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Rachel Burge

Autor(a) de The Twisted Tree

3 Works 188 Membros 9 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Rachel Burge (author)


Obras de Rachel Burge

The Twisted Tree (2018) 124 cópias, 6 resenhas
Waking the Witch (2022) 36 cópias, 3 resenhas


Conhecimento Comum




A fantasy novel which I realised only a little way in must be aimed at the YA market and I'm sure would be loved by that readership. I liked it overall but had some reservations.

The beginning was set in a butterfly zoo where Ivy, a girl who has been brought up in care and foster homes since being abandoned as a baby, loves working, apart from her totally creepy boss. Ivy is having a crisis because she has been trying to track down her birth mother, and receives a call at work from her mother, telling her she is in danger and to run but to stay away from Bardsey island where her mother lives.

Soon afterwards, a customer acts peculiar, assaults her and she uses her karate skills to render him harmless, but the boss takes the customer's side and sacks her. His nephew, Tom, a laidback person, walks out with her in solidarity and agrees to drive her to the place on the Welsh coast where she can get a boat. But on the way, more weird things start to happen and tension really racks up when they manage to reach the island.

I liked the description of the witches who reminded me of those in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials series, Morgan in particular, and the vivid and grubby way they are described, logical given their shape-shifting and the form they take on. The demonic forces that pursue Ivy and Tom are creepy. There are some good descriptive passages and the island is evoked quite atmospherically. But there were a number of aspects I wasn't so keen on.

The initial setting in the butterfly zoo is made much of and is then dropped. Given that one of the strange things that happen before Ivy is assaulted is the circling over her head of Deaths Head Moths, it seemed that butterflies, moths and caterpillars would be central to the unfolding mystery but they do not feature at all, producing a disconnect between the earlier part of the book and later events. It might have made more sense to have her work in a bird house in view of what transpires.

Her boss at the zoo is abusive/a sexual predator, but the character is subsequently dropped. The theme is developed in more depth with another character later, but this makes the first man's behaviour seem even more unnecessary. Only if he'd come after Ivy and Tom would it have made sense to make him an abuser - he could just be a pompous, unpleasant man who sacks her. His dual role would only really be justified by linking him to the abusive character she encounters on the island who, after all, has sent hostile forces after her. As it is, Ivy had enough issues from her upbringing to make this seem overkill.

I didn't think the romance which develops was necessary. It would have been nice for a change to have two characters who remain good friends. That wouldn't preclude them taking risks for each other.

Another plot element is made much of but is soon dropped. Tom was supposedly desperate to get back to somewhere on the mainland to pursue funding for a computer game he was developing. He was worried about leaving his stuff in his car (the boat that they take is only small). He ends up stranded - and it's not clear how he's going to get back at the end given what occurred with the boatman. Yet this element just disappears and he seems to forget it completely.

I wasn't sure about the mix-up Ivy's mother makes with the witches. I won't say any more on that to avoid spoilers but I think there was enough of a real threat to avoid muddying the water.

I found it difficult to relate to Ivy because she is such an emotionally bottled up character though I realise from the plot development it is an essential element of the story. But it made her rather a pain at times.

The Arthurian aspect is spurious. It could be any wizard who goes over to the dark side and the witches don't have to be headed up by a main character from Arthurian legend either, because they don't particularly connect to those characters. Similarly, the island could be any made-up island. The chants used are either Latin or made up, rather than in Welsh, which was a lost opportunity because, as it stands, the story lacks an authentic sense of Wales and Welsh culture.

There are a few references to the man who wrote to Ivy telling her where her mum was, enabling her to write to her in the first place. But the identity of this man is never revealed, or Ivy's father for that matter. It just adds to the impression of loose ends that are never resolved. I'm also not a great fan of books that end on cliff-hangers but it became obvious in the last few pages that the story wasn't going to be wrapped up. And I found the present tense first person narrative rather odd.

I quite enjoyed the book despite all this but wouldn't rate it higher than a 3 star rating.
… (mais)
kitsune_reader | outras 2 resenhas | Nov 23, 2023 |
Love love love
gabbxoo | outras 5 resenhas | Dec 18, 2022 |
Reading the blurb for The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge and finding out the main character Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, I was immediately sold.

Discovering this is a young adult debut and part ghost story set in Norway based on ancient Norse mythology was a bonus.

Regular Carpe Librum followers will no doubt have noticed that I don't read much YA at all, but The Twisted Tree reminded me that I still enjoy the odd title every now and again.

Martha is partially blinded in an accident and has run away from home. She travels to Norway seeking answers from her grandmother, desperately hoping she can explain her strange ability to discern memories and emotions just from touching a person's clothes.

"Mum had bought the blouse a few days ago, and it was the first time I'd touched silk. I know from going through her wardrobe that different types of fabric reveal their secrets differently - cashmere holds a person's emotions and makes you feel them like your own; cotton shows images and facts without feeling - but silk is like nothing else. It speaks of deceit." Page 19

Complete with a creepy gothic cover design and easy to read YA thriller building from the opening pages, The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge was a pleasure to read.

Martha is struggling to come to terms with her changed appearance since the incident that left her blind in one eye, and there is a subtle budding hint of romance that takes place during all of the spooky thrilling action.

The Twisted Tree is the first in a series to feature Martha, and the next one is called The Crooked Mask and was published in 2020. The Crooked Mask continues the story of the two main characters, but I think I'm happy to leave them here, fully satisfied that I finally read this book, after adding it my list back in November 2018.

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge is a great choice for October reading, providing some scary and spooktacular moments and a super creepy tree.
… (mais)
Carpe_Librum | outras 5 resenhas | Sep 9, 2022 |
The cover of this book promises something frightening and the book delivers in spades.
Opening in a butterfly centre the action starts right from the off. Ivy is a sympathetic heroine, with a sad background, who likes people and works hard.
The writing style is fast paced and there is something happening all the time which makes it a real page turner.
We gradually learn more about Ivy, her friend Tom, and eventually where the witches come into the tale.
The latter part of the book delves into Ivy's mindset and draws out interesting interpretations of her behaviour which are both believable and explain why she has so much difficulty "waking the witch".
The narrative is vivid and engaging, making the story so easy to see in my mind's eye. My sympathy for Ivy grew at each turn and although the minor characters are only sketched in, in terms of character, Ivy, Tom and the witches had bags of personality and guts.
… (mais)
Chomo | outras 2 resenhas | Aug 24, 2022 |

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½ 3.5

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