Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Burning Glass

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 3/4/16 to 3/13/16
512 pages
Rating: 1/2

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. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always 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 charming-yet-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.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Burning Glass is tough to review. On one hand, I was extremely hesitant to read this because it was 500+ pages, and it didn't seem worth it with all the mixed reviews. But then on the other hand, it did exceed some of my expectations.

Sonya is an empath. She can feel all the emotions around her, but hasn't mastered controlling them yet. This leads to the reader being thrown right into the action, with Sonya burning down the building housing pretty much ALL of the Auraseers. So when the emperor comes to collect the eldest Auraseer to help protect the kingdom and himself, there is only her. And life begins for Sonya in the palace.

The beginning of Burning Glass was a little tough to get through. After the whole affair of accidentally killing everyone (fun fun!), we see the life of Sonya in the palace, and how she has to conceal her emotions for the elusive Anton, the emperor's brother, in front of the emperor. And then the emperor himself has these crazy mood swings, and it's never really evident as to how he'll act in front of Sonya.

There's also Anton, and his whole history with him being the true heir, while his brother is just a fake. The relationship he had with Sonya was more so on and off. It was obvious he cared for her, while also holding back because he didn't want to get her involved. On the other hand, Emperor Valko wants Sonya and he claims to love her, and it's just pretty uncomfortable. And a little boring. Most of the book is Sonya's thoughts about how she's going to figure out Anton's secrets while manipulating the Emperor. So again, not much action really.

It isn't that I hated Burning Glass, but more that I never connected with the story. Most of what happens occurs in the palace, which bored me a little. Also, I couldn't help but think of how Shadow and Bone did a better job with this type of plotline (though I will admit that Burning Glass is definitely its own story).

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what I did not like about this book, maybe it was the romance, or the plot itself, or just the disconnect from the characters. Either way, if you can make the time to read 500 pages and think it's worthwhile, I say go for it.
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