I received Burn in the May Book Box Club. It took me so long to get round to it just because I was so immersed in the Throne of Glass series but, as the book group with the author Patrick Ness was fast approaching, I decided to have a break from that world and read this in time to join the chat.
And how glad am I that I did. To say that I wasn’t feeling great when I read it (I barely even had the energy to sit up) I managed to devour it in less than three days. I don’t know why but I got a slight Dirk Gently vibe from this book, mainly I think because of how confused some of the characters were about the events. To say how many deaths there were, I don’t know if this humour was intentional or if it was just my brain. Either way I enjoyed it!
The story is about Sarah Dewhurst, whose father has just hired a dragon, Kazimir, to help on their farm. But Kazimir has other motives to work their, mainly to do with a prophecy that involves a teenage assassin, two FBI agents, a cult of dragon worshippers and Sarah Dewhurst herself. It’s set in 1957, when people were afraid of the threat of a nuclear war.
There was not one character that I felt had not been done well. I loved them all. I felt Malcolm, the assassin, had the best character growth of all and his plot was one of my favourites. I think it was the relationship between the two FBI agents that gave me the most Dirk Gently vibes. You really felt sorry for Sarah and her father as they struggled to keep their farm going after the death of her mother. And even though Kazimir was quite sarcastic and seemed to be laughing at the humans, it was obvious he cared about Sarah (even if it was for slightly selfish reasons) as he protected her from the racist deputy.
I think Ness tackled the theme of racism really well, showing how someone who works for the law and so supposed to be a good citizen, actually will physically attack two teenagers, unprovoked, just because of the colour of their skin. To say this is set in the 50s and yet this is still happening now, says something about the state of the world we live in. I like how Ness has made this character even more unlikeable than the actual evil character in this story.
Overall, if you enjoy books with detailed characters, dragons, tension and amazing twists then this is the book for you! Completely recommend!