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Burning Glass Hardcover – March 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Sonya has a rare talent: she can feel, both physically and emotionally, those around her. With this talent brings the responsibility of becoming the Sovereign Auraseer for the Imperial Majesty, Valko. Sonya travels to Torchev with Anton, the heir to the throne and younger brother to Valko. Sonya is thrown into learning her new role, balancing court life and rules for the first time, all the while trying to discern if someone is really attempting to assassinate Valko. While observing, Sonya finds herself conflicted as she is drawn to Anton, and whether he has the best interests in mind for his country over his brother. Does she betray Anton? Does she side with the Uprising? Or does she honor her duty as Sovereign Auraseer, despite her nature telling her it is not the best interest of the people of Torchev? Filled with mystery and intrigue, betrayal and passion, Purdie's political debut will sweep readers away to a world that is not that different from their own. Characters are richly developed, leaving teens with a sense of who they are and where they stand in this well-paced story. The ending comes to a satisfying resolution, with a hint of a further installment. VERDICT For libraries whose patrons clamor for additional high fantasy tales, this start of a new trilogy will fit the bill.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom Public Library, MI
“Filled with mystery and intrigue, betrayal and passion, Purdie’s political debut will sweep readers away to a world that is not that different from their own.” (School Library Journal)
“Dark, intricate and utterly immersive, Burning Glass will take you on a journey you’ll never forget. Heart-pounding action meets deadly intrigue and aching romance, drawing you deep inside a story full of complex questions.” (Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling co-author of the award-winning These Broken Stars, This Shattered World and Illuminae.)
“Richly imagined, compelling, and darkly romantic, this book will leave you begging for more!” (Sara B. Larson, author of the Defy trilogy)
“I feel like BURNING GLASS has catered to all of my YA book needs: Russian-flavored fantasy, a neat but not overly complicated magic system, a flawed but wonderful heroine, and the only kind of love triangle I can enjoy (one involving competing brothers!)” (Allison Senecal, Old Firehouse Books)
Top customer reviews
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The book starts out with heavy, fast-paced scenes and then slows down. It begins to build from there.
Complex, multi-layered characters are drawn and begin to build slowly. They are so well-written, you understand them- their pain, their motivations, their actions.
I loved Sonya's character growth throughout the story. How broken she feels in the beginning, and how she finds herself and her strength at the end.
I loved the characters of both of the brothers. The author makes us truly understand who they are and what has made them that way. You can feel Why Sonya is drawn to each of them.
In the end, the romance is beautifully done and- right. I don't want to give too much away but- some of those moments will stay with me for a long time.
I only have two criticisms- this book is nothing like Red Queen- I can see why one would draw similarities- but that book I Hated because there was no character growth- only a bland heroine who just sets herself up to be betrayed horribly- and she is. This is Not that book!
The other criticism I have is that there will be a sequel, that this is a trilogy. The ending was too perfect here- I will not read a sequel!
Finally I made a point to finish it and I am glad I did. The plot was easily followed and you could tell where it was going but you found yourself enthralled with the nuances.
That is not to say I got to like Sonya better until the very end. Her need to fill the void and follow really got to me. She had no real self and just ugh. But four stars for the plot and originality.
This book begins with a catalytic tragedy. Sonya's power to feel the emotions of those around her, caused her to hurt the people she loved. I won't say exactly what happens, but her overwhelming power came at a tragic price, that price was the lives of her fellow Auraseers, who are those just like her. This event sets this book in motion, and propels her down the path to becoming the Emperor's personal Auraseer. She's charged with the duty of being his personal protector, like many Auraseer's before her. Her gift makes her the Emperor's most important guard because her ability allows her to predict motives of assassinations.
Sonya sees her ability as a curse. She's an abomination in the eyes of her fellow Auraseers because her powerful is different than theirs. She can not only feel the emotions of those around her, but she can also feel the emotions of animals, and can even feel the emotions of the dead. When she touches an object that was used by someone, she can glimpse the history of the life of the owner. This forces her to become a vegetarian, and she doesn't own anything animal-made. If she were to eat meat or touch fur, she would feel the pain an agony that the animal went through to be turned into food or fur.
Auraseers are trained to deal with their ability in large crowds. An untrained Auraseer would be overwhelmed with the emotions of so many, so they are taught at a young age how to deal with situations like that. However, Sonya was never able to be taught this. Her evolved ability made it impossible for her to not feel overwhelmed. She was un-teachable in that sense. This plays a vital role in her story of being the Emperor's Sovereign Auraseer.
This book is complex when you dive into the mind of Sonya. Like Sonya, we often question whether her emotions are her own. It's hard to know whether her love, hate, pity, or even hunger, are things she's feeling, as opposed to the emotions of someone else around her. Sonya struggles to establish her own identity in the light of so many emotions that essential pull the strings of who she is. What I loved most was her inner fire. She was brutally honest and never held anything back. She broke protocol, stepped out of line on more than one occassion, and she was unapologetically opinionated when dealing with Emperor Valko.
Burning Glass has a complex love triangle that was very intriguing and dark to read about. On one side, we have the dark and twisted Emporer, Valko, who has fallen for Sonya because of her inability to hold her tongue. He finds her boldness, very intoxicating, considering that everyone is afraid to oppose him. However, her boldness towards him is often fueled by the emotions he is feeling. All of their interactions, both romantic and platonic, are based on what the Emporer is feeling. Sonya falls preys to what he feels, and her actions portrays that. She loses her identity when she's around him, because his heightened emotions consumes who she is. When he's angry, she becomes angry. Their relationship becomes dark and twisted, and turns into something very obsessive.
On the opposite side, we have Prince Anton, Valko's brother. These two characters are literally night and day. We can even say Anton is Valko's foil. Anton is reserved, mysterious, vulnerable, and treats Sonya with the utmost respect. He respects her abilities and never abuses them like the Emperor does. He doesn't admit his love for her at first, because he felts like the love she had for him, was just a reflection of what he was feeling for her. It took him some time to understand that what she felt for him was truly genuine. Prince Anton is a swoon-worthy character, one readers will flock to and will root for.
I want to share some quotes that I absolutely loved. Kathryn Purdie is amazing with descriptions, and her pros always felt effortless.
"Their auras combined and ganged up on me until they formed a blend of perfection I could never attain. They knew the art of teasing a smile from the prince's lips. How to keep up a stream of lively banter. How to lean forward in such a way that made his hand spread farther across their backs.
I could no longer endure it."
Here we glimpse Sonya's vulnerability as she sees Prince Anton dancing with everyone but her. She feels like a captive in her skin, ruled by her Auraseer power. Kathryn Purdie strings together the perfect prose to show that vulnerability.
Another quick quote I loved that showed Kathryn's skills as a writer is below:
"His hand steadily rubbed my back. 'Shhh, shhh,' he murmured, and in his voice I didn't hear an admonishment to be silent, but instead the rushing of mountain water, the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. He spoke comfort like a language I'd once learned as a child but had long since forgotten"
That last sentence is just so beautiful. This is just one of many beautiful lines within Kathryn's book.
Burning Glass blends and balances political intrigue, a stunning Russian back-drop, a creative, yet simplistic magical system, a rash, vulnerable, and head-strong heroine, and the best of the best of love triangles that readers will scramble to read about: a love that involves competitive brothers. Pick this book up today, you will not regret it.
The MC is a bit off to me and while I do understand what she goes through, I guess I expected a stronger character of which does happen a decent bit by the end.
I'm not sure it I would recommend this read but if you like slower paced books with lots of character dev. I would but if you are like me and want something more "actiony" then i wouldn't.