The Twisted Tree

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Not really one for me. I didn't dislike it, but it didn't quite capture my attention as I hoped it would.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fairly interesting book. I liked the mythology that was used as it's not very often you get to read about this type of mythology
Was this review helpful?
This book was really cool, I loved how it built up the mystery about why things were happening and loved how it eneded 

I liked the characters but felt like something was missing from the book to bring it all together in a better way, i just can't quite put my finger on what
Was this review helpful?
DNF 51%

I really wanted to love this book. From the second I saw it on NetGalley I craved it.

I loved the cover art and the description and was desperate to get a copy. Finally, NetGalley granted me an e-ARC and I was so stoked. I read the first chapter and… yeah.

I went back to it two weeks later and read more. Then a few days after that and read a bit more. Then I started over from the beginning and got to 51% before I put it down.

I just couldn’t engage with it at all.

The basic premise is Martha had an accident and now she can tell things about a person by touching their clothes. She goes to visit her Grandmother to see if she can help, only to discover that her grandmother is dead and a strange boy is living in her house. A creature is on the loose, odd things are happening and everyone has a secret.

It was supposed to be part Nordic thriller and part ghost story but, to be honest, I got halfway through and never really started to feel any kind of threat or foreboding. The links between Martha and her ancestors are just laid out there without any foreshadowing and so it falls kind of flat for me.

Perhaps a younger audience would be better for this story but it just wasn’t for me.
Was this review helpful?
-- I received a free review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for this opportunity! --

This book really surprised me, and I wish it had been longer (which is why I only gave it 4 rather than 5 stars). Seventeen-year-old Martha flees from her overwhelming life in England to go visit her grandmother on a Norwegian island, only to discover that she finds more questions rather than the answers she was hoping for. Together with fellow runaway Stig, she starts unraveling the mysteries around her family, Norse mythology, and herself, taking many unexpected turns. 
Rachel Burge does an excellent job evoking atmosphere and gripping the reader while mainly telling a story set with two characters and a dog in a cottage, and I am looking forward to reading more of her writing in the future!
Was this review helpful?
I love a good dark tale. That was def dark and good.
This is my fav quote
“You write the story of you every day with your thoughts, words and deeds. You create yourself. You get to decide your story. No one else. You.”
Was this review helpful?
This book was very creepy and so atmospheric! It tells the story of Martha who can tell things about people just by touching their clothes which all started when she fell out of a creepy tree at her grandmas remote house in Norway.  She makes the trip there to investigate; only to find out her grandma has died and finds a mysterious boy living in the cabin.

The Twisted Tree combines mystery thriller elements perfectly with mythology to deliver a captivating story from beginning to end.
Was this review helpful?
A well written 'young adult' book I can see equally appealing to both teens and adults. It had a skilful build from teen contemporary fiction to horror with a lovely dash of norse mythology (and also reminded me a bit of a couple of scenes from the film 'Pan's Labyrinth') . Despite already reading about four books before this with a strong nordic flavour I still really enjoyed this and would read further novels by Rachel Burge. 

(ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Was this review helpful?
The Twisted Tree is super short, but it’s such a good book. Creepy in all the right way. I felt that there’s an almost poetical prose, and I couldn’t get enough. I loved the writing style so much, I could picture the world, see the darkness, feel the cold… Everything I want to feel when getting lost in a world similar to our own.

I liked the characters, mostly. The MC, Martha, irritated me once or twice, but that’s probably due to my age, and not Rachel’s writing. I found she could be a little bratty is all. My biggest issue with this book, being short the ‘romance’ was rushed. I found it a little forced and don’t feel it added anything to the plot.

I liked the inclusion of the native language, and the fact that Martha only knows some, but enough to get by, having spent summers there in the past. It made her feel that little bit more realistic, that she didn’t suddenly know a language she’d only needed to know bits of previously.

The plot was interesting, and followed a few tropes, but Rachel did it in such a way it worked.

I really enjoyed this book and have given it 4/5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free ebook version of this from Netgalley. Thankyou to both the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read this. My review is still honest!

I have mixed feelings about this one. It's impressive for a debut novel, and something different, but it does have it's issues. I'm not actually going to provide a synopsis for this one as 1. It's a complex little book to summarise, and 2.I think this works way better with no prior knowledge, but in short, it's a YA horror/fantasy/thriller/paranormal set in remote Norway with a mysterious family history and a really creepy old tree.
I think where this book really excels is in the creepy elements. Burge really has a gift for atmosphere and creating a scene which you can visualise so fully. I would love to see a pure horror novel from her actually, as few authors can scare and give me chills as much as this one did. I liked the incorporation of mythology, particularly aspects that I hadn't seen included in a book before. I enjoyed the character development that the main character went through, as she learned to be happy with herself, and I liked that a romance wasn't the reason that she did so. It was a cute little romance too, with a different love interest. I think that's overall what I can say about this-it was different. It's a YA book that feels set apart from a lot of the ones I've read lately.
On a negative note, I think that this book could have been more engaging. It was a little hard to get into, and I only actually finished this on my second attempt. These issues did diminish as the book went on, but it was a slow beginning for such a short book. I was also disappointed that right at the very end, we're talking 95% in, some plot twists were thrown in and weren't resolved by the end, with no sequel being confirmed. It felt unnecessary and inconsistent.
On the whole though, I'm impressed with this for a debut author and will check out more of Burge's work.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately I felt like although book had potential I did not personally like the execution of it. I felt the book was slow paced, none of the characters were interesting and the romance was cringe. I did like bit linking to the main character's ancestry/mythical part however I felt it was kind of pushed to the side to focus on the romance.
Was this review helpful?
A fantastically different and incredibly well-written book. Rachel Burge has a real talent for writing and capturing the moment, making you want to keep on reading. This book definitely had me saying "just one more page" and "just one more chapter" multiple times. I can't wait to see what she does next!
Was this review helpful?
Wow this book was so genuinely creepy and spooktastic it was very nearly a five star read for me. I loved the mix of ghost story, monster in the woods and Norse mythology. It had everything I look for when I want to scare myself witless. The writing was wonderful, atmospheric and full of tension and suspense. The one and only thing that let it down for me was that ending. It wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to the expectations the author had built up in me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent Teen/YA Nordic thriller with more than a thread of Norse Mythology

After an accident where she lost an eye, Martha has discovered that she can ‘understand’ things about people just by touching their clothing . Emotions and thoughts entwined into their fabric. A gift or a curse? 

From her home in London, she sets off to visit her grandmother in Norway who may be able to help. However, she is dead and now Martha is all alone in a shack in Norway, or is she? 

I requested this book in error, but I’m grateful for the mistake.This is a terrific Teen/YA ghost story full of scares, twists and the supernatural.

I’m a sucker for Norse mythology and it runs throughout the book without dominating it. For full enjoyment it does help to have some knowledge of the Norse myths, but it's not essential. 

Martha is a brilliant character. Full of teenage angst but also having to deal with disfigurement, the loss of a loved one and something evil lurking in the dark. Oh and, of course, young love. 

While she attempts to find herself amongst all this, she finds that with the death of her grandmother, she now has the burden of maintaining the legendary Norse Tree of Life, 'Yggdrasil'.
Accompanying her in this task is a teenage boy called Stig, who is found taking shelter in her dead Grandmothers cabin. A lovely relationship blossoms between the two of them, but you are never sure if Stig is all he appears to be, as they fight the evil all around them unleashed from the Tree.

I thought that the idea of a magical ability which made Martha able to see a person's past, and reveal their different emotions, by simply touching items of their clothing, was inspired.

The threat is dark and menacing and made very real. There are some really quite unsettling moments to send a shiver down your spine. The setting, on a small snow filled island off Norway, adds to a moody, suitably creepy, tense atmosphere.

The end of the book was a little rushed and perhaps a little predictable, but didn’t detract from this being an excellent read. 
Fast paced, tense and eerie. A proper page turner which I read in a couple of sittings. 
Highly recommended for a nice, quick, spooky read.
Was this review helpful?
Martha can read people's emotions just by touching their clothes. She has been able to since the accident, where she became blind in one eye. To find out how to deal with her ability she decides to visit her grandmother in Norway, where the accident took place. But her grandmother is dead & someone else is living in her house!

I really like how Martha's ability is described and the straight to the point conversational writing, with great picturesque flourishes. This story has you continuously guessing with its eerie intrigue and keeps you turning the pages. Evenly paced, there is no rush to the narrative, creating the spooky atmosphere as promised. With that menacing twisted tree in the middle of it all and elements of a dark myth/fairy tale.

A sense of foreboding envelopes you as things get weirder and weirder. But there is also cute feels from Martha and some of her encounters. When it needs to be suspenseful though, boy does it deliver.

I do believe the ending was a bit abrupt, but I still enjoyed the book.

Quite original with its Norwegian backdrop and elements of Nordic mythology, a tale that makes you wonder about the existence of fate.
Was this review helpful?
The Twisted Tree is about a girl named Martha who after an accident loses an eye, but gains the ability to read people's clothing. In trying to find to find out more she decides to go to visit her grandmother in Norway who she hopes will explain more. I thought the concept of reading the emotions of people by touching their clothes was fascinating, and unusual. the characters are well rounded and the Norwegian mythology weaved into the story was interesting and at times very creepy. I really liked the history of the women in the family and how it was up to the women to be strong and supportive of each other. I found myself continually questioning whether I trusted Stig and wasn't quite sure what to make of him, until the book came to an end. Overall I enjoyed the way the Norwegian winter landscape was described and the Norwegian folklore, as well as the strong bond between women, but I only wish that there was more of an explanation about the ability of touching clothes, and about Hel and the underworld, and maybe less romance between the characters that seemed to happen quite quickly.
Was this review helpful?
This is by far the creepiest book I've read in a while and it caught me off guard, I wasn't expecting it to be so paranormal but it was an extremely chilling read. The atmosphere was written so well and I regretted having this as my night-time read! It also features a lot of Norse mythology which was fun. Watching the relationship between Martha and the boy in the cabin 'Stig' evolve was really nice but it kept the thought in the back of my mind whether he could really be trusted or not, seeing as we don't really know him.

There is a certain part in the story that sets all hell loose and left me truly shocked and scared to continue reading (in a good way). The only criticism I have is that towards the end the writing seemed a bit messy and I found it hard to keep up with what was happening as it was so fast paced. Overall I would definitely recommend, especially to fans of YA horror/thrillers and Norse mythology. This was also a debut book which makes it that more impressive! I can't wait to read more by Rachel Burge in the future.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting book - part mythology, part ghost story, part romance. All parts were done very well, and integrated perfectly. The writing style was suitably mysterious when needed, with the details dished out gradually and with just the right pace. The characters and dialogue were realistic and believable, despite the magical aspects. Even the magical seemed like it could be entirely real. A very good read.
Was this review helpful?
Atmospheric, creepy and ultimately predictable, The Twisted Tree is like microwave mac and cheese--it does the trick just as you know it will, but it's not going to yield anything new. 

Rachel Burge's debut is hardly the first supernatural thriller to draw on mythology. Better books have taken inspiration from the larger-than-life figures of tradition, especially the Norse tradition, whose grim tales make for effective dark suspense. That said, The Twisted Tree weaves connections between lonely English teenager Martha and the old tales adeptly enough to keep average YA readers engaged.

The setting is chosen well and utilised to chilling effect. As you'd expect, the story takes place on a bleak island in the middle of nowhere, perfect for the ghosts to come out and play. At first I didn't realise Skjebne wasn't a real member of the Lofoten Islands, but created to carry the same name as the Old Norse for fate. An interesting detail with more than a touch of foreshadowing.

Martha's gift for psychometry through clothing I found quite original as far as superpowers go. By the end you'll have a primer on all the types of textile commonly found in clothing and the information she can read through them. Cashmere, for example, transmits a direct dose of its owner's emotions, while silk exposes their deceit.

Less original was the unnecessary romance subplot. I thought for a while that Rachel Bruge might go in the direction of making the love interest, whose name I can't actually remember (that tells you all you need to know about him), the villain. Sadly, the truth was much more boring, and we're left with another pitiable victim of instalove.

Overall, The Twisted Tree is a novella-sized read that gets the job done. Here's your quick supernatural fix. If you liked The Sacrifice Box or The Hazel Wood, this could be worth checking out.
Was this review helpful?
Martha has an unusual ability where she can read people from touching their clothes, as if their memories and emotions have been absorbed into the material. Her mother believes it is nonsense. In order to fully understand her ability, she sets off to visit her grandmother. When she gets there she discovers that Mormor is dead and she is left with so many unanswered questions. Strange and paranormal events start happening, and she realises her strange abilities are just the beginning.

It took me forever to read The Twisted Tree and not because I wasn’t enjoying it and not because it was a bad book (it isn’t!) but because I was in a huge reading slump which has lasted over a month. Despite this, I did enjoy reading The Twisted Tree and I enjoyed revisiting it for a little while when my mood fancied/allowed it.

I loved the Norse mythology aspect. It was really interesting as I’m not very knowledgeable on the topic but really loved the Norns and the creature and the Queen of the Underworld. I also really enjoyed the blend of the mythology and the thriller/supernatural aspect.

The Twisted Tree was well written, not because it was in-your-face-scary but it had this really great subtle eerie vibe to it, and the snowy Norweigan setting really added to that. That, and the mythology, is what kept fetching me back to it despite the horrible slump I was in. I did enjoy Martha as a character, but she wasn’t really the highlight of the book for me. The romance was also not my favourite part but far from terrible! Overall, I did really enjoy the story and the mythology.
Was this review helpful?