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Burning Issy Library Binding – September 1, 1994

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Library Binding, September 1, 1994
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Library Binding: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Juv) (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671890034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671890032
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,777,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-For as long as 12-year-old Issy has lived with Nat, a healer, she has been tormented by a nightmare of hellfire, but more troubling are her ungodly powers-she can burn those who wish to harm her or her loved ones. When Nat's loyalty to her falters because she attracts the attention of a witchfinder, the local witches-satan worshippers-compel her to join them, but she is rescued from that fate by Iohan, who had given her to Nat 10 years earlier. Iohan enters the scene like a fresh spring breeze-she laughs a lot (or "gurgles," as Burgess is fond of saying), but readers will thirst for more details of her religion and wonder about the differences between her witchcraft and that of the local hags. Issy, too, is racked by confusion-she eventually convinces herself that her new guardian is evil and puts herself in the hands of the magistrate. In a rather vague, whirlwind scene, the Goddess and the Horned Man help her break free from imprisonment, but in the meantime Iohan has been captured and literally broken. In the end, Issy is determined to help keep Iohan's religion alive. Despite its unsatisfying elements and the somewhat distant tone of the first-person narrative, this novel has moments when it captures the immense power that the image of the witch wielded over early 17th-century English minds.
Vanessa Elder, School Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Witches are increasingly popular figures in YA historical fiction; they are nearly always shown to be strong female outsiders who are wrongfully accused and hunted down by the fanatics of the male establishment. Burgess' story, set in medieval times, asks us to imagine something more than that. What if there really were witches? What if they were ordinary women and men who were secret followers of an old religion of nature-worship? The story is told by 12-year-old foundling Issy, who tries to deny her own intuitive powers. She finds herself and her community in danger from the established church. She sees people betrayed, tortured, and burned. But she also discovers her own power: she has gifts of healing, harming, and seeing that can be used for good or for evil. The ignorant may say she worships the devil, but she celebrates a joyful connection to the spirit of nature. Readers will be held by the terror of the witch-hunt and also by the view of the witch as more than saintly victim. Hazel Rochman

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Evan on December 20, 2000
Format: Library Binding
"This is about a young girl named Issy who tries to unravel the truth to who she really she is."Isabel her real name,was brought out of the North when she was about 2 years old with nothing,but her name and a dream of fire. Ten years later,a strang woman named Iohan came and took her where she would soon find out who she is."If you like mysteries and adventures this is the book for you."Melvin Burgess,the author has also written The Cry of the Wolf,which was a runner-up for England's perstigious Carnegie Medal for children's fiction in 1991.He makes the settings of the story seem so real as if they were real places from the seventeenth-century. "If you like fictional mysteries this is a great book for you to read.If you want to read this awsome book try searching at your local public or school library."
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shea Davis on December 3, 2000
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
This book is perfect for those of all ages. It can be used as a bedtime story or as an insight on a report. It has a lot of factual information without giving witches a bad name. Most people have misconceptions as to what life was like so many years back. This book portrays the life of a peasant and the hardships associated with being one. Burning Issy puts you in the eyes of a little girl and tells how she survived one of the biggest events of her time. The Witch Trials.
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Format: Library Binding
I read this when I was 12 years old (1997, so you do the math) and was left disturbed. I was a prodigious reader and was reading adult and young adult books far beyond my age with sensitive subject matter but this book was the first to leave me shaken.

It is NOT for children or even pree-teens; I'd reserve it for 14+ on up. To this day I've remembered the cover art and title of the book beacause it freaked me out so badly. After reading it in one night, I brought it to the librarian's attention and warned her it wasn't in the right section (found it in children's) and asked her to read it. THe next time I visited, she thanked me for bringing it to her attention and agreed it was not for kids my age and several other employee's were just as distrubed by the book.

It's the way Issy is treated (child abuse, some sexual) and how of the psychological horror of the witch trials is brought against her. I'd liken it to reading about the Holocaust in the sense of dread and subliminal terror which infuses you.
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