ARC Review: The Whispering of Trees by C.Y Bourgeois

12:30 PM

The Whispering of Trees
by C.Y Bourgeois
E-book edition, 316 pages
Published April 23rd, 2016 by Black Rose Writing

Aggie Ksisak longs to be a normal teenager, but her coming of age includes a legacy as the most powerful Inupiat Eskimo shaman in history.

Aggie embraces her heritage until a powerful demon spirit invades her dreams, threatening to destroy her and everyone she loves. Despite her overwhelming fear, she soon realizes she cannot reject her calling. Then her family falters, a close friend turns on her, and the demon reappears. She staggers, but recovers until soon after her sixteenth birthday when something unspeakable shatters her world.

Filled with self-loathing and poised on the brink of death, the young shaman must dig deep to embrace her powerful birthright and reclaim her magic. But, even if she succeeds, will it be enough to save her?

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

So.... I was so excited to review this book because this is my first time receiving an ARC from NetGalley, and the description sounds really awesome. I mean, some sort of Eskimo tribe magic? Sign me up! I was expecting something like Brother Bear or Pocahontas (I know they're Indian, but I mean I was expecting those kind of magic, shaman, old wise people, elders, etc). Well if you're putting this book on your tbr because of that aspect, then prepare to be dissapointed. (Also it's going to be a long review so prepare your popcorn)

The problem with this book is it tries to cover so many problems. I think it's better to write 2 different books, contemporary OR fantasy. It's like the author googles "what problems are usually in a book" and use all of them. Let me list it for you: depression, suicide, pedophile, rape, disfunctional family, magic, romance, cancer, bitchy friends, deaths, teen pregnancy, birth defects, and religion. It makes this book unecessarily long and seemed unfocused. I guess this book should've been a contemporary? I was 50% into the book and the most magic we have is rattling trees and swirling gold in Aggie eyes.

The writing style was also not my favorite. I got the impressions that this is a MG book, because of the cover and the synopsis but apparently our character is 15 going on 16?? Which also confuses me because the story feels juvenile for me, and the characters are really really immature.

"You hurt me. I don't know what you did to me, but you hurt me because I wanted your stupid cats. You hurt me on purpose and I'm telling my dad."

I mean, what kind of 15/16-yo girl that fight and then threatened "to tell her dad"?

It also overly detailed, does the author tried to incorporate purple prose in this book too? There are a lot of descriptions that could be cut off.

As they watched the helpless babies, tears welled in Aggie's eyes. "Somebody threw these babies away like they were garbage." One shiny orb overflowed and trickled down her cheek.

Okay, I don't think you need to describe tears in that way? Also since Aggie cries a lot in this book, we get a lot of "tears/orb trickled/rolling down" her face thing, which is not necessary. I know how crying looks like thanks.

"Okay. Say hello to Jackie and Sakari", Sonja smiled in her direction then turned back to the show flickering on their big 60-inch flat screen.

I'm sorry but I don't see the relevance of how big her tv is to the story. Also the description definitely doesn't fit her family condition. (her mom work in a library and her father is unemployed but they could afford 60 inch flat screen?)

It also tries to be hip and cool by incorporating texting slangs, social media (PeoplePlace) that's basically facebook, and swearing. And lastly, it doesn't focused on Aggie only. We get insight of Sonja hanging out with her friends, Bishop and Billy talk, the teacher talks, and worse, seeing John and Sonja, Billy and his wife, and Mr, Dennings and his wife PDA-ing. No, I don't want to see parents PDA-ing and the warmth and giggles and the FEELINGS that spread between them. It's really unrelevant to the story.

Each chapter is really short, but nothing happened really since like I said, this book has too many things going on and it took a lot of set up, so the pacing is crawling. I'm 50% in and I'm waiting for something big to happened and when it does happened it MAKES ME SO MAD. I literally cried because I just WHY. After all this problems you had in this book and set up you really have to add more issues?? I also think that was the point I actually considered dnf ing this book for real.

The so-called magic is useless in general. Does it heal or do anything? No. The whole "you can't help people unless they want to be helped" really makes me mad. Well then, I'll just go to normal psychiatrist or doctor then. It works the same way, doesn't it? If the magic element is deleted from the book, it would be a decent read.

I think I would enjoy the romance, because it's written as one of my favorite tropes, but the execution is just NO. The way she acted whenever the love interest do something is just ridiculous. Easily blushed, "jelly legs" and so on. It makes me cringe and wonder why does the romance exists in the first place.

Now, let me point out the thing I disliked in details. Beware of spoilers, and as usual, highlight to see the content.
  1. Why Aggie's father be unemployed out of nowhere? At the beginning they're one big happy family and then suddenly the story shows that Aggie's father is a drunk unemployed. There's totally no mention that he was fired or anything before.
  2. Jane. What the hell was her problem? From the beginning she's being a huge bitch. And can't Aggie see that Jane doesn't actually consider her as her friends? Friends don't treat each other like that. And after Jane found out Aggie has been gossiping about her she goes "jane will come around". Gurl, how dumb could you be? If I asked you to help my brother, and then he died, my family fell apart at his funeral, and I caught you telling people about my family business, I would not, at any moment, come back to you. Screw you. My brother's death might not be your fault, but YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT MY FAMILY PROBLEMS.
  3. The rape scene. WHY DID SHE GET OUT OF HER FUCKING ROOM? Why did she acted brave and then can't defend herself? And why doesn't she ask for help? Yes she was threatened, but I think she's a tough girl, she could handle uncle pervie? HA. (I'm sorry but at this point I lost all the care I had left for Aggie) I know, it's her house and she could go anywhere she wants, but have some sense ffs. I mean, can't she just tell her mother??? I literally cried not because I feel bad, but because I'm so pissed.
  4. Also, if I am Sonja, I'd left John since God knows when. Inviting his pedophile brother to live with his family even though he has a daughter is a BIG NO. Refusing to find a job and drink all the time, embarassing her daughter birthday party, and just being a useless shit in general. NOPE.
  5. The ending. Marriage? Really? They're only 16/17. It's a rash decision, and just ridiculous. Also, are those people really smart or what? Aggie's grades was horrible during the whole ordeal, and yet she get into Harvard. Jackie to Julliard, and other characters to other famous uni. Just be realistic, it's not that easy to get to those university. So yeah, another ridiculous thing. 

In conclusion, I'm very very dissapointed. I was expecting for magic, but it was barely exists and instead I got this whole mess. From what I read, the magic element is an analogy for religion/consience. This book has too much going on, and instead of following one single plot, it keeps adding more and more issues. It's an okay coming of age read, but the whole mess and experience really left a bad impressions for me. If only the (sorry!) useless magical element erased, I would enjoy the story more.

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  1. Ahhh I'm sorry this didn't work for you, Tasya. It definitely sounded like it had an interesting premise. It's really frustrating when the author tries to cover TOO much in one single book. It makes the book dramatic and not as impactful.
    Also that last spoiler. NOPE.
    Sorry this didn't work for you, Tasya! :( I hope your next read is better!
    Great review!

    1. I agree! It's just unfocused and the message isn't clear enough. Thank you!

  2. That’s the problem of over saturating the plot; with that many conflicts, resolving them will be difficult, or if by some miracle managed to do so, it’ll be definitely underwhelming. I think the concept is intriguing but based on your review (not that I’m reading book nowadays) I think I’ll pass. ^^;

    1. I defintely feel like that while reading. So many issues I'm really confused how the author would wrap the story...


    But second, I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy this one! You listed all the problems the book had to deal with and I was like "whOOAAA THERE" :o So much was going on! The characters seem absolutely ridiculous and juvenile, especially with the way they act.

    AND IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY THAT THEY GOT INTO THOSE TOP COLLEGES. LIKE PUH-LEASE author you KNOW how absolutely hard it is to get into those? At least make it realistic :| But no.

    Ughhh I'm sorry you had such a tough time with this one. Props for you to sticking out until the end! Hope your next read was better.

    - Aila @ Happy Indulgence

    1. THANK YOU AILA! *hugs* I know right? I was hoping the author would stop at some point but the problems keep coming *sighs* YES, I work really hard at school to get good grades, get into clubs, and etc, but other than that, the competition is SUPER TIGHT. It really pisses me off. Thank you again Aila!<3


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2016 Reading Challenge

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Tasya has read 2 books toward her goal of 70 books.