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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Burning Glass By Kathryn Purdie
Series: Burning Glass #1
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 512
Genre: Fantasy

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.  Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.  As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.  BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.
 *An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

512 pages. 512 pages. 512 PAGES.

  To put this number in perspective: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is 435 and it tells the year of a boy in magic school, an analysis of depression, the backstory of the world plus a redemption story.  Burning Glass does not do any of this yet still was an extra 77 pages.
Another number to keep in perspective: 29 people die. That's more than The Hunger Games. With such a high death toll one would hope that the book would have rich battle scenes, striking imagery or moving characters who shatter the heart with their last breath.

  Or not...

  512 pages of love story, emotions and crying.

  This is a book is a retelling of the Russian Revolution with empaths.  This was a war that changed the fate of a country along with an interesting magical aspect and the main thing that pushes the plot is a love triangle. I will admit that male members of this love triangle have more depth than usual but I spent most of this book with my eyes glazed over as the wishy-washy Sonya battled her emotions between the two of them.  I wanted to slap her.  She doesn't stick to any of her convictions or realizations, literally anyone could make Sonya change her mind.  Which is great for a book that talks about an ideological revolution. Also, Sonya and her kind are called auraseers but they can't see auras. Sonya can feel others emotions.  Why is she called an auraseer if she can't see the aura?

Purdie does address some ideas on self-harm in Burning Glass, as it is a method that the auraseers use to get release from the constant pressing of others emotions.  This was kind of interesting but it's more of a footnote, although if you find mention of self-harm triggering, I do not recommend this at all.  I mean I don't recommend this book at all to begin with, but especially if you find certain things triggering. And speaking of triggering, Burning Glass shows an abusive relationship fairly well, although not until the second half of the book. Before that, it more just an icky, makes-my-skin-crawl relationship.

In short, second-half of Burning Glass is better than the first, the love triangle pushes the plot and there is no reason to be over 500 pages and have 29 people dead unless dragons and dire-wolves are going to start popping out of the woodwork. I wouldn't say the writing is bad, but the pacing and characters kill his book and honestly the idea that they tried to compare this to Red Queen, one of the most popular books of 2015, is utterly bonkers.

I wish one of the two targets was my brain.