yard, be the one to fill the hole in Max's heart?
I know which team I'm backing, who will you choose?
As the tangled web of deceit and the natural eruption of overly intense emotions unfold, love, lust, and friendship lines become blurred. Jealousy rears its ugly head and a progression towards violence coupled with the hot heads of youth explode in a fireball of intense heat. The violence is ugly and real, and fought on the grounds of nothing less than the proclamation of intent. In the end will Max choose the cooling waters of Asia or the comfort of familiarity in Samantha? Or will he stoke the burning embers within and unleash his darkest nature to pursue the passing satisfaction of revenge?
Ember is a clearly written novel with consistent characterisation. The dialogue is concise and not over done - in keeping with the often intense and overly inflated emotions of teenagers. And with this, Madison Daniel opens a window into the male psyche, exploring the deeper feelings of the male point of view which more often than not remain a mystery to the female counter part. In this novel I could feel the character's angst, though I found myself cringing on more than one occasion, wondering when the hell Max Valentine was going to get slapped upside the head from one of his female pursuits.
Putting the love triangle to the side, I loved the injection of music into the writing. Every chapter had a certain feel to it, reflected in the song that defined it and also by each character's actions or emotions. In some instances if I didn't know the song, I would look it up and get the vibe for the chapter and the author's intent.
Overall I enjoyed the book, though essentially 'Ember' is an emotionally charged and confusing addiction to salvaging a damaged heart. The plot is peppered with the expected school parties, bullies and ensuing fights. But the supernatural element takes the story up a notch and adds an element not based on popularity contests, the quest for power, or the often over-inflated use of abilities to impress readers. The sedate touch of power had meaning in its ties to Max's past and the final few chapters explored this cleverly, leaving you wanting answers and just a little bit more. I rate this book three out of five stars, knowing that my score will probably increase as the series continues and hopefully quenches my thirst for more answers than questions.
Synopsis: A touch of fire. A lost soul to darkness. A longing to change the past. Max Valentine is 18, alone and has the power of a thousands suns at his fingertips. The crush of love will haunt him. The promise of normalcy will elude him. With a song in his heart and a guitar in his hand, he will discover the painful truth ... love never dies but it can kill.