Series: Burning Glass #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1st 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
From the first page of this book, we’re thrown into action, and Sonya is at the heart of it. I think what stands out throughout the book were the characters: their motives for what they do, the consequences they go through, and the growth that completes it all. While I don’t mind character development, I can’t help but admit my frustration with the main character at times. Some dumb choices were made throughout the book that I thought were quite unnecessary. Also… she tended to cry a lot. Lots of tears blurring her vision, tears burning her eyes, tears streaming down her face, tears leaking from her eyes, the list goes on and on.
These character flaws made Sonya all the more real, and while I didn’t exactly enjoy it, I can appreciate it. So Sonya is basically empathetic to everyone around her, which makes her power pretty important.
Being born with the gift meant becoming the property of the Riaznin Empire and being trained in this convent for one purpose only – to protect the emperor.
The story starts off with Sonya at her convent, and it being burned down, with her as the remaining girl left with enough developed powers – although they are unstable. The emperor has need for her to protect him, so he makes his brother, Prince Anton, pick her up. Cue sparks flying when they meet. Our main character has to navigate her way through the court and take control of her powers at the same time, all the while making sure the emperor survives.
But there’s a revolution going on, and the people want Sonya in on it. You may think that her empathy would help, but sometimes she can empathize too much. And you know what they say about having great power… (great responsibility comes with it.) Throughout the book we see Sonya trying to gain control of her tumultuous powers.
I was more than wild, I was a walking keg of gunpowder.
This book is only the start of the revolution, so I’m expecting to see much grander schemes in the books to come! We focus a lot on the emperor himself, and his capricious attitudes. I was surprised to find how three-dimensional Valko was, and how much I could empathize with him despite my intense dislike towards the guy. In fact, all the characterizations were really well-written and fleshed-out. I reveled in their victories, cried with them in their failures (inwardly, not tearing like Sonya all the time), and rooted for them along the way.
Although the romance is advertised as a love triangle, rest assured that Sonya leans towards one guy. The love triangle, like the rest of the book, becomes sorted out as the characters start to realize what they want and discover who they are. The romance between the two characters involved is quite intense and has more than a little angst to add to the drama. I’m pleased to say that although the romance is a large part of the plot, it doesn’t dominate any of the other drama going on in the court – rather, the two go hand-in-hand with each other and are equally represented.
‘I want you to listen to me, and I want you to listen carefully. You are not a curse.’ His brows lifted in earnestness. ‘You are a gift,’ he said softly. ‘You are my gift. A savior to me.’
The ending was very satisfying and has a nice conclusion with lots of room for more. Despite my enjoyment, I couldn’t get past the frustration I had with Sonya at times. I can understand her ordeal, but that doesn’t make me less irritated. I’d recommend this for lovers of Red Queen and fantasy lovers who like to see emphasis on characters with an intricate plot in the background. I will definitely be looking out for the sequel!
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanks to Epic Reads for sending a review copy!