5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2007
The publishers' reviews above give you an idea of the plot, but not of the beauty of the writing or the way that it blends together the fantastic, impossible, and purely human to create a book that (I found, at least) lingers with you long after you've finished it. We begin with Rye, suffering from amnesia but more importantly synesthesia, a disorder in which sight, sound, touch and taste all merge and change places in her 'fevers,' leaving her inhabiting a world where the everyday is bizarre-- and then the bizarre starts happening. As Rye and her manipulative, guilt-ridden guardian/lover/betrayer Bardo shift from one world to another, she searches through her own madness and the happenings around her to try to untangle the truth before it's too late for her. In the end, tho', it's Rye and Bardo's humanity that makes this book worth reading, and the simplicity of the emotions with which the story ends. I read a *lot* of scifi/fantasy; I thought this was outstanding when I read it, and a month later I still find myself thinking about it. Definitely an original, and well worth reading.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2009
After a long hospital stay, Rye is released, her body covered in lesions, suffering a fever that causes synesthesic hallucinations, with no memory of the past six years. With the help of someone she used to know, she begins to regain her memories--only to discover that she was once tied up in an interstellar war that crosses parallel universes and the boundaries of human consciousness. A balance of wild, vivid, dream-like storytelling and a detailed, intelligent sci-fi plot, this is a complex book which more than rewards the reader for the effort of reading it. It is vivid, violent, meaningful, and simply wonderful. Very highly recommended.
However extensive Rye's synesthesic hallucinations, no matter how far the plot strays from our perceived boundaries of the world, this book is science fiction. Based on reviews and summaries, I came to it expecting fantasy. The lack thereof threw me off at first, but it works out for the best. The Burning Girl is a careful combination of precise detail and incredible imagination, each aspect balancing and complimenting the other. Fiery hallucination, vivid cross-wired perception, flashes of amnesia and dreams make for a wild ride, but they're balanced by incredible detail, realistic characters, and an intelligent, sensical sci-fi plot. The combination of the two gives method in the book's madness.
Yes, that's a lot to cram into one book, and so the text is sometimes dense and confusing. It's not a beach read, but nor is it impenetrable. Pay attention and be tolerant of momentary confusion, and the text will come to make sense--and it more than rewards the reader's effort to read it. In a word, The Burning Girl is incredible. From the empathetic characters to the rich language to the story--which hits so hard that it's like a fist in the gut--this book is a wildfire, brightly burning, violently destructive, and beautiful beyond words. I feel blessed to have stumbled upon it, and I recommend it highly. This is not the sort of book which will appeal to all readers, but if it does appeal to you, do yourself a favor and pick it up.