Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie -- OPTIONAL

Purdie, Kathryn Burning Glass, 512 pgs. Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins), 2016. $17.99. Violence: R (very high body count, some detailed); Mature Content: R (allusions to prostitution, rape, suicide, drug/alcohol use); Language: PG-13 (7 swears; no 'f'.)

Sonya is cursed with the power to feel others' emotions so strongly that they become her own. In a restrictive kingdom like hers, that means having her family killed, then being captured and spirited away to a remote convent to learn how to become an auraseer for the volatile Emperor Valko. She's practically last in line for the job, but when she loses control of her powers, resulting in a deadly accident, she's forced to serve Valko after all. Her task? Sensing malevolent intentions from those around them. But with treachery afoot, Sonya has a difficult mission. And her attraction to both Valko and to one of the biggest threats of all -- his own brother -- doesn't help matters.

The action in this one is fast-paced, and the suspense does not disappoint. The love triangle is unique, intriguing, and not at all traditional. The setting has an interesting historical-Russian vibe to it, and Sonya's powers are well--detailed. While I sensed some of the ending before-hand, much of the plot kept me guessing. Note for those who prefer to read an entire series in one go: There is some wrap-up at the end, but it is clearly left open for at least one sequel.

I adored this book and read it in just a few sittings. There is a very heavy death count, however, including most of the residents of Sonya's convent being burned to death in a tragic accident near the beginning of the book, as well as the death of at least one beloved character. I can still vividly picture several of the incidents, even weeks after finishing the book -- hence my delay in writing this review. The violence, which could be upsetting to younger students and/or sensitive souls, moves this compelling and well-written fantasy from ESSENTIAL to OPTIONAL.

HS -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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