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.
Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published: March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Three stars: A book with a lot of potential, but it suffers from a lagging pace and a difficult heroine.
Sonya is an Auraseer, and as such, she is sequestered in a convent with other Auraseers, training for the day when she will serve the Emperor. Her time comes sooner than she ever thought possible when a devastating fire sweeps through the convent, leaving Sonya as the eldest Auraseer, who must accompany Prince Anton to serve his eldest brother, Emperor Valko. As the Auraseer, it is Sonya's duty to analyze the auras of everyone surrounding the Emperor, in order to warn him of impending danger. If she fails in her task, it is immediate death. What happens though when the danger is coming from someone Sonya thought she could trust? Whom does she betray?
What I Liked:
- Burning Glass is a difficult book for me to review. It is a book with an interesting concept, and a good story line. If you are a reader who enjoys fantasy and you want to experience a fascinating ability, this is one to try.
- Sonya is an Auraseer. She can read auras and sense people's intentions and emotions through their auras. Her gift, or curse, is a difficult burden to bear as sometimes the emotions she feels are so powerful that they overcome her. I liked exploring Sonya's abilities and watching her develop them. The concept of the Auraseer was different and interesting.
- This is YA fantasy that places Sonya, the Auraseer, in the heart of a kingdom in turmoil. There is treachery, treason and plotting. It was a suspenseful story with plenty of conflict, and I liked that I was never sure from one chapter to the next as to whom I should side with.
- The Emperor, Valko, was the most fascinating character in the novel. At first he comes across as a cold tyrant, obsessed with power, but as Sonya gets to know him, she peels back layer after layer to expose all of his flaws and secrets. I liked that there was so much more to him than I suspected, and that I never knew for sure, like Sonya, how to feel about him. He is a conundrum as sometimes I felt sorry for him, and at others, I detested him. I like when a character keeps me on my toes and guessing the whole way.
- The ending brings the book to an exciting climax with some big developments. I liked the way everything played out, and I was certainly surprised by some revelations. After the dust settles, the book closes without a cliffhanger, which is always a relief.
And The Not So Much:
- What held this book back for me was that I struggled with Sonya. She didn't endear herself to me during the first few chapters, and in fact, I didn't like her at all. As the book progressed, I liked her a bit more, but I didn't like that I never felt like I was seeing the true Sonya as she was always projecting the emotions she felt from other's auras. She is wishy washy, and she spends a lot of time hiding and crying. She does finally show some backbone and growth toward the end, but it wasn't enough to make me love her.
- The romance is a mess. It is almost a love triangle but not really. Sonya ends up having somewhat of relationship with someone, and it is all based on his lust and attraction to her, and since she can't get a finger on her own emotions, she is acting on what she senses and feels through his aura. If that sounds difficult to grasp, trust me it is. Then the real romance finally develops toward the end, but when it does flourish, I felt like it lacked development and I wasn't feeling it. I was frustrated through and through with all the messiness of the romance.
- The overall story isn't exactly original other than the concept of the Auraseer. You have an empire on the verge of a revolt because the Emperor fails to take care of his people and instead he is lusting after power. I felt like I had been there done that with the main story line.
- The other big issue I had with the book was that the pacing was incredibly slow. The book comes in at five hundred and twelve pages. I love a good, long story, but this one felt like it was constantly rehashing the same things over and over, especially when it came to Sonya and her abilities. It finally picks up at the end, but it was trying to get there. A hundred pages could have been easily plucked out.
Burning Glass was a good book, but I struggled with the main character, and I never connected to her. I also thought the pacing was slow and the romance was frustrating. Still I liked exploring the Auraseer ability, and I liked the suspense of the story. If you are one who likes YA fantasy, this is one to try, but keep in mind it might require some patience. It was a book I liked, but not one that I loved like I was hoping.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.