Book Review: Burn by Patrick Ness

Burn by Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publishing Info: June 2020 by Walker Books  

Pages: 384

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?

Patrick Ness’s latest book, Burn, took me on a journey I was not expecting. This is my second Patrick Ness book and I can’t quite put my finger on how to describe his work. He has a unique style and his books always seem unpredictable. Although they do sometimes use tropes (e.g. a prophecy in this book) they seem different to most YA books. This time, he’s taken dragons and put them in 1950s America. That concept alone had me desperate to read it.

Burn imagines a world where dragons are real and are a normal part of life. There has been a truce of sorts between humans and dragons, meaning dragons mostly stick to their own areas. There is a lot going on in this book. We have dragons, the Cold War, FBI agents, a cult and a prophecy. And it works. Patrick Ness has created a world where dragons wandering round rural America seemed totally normal. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot as I think this is one of those books where it’s best going into it not knowing much. At the midpoint it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and kept me on my toes. There were so many twists and I loved that I never knew what was going to happen next.                                                                                   

There were a lot of characters packed into a short book, so we don’t get to know them in that much depth. But I felt I knew enough about them to be invested in their stories. Kazimir was my absolute favourite character. Patrick Ness does such an amazing job of showing his personality through his body language and facial expressions. Plus, he has some of the best lines. Although this is mostly a serious save the world kind of book, there are also some lines that had me chuckling.

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Book Box Club May 2020 Unboxing

Last week I received my first Book Box Club box! I decided to subscribe because their May theme was just right up my street. Dragons are my favourite magical creatures so I just couldn’t resist a box themed around them.

Book Box Club is a UK-based subscription box. If you subscribe you get a book along with 4-6 bookish items. They offer monthly, 3 month or 6 month pre-paid options and they also do a book-only option. Also included is an invite to their exclusive online book group where you get a chance to ask the author questions which sounds pretty cool.

The theme for May was Dangers and Dragons! Without further ado, here’s what was inside.

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Top 5 Tuesday: Summer Reads

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm! Today’s theme is Summer Reads. I’m not generally a seasonal reader i.e. I don’t read summery books in summer, spooky books in October etc. So my Top 5 will be 5 books I really want to read this summer.

Burn by Patrick Ness – The only Patrick Ness book I have read is More Than This which I really enjoyed, so I’ve been wanting to read more of his work. When I saw the synopsis for Burn I was instantly intrigued. Plus it has dragons, so…

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – I was surprised by how much I enjoyed A Curse So Dark and Lonely so the sequel is high on my TBR list. I’m excited to return to the world of Emberfall and see what Grey is up to!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – I’ve had this book on my shelf for a year now but just haven’t got round to reading it. With the sequel coming out this summer, I really want to read Spin the Dawn soon.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein – I haven’t read this book since I was a kid and I’ve been wanting to re-read it for ages. So I’m hoping to finally get round to it this summer.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra ClareLady Midnight was just so good and I’m super excited to return to the world of the Shadowhunters for the sequel. 

Are you a seasonal reader? Are there any summery books you’re looking forward to? What books are you excited to read this summer? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to drop a link to your Top 5 Tuesday post!  

Top 5 Tuesday: Series I Want To Start

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm! There are a lot of series hanging around on my TBR list that I want to start reading. But I also have a lot that I’m part way through and need to finish, so I’m trying to balance my time between continuing series and starting new ones!

Nikolai duology by Leigh Bardugo – I love the Grishaverse so of course this book made the list. But I still need to read Crooked Kingdom first before I can read King of Scars. I’m intrigued to see where Nikolai’s story goes after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy.

Legend series by Marie Lu – The first book I read by Marie Lu was The Young Elites and I loved her writing style so I’m keen to read more of her work. I still need to read the last book in the Young Elites trilogy but I want to start reading Legend too.

The Last Hours series by Cassandra Clare – Chain of Gold is the first in a new series in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhutners world. I’m still obsessed with her books so I’m excited to start her next series.

Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness – The premise of these books is really intriguing. I bought a set of the series a few years ago but haven’t read them yet.

Camelot Rising series by Kiersten White – I haven’t read any of Kiersten White’s books before but I just knew I had to read this King Arthur retelling. I’ve always loved anything inspired by Arthurian legends since I was a child and I still do.

What series are you excited to start? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

61l75lvsm2bl-_sx322_bo1204203200_More Than This by Patrick Ness  

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT

Publishing Info: 2015 by Walker Books (first published 2013)

Pages: 480

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

The intriguing back cover description of this book caught my attention. The first half, however, didn’t. I started this book in February and got half way through it before I had to put it down due to heavy university workload. It has taken me a long time to pick it back up again, even though I finished uni in July and have had plenty of free time. At first, I felt really engaged. The book threw up so many questions, I wanted to keep reading and find out the answers to them. However, it didn’t go anywhere. The first half is so slow and the plot so stagnant I started to lose interest.

When I picked it back up again a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t hard to orientate myself again even though it was so long since I last read it, because so little happened. From the midpoint of the novel things start picking up and the plot moves forward instead of just stagnating. It is quite a heavy read though.

The one thing I did like about the slow first half is that it reflected the main character’s isolation and the length of time he was alone for. That was very effective, and I found it so at the time I was reading, but that first half just dragged on for a bit too long. The same effect would have been created if that section had been a bit shorter.

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