The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

The Twisted TreeThe Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No bullet can stop the dead

Martha is on her way to Mormor’s house. Her parents don’t know what she’s doing, they don’t know that she’s finding her own way to Skjebne so that maybe she can finally learn some truths about the strange ability she’s obtained since the loss of her left eye. The ability to glean emotions from people’s clothing. At first she thought she was crazy, but then it kept happening, now, she just wants to know the truth. She tried writing letters, though she never received replies. Now the only option she has left is to go to Skjebne and confront her grandmother alone, as her mother would never let her go and she wouldn’t take her even if she begged. No, this is the only way. What follows is a coming of age story of sorts, about a 17 year old girl learning the truth about her family, her heritage and herself. Thrown into a situation that no one in their right mind would believe, she has no choice but to battle through, but is she strong enough?

I’d read the blurb for this book, and I had read a few reviews as well, and all I knew is that I NEEDED IT!!! Not only does this book centre greatly around Norse mythology, which in my eyes is just a winner in itself, it also has a very creepy feel to it, who doesn’t like to be creeped out a bit by a book? Come on, tell the truth, I know you love it just as much as me. Burge manages to blend the two themes flawlessly and I’m absolutely shattered that it ended so soon.

Martha’s ability to glean emotions from a person’s clothing is just brilliant. It makes me think of psychometry, but a bit different, which is just awesome. Imagine being able to tell how a person feels about you, or something that you’ve said, or a certain situation, just by grabbing hold of their jacket. I believe it would be a lot like the age old question of “if you could read minds, would you want to.” Being able to know the truths to everything may seem like an amazing ability, but in the end, it could also make one become incredibly reclusive and afraid as they’ve been hurt by too many truths before. So the way that Martha deals with this ability is spot on in my books. Not wanting to brush up against strangers because she just can’t handle the barrage of feelings at any given time is completely how I believe most of us would be if we possessed such an ability.

The way that Martha went about travelling to Skjebne, to me, seemed totally plausible. At no time was I sitting there going “come on now, that would NEVER happen like that.” Burge has a way of injecting a sense of reality into her writing which is just phenomenal. Even the supernatural parts of the story had such a sense of truth to them which enabled me to become completely immersed in the story and the world that she created.

Stig. Oh my, Stig. How I love you. What a fantastic character!! I love how caring and honest he was. I loved that he saw Martha for who she really was. I love their budding romance. I just love everything about him and I am a little disappointed because once I finished the story, I had SO many questions pertaining to Stig himself. What really happened with Nina? Yes we get confirmation of something, but WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?!?! And what happened when he went to Oslo? Why did he REALLY leave and wind up at Skjebne? Did he come back? Did he do what he said he would?

And to add to more questions, did Martha and her mother stay in Skjebne? Did they do the things they said they would? That they wanted to do? I NEED TO FREAKING KNOW!!! Normally I would probably rate down by half a star if I was left with so many unanswered questions, but I felt that in this instance, it was just such a well rounded story that I was (kind of) okay being left with these questions. Yes, I’m dying for answers here, but I wonder if they could have possibly added anything more to the story at all? Or are we better left imagining for ourselves what became of these wonderful characters? I feel like it’s the latter.

The story itself was just freaking amazing. The detail that Burge included about certain elements of Norse Mythology was just done brilliantly. The inclusion of Draugr was just awesome and I loved how creeped out I felt at times. I don’t feel that Burge did anything spectacular when it came to her writing style, or her descriptions, but I just felt like I was actually THERE. Like the draugr was breathing down my neck and I could hear the claws scrabbling. All of it was just so immersive.

All in all, this novella was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Norse mythology and doesn’t mind being creeped out a bit by a book. Seriously, do yourself a favour and read the damn book! Come on, it’s only 180 pages long 🙂

View all my reviews

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tasha Leigh says:

    I love that you loved this! It’s one of my favourite books of last year. It’s really punchy for such a short length!


    1. Jess Smith says:

      I was hooked from the word go!! I completely agree, it’s so impactful for such a short story, I wish it were longer, but I feel like it’s perfect how it is.

      Liked by 1 person

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