Rummanah Aasi
 Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Review: Burn Our Bodies Down had an intriguing and suspenseful plot, but I found it to be too convoluted and the surprise ending did not pay off. Margot Nielsen knows nothing of her family history and she is tired of living in the dark. She has a strained and unhealthy relationship with her cagey mother who is emotionally distant, manipulative, and has a strange set of rules. When a clue about their family history surfaces, Margot follows it despite several dangers that suggest otherwise. She finds the grandmother her mother never wanted her to know living on the family homestead in an economically depressed town where the Nielsen name seems to be shrouded in a cloud of suspicion that inspires trepidation among locals. Despite ominous foreshadowing, Margot still longs to find in her stoic grandmother, Vera, the love and connection that have been withheld from her. Their relationship is quickly complicated by a fire on the farm that results in the death of a girl with an uncanny physical resemblance to Margot—and whose existence her grandmother refuses to explain. 
     Powers creates a great, creepy ambiance in her work, but it also unfortunately interferes with her character development and created plot holes that readers are forced to accept and move along. Lots of questions begin to pile up but the answer are too pat for this book that wants to straddle the genre lines of thriller, speculative fiction, and horror. The plot's pace is also inconsistent as the creepy moments happen too close together and the unsatisfying solutions lag quite far behind. While I may not be the right reader for Burn Our Bodies Down, readers who are looking for a unique story line may be intrigued to pick it up. Though this one is a miss for me, I am still interested to see what Powers does next. 

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge, What We Buried by Kate Boorman
1 Response
  1. Yikes! 2 stars. I am impressed that you kept reading all the way through.

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