Saturday, 13 February 2016

Review: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Title: Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1)
Author: Kathryn Purdie

Release date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: ARC
Pages: 490

Source: Publisher

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.

I liked this one more than I thought I would! Burning Glass is a gorgeous fantasy novel with a concept I haven't really read about before. There's danger at every corner, suspense, a bit of romance, and quite a bit of politics. Not too politics-heavy though, which I was glad about.

Sonya is one of many Auraseers in the empire, but when a fire in the convent kills almost all of them, Sonya is the eldest one left, and is chosen to be the emperor's new sovereign Auraseer, after the last one was executed. Sonya is terrified, but she has to do her duty to her emperor, regardless of the fact that her powers are 'unnatural' and she can barely control them.

Sonya first struck me as kind of an idiot - after all, she did cause the fire that killed all her friends. And there's other stuff that reinforced my assumption. But later on I realized that it's just that she has really bad luck. It really is like she's cursed! I feel sorry for her. Sonya had only been at the convent for eight months, as her parents managed to hide her from the empire before then. So she hasn't had much practice controlling her abilities. The issue with Sonya is that she often can't decipher whether the emotions she's feeling are her own or other people's. And that's really dangerous, especially at the palace.

Luckily, Sonya has an ally, someone to keep her calm. Anton, the emperor's brother. He's younger by a year, so the two brothers have quite a rivalry. I loved Anton, even though he didn't treat Sonya that well in the beginning. He was terse and aloof, though he knew Sonya needed someone on her side. But there's a reason behind his aloofness. Anyway, Anton did look out for Sonya at the palace, and he's the only one who could calm her down when she's surrounded by a crowd of people and bombarded with their emotions. The romance between the two of them is slow, mostly romantic tension because neither of them act on it until much later. I liked seeing them become closer to one another, as their friendship developed and they began to trust each other.

Like I mentioned before, the concept is unique to me, and I really liked the way that was done. I can't imagine what it would be like to not know whether what I'm feeling is my own emotions or someone else's! Moreover, it must be so overwhelming to actually feel other people's emotions. Not just know what they're feeling, but actually experience them. I sympathized with Sonya a lot in that aspect.

I guess I have to mention Emperor Valko sometime. Man, I hated him. The synopsis really doesn't prepare you for what a cruel, sadistic SOB he is. He's a nightmare! He's described as charming, and maybe he was a little at first, but that illusion slowly disappeared. He treats Sonya like shit, he's violent and aggressive, and a complete monster. I didn't sympathize with him one bit, and it's easy to see why Sonya had a hard time connecting with him. Ugh, I still get the shivers thinking about him, and definitely not in a good way! From the synopsis, I thought there would be a love triangle. Well, there really isn't. Though Valko forces himself on Sonya multiple times (not kidding), it was definitely one-sided. Sonya's heart belongs to Anton and only Anton, thank goodness.

A lot happens in this book - after all, it is pretty long. The revolution is coming, and several people at the palace are involved. There's a lot of secrecy, things go wrong, there's tragedy too, and Sonya somehow finds herself in the middle of it. I enjoyed the fast pace and the fact that nothing was ever dull. Even Valko, though horrible, was interesting, because I never knew what he was going to do next.

All in all, a roller coaster of a novel. I'm still wondering why the book and series is called 'burning glass'... Maybe we'll find out in the next book. This one has a satisfying ending, no cliffhanger of any kind - whew! Sonya has quite a lot of character development throughout, and I can't wait to see how she gets stronger later on.

*Thank you to Megan at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 4/5


  1. Sadly, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped! It got 2.5-3 stars from me, which isn't *terrible*, in the end. But the love triangle kind of killed things for me, despite it looking like it's over? You can never tell, with these debut authors. -_- I'm not sure I want to continue with the series but I'll keep an eye out for your review of book two next year, Richa. :D Lovely review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  2. I need to read this one! I’m glad you liked it though because that means I have pretty high chance of liking it too hehe :P


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