Title: Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1)
Author: Kathryn Purdie
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
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 (goodreads).
Where do I start?
Plot: You see that synopsis? Fascinating isn't it? Makes you want to pre-order it and create a countdown until its release. It promises court intrigue, a swoony romance, and a heroine you can root for. Burning Glass delivers none of that. In fact, I was bored for a good 95% of the novel, regardless if there was a murderer amongst the court and warring lands. I actually contemplated DNFing this one a few times, but I couldn't let my first read of 2016 be a DNF.
Characters: Most of my problems stemmed from my first impression of Sonya. She is at a convent to hone her skills as an auraseeker, but she actively chooses not to listen to her lessons and lets her skill run wild. This results in a terrible tragedy and Sonya being sent as the emperor's protector. I have a question. Sonya is as much a danger to society as she is to herself. She is like a mirror, she mimics emotions but doesn't seem to have any organic emotions of her own. If her maid is happy and giggling, Sonya is happy and giggling. So what sense does it make to have her serve the emperor? If there is a murderer in court thinking murderous thoughts towards the emperor, Sonya would feel those emotions too and most likely act on it. So why is this a good decision?
But I've gotten ahead of myself. My first impression of Sonya was "this girl is an idiot, I hope she gets better." She doesn't. Like I said, she mimics the emotions around her and doesn't seem to have any true emotions to herself so I never connected to her. All of the other characters are flat and the romance feels very stilted. I understand this is a love triangle, but it doesn't serve the novel anything in the progression. Sonya ends up with the man you expect her to, and I'm not sure if any of Sonya's feelings towards any of the men were actually real.
Worldbuilding: The world of Burning Glass was an interesting mix of our world and fantasy. The lands are clearly straight from Purdie's mind with a lot of research done on her half, but some of the lands have Chinese or French influences which I found interesting.
Short N Sweet: Burning Glass may work for other readers, but unfortunately, the characters and the slow moving plot didn't work for me.