It all started with Lo, who was told about an ancient ritual that could relieve her burden and the burdens of four others. Lo, who’s aunt died of MS and is starting to show symptoms. She recruits Kit, who’s afraid of death even since his girlfriend died; Kaya, who can’t feel pain due to her CIP; Thomas, an orphan and former child soldier plagued by memories; and Ellen, too lost in her haze of drugs to feel anything real. It doesn’t seem like the ritual works, until the next morning when they each wake up with their burden gone, and a new one having replaced it.
I absolutely loved the concept of this book. There was the ‘grass isn’t always greener’ lesson that so many people have to learn(sometimes more than once) in their lives but there was also the lesson of everyone’s pain should count, it shouldn’t be dismissed just because someone else has it worse. And it left a very good question in: if you could get rid of your burden for a week but had to take on someone else’s, would you?
The whole book was told from Lo’s POV. We stayed with her as she struggled to cope with the emerging symptoms of MS, her desperation to find four others for the ritual, her fear as she realized what the ritual had done. Her growth through the book was great to see and I loved how much she cared about her friends. She wanted to ritual to work not only for her, but for them all. She wanted them all to be okay.
I do wish we had gotten to spend a little more time with the other characters before the ritual to get a better sense of how their burdens were affecting them and who they were as people. And being restricted to Lo’s POV, we only saw them after the ritual when she was with them. Though they each managed to show growth and it was really interesting to see how each character dealt with their new burden, and what they eventually came to realize about their past burden. But it did feel like seeing everything from Lo’s POV lessened the impact of the other characters’ lessons.
The book started out with a very interesting and high stakes first chapter and then flashed back to a little over a week prior. Almost the whole book was set within that week. It was very character driven, the plot was centered around their growth in the week between the rituals. It wasn’t a long book, under 300 pages, and was a surprisingly fast read even though it dealt with a lot of issues.
Even though it was a short read, it still made me think and left an impact.