Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Burning Glass » Review

Burning Glass wasn't perfect by any means, but I was enraptured nonetheless.  I am always on the lookout for a good romantic fantasy, trying to relive the glory that is Graceling, and while Purdie's novel doesn't come close to that genre standard, it was a very promising start. I blazed through this book.

The story follows a young woman, Sonya, who is an auraseer — a person with the power to read the emotions of others.  Every identified auraseer in the kingdom of Riaznin must be trained by an order, in preparation for serving the crown.  And the crown needs the help of auraseers more than ever, because the political climate is tumultuous: taxes are high, people are starving, and the legitimacy of the new emperor is in question.

Sonya, our protagonist, eluded conscription for seventeen years, growing up with freedom, before being discovered and sent to the auraseers' remote, wintry covent. As the story opens, Sonya, who has been mercilessly ostracized by her new peers, is rendered insane by the ravenous hunger of a raiding party of peasants. Driven mad with empathetic hunger, she triggers a series of events which has devastating consequences.

As a consequence of these events, Sonya is sent to the home of the emperor to serve as his auraseer.  She tumbles straight into a pit of court intrigue and a nasty feud — between two brothers, who were raised separately and who are almost like strangers to each other. Burning Glass most definitely has an "out of the frying pan, into the fire," element to it.

The style of narration is first person, and highly introspective.  We receive a lot of detail about what Sonya is feeling at any given moment, and those feelings often wavered and were definitely inconsistent.  This almost made Sonya an unlikable character for me, and I have no doubt that it'll be too much for some readers. However, I found myself getting behind Sonya, even when she made questionable choices.

There is quite a hefty love triangle in this book, by the by, which is resolved before the story's end, thankfully.  Usually, I cannot abide that kind of geometry in my literature, but I felt that the romantic complications were well integrated into the storyline in Burning Glass.  Part of the whole point of the book is that Sonya stands between the two brothers, Anton and Valko.  They are like those two friends you have, who, for some reason, just hate each other and won't get along.  The one thing they have in common is that they like you.

It makes for some intriguing drama, that had me riveted, in between my eye rolling.

Ultimately, I think this was a fabulous and promising debut.  I am going to read the sequel, with absolutely no hesitation, and while I hesitate to recommend the book to readers who are allergic to youthful drama, I can say without reservations, that I really enjoyed reading Burning Glass.



  1. Glad you enjoyed this! I really didn't think there was too much of a triangle, I think it is pretty clear early on who she really likes but I think her feelings do run rampant from time to time. It is full of drama that is for sure but I did like it and like you, won't hesitate to pick up book two.

  2. It's true, it IS apparent who she's into, but I always doubt my intuition! Why do I do that? I can't help but fall for misdirection.

  3. Bah. Love triangles. I don't know if I can stomach another book with that romantic trope, to be honest.

  4. I read some reviews wherein the triangle could not be tolerated. Those sensitive might need to shy away from this one!

  5. […] I thought it was a really solid debut and I had a grand time reading it.  You can read my review HERE. The book is about an auraseer, a girl who can read emotions, who is conscripted by the emperor to […]

  6. […] fantasy debut had issues with love triangles and an indecisive heroine, but hell, I loved it […]