Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Burnt Children by R. E. Washington

Goodreads description:

In Meli, if you're born with the wrong magic the Purifiers rip it out. They'll etch a black flame into your skin, labeling you a Burnt Child. Elaria is one of those Burnt Children.

She's not allowed to handle magical items and the only thing she can do is work with dangerous rokas stones that are likely to explode at any moment. But Elaria has a secret. She can see magic.

This rare ability draws Elaria to a strange locket that holds a dangerous mystery surrounding the leader of the Purifiers and a conspiracy that could change all of Meli. Soon, Elaria is hunted by Purifiers, befriended by a murderer, and haunted by the ghost of the very woman who doomed the Burnt Children fifty years ago.

All Elaria wants is to find a place to belong. But with a strange power growing inside of her, she realizes she must choose between saving herself or saving the world.

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Rating:   *  *  *

Favorite Quote:
"I don't see how any of this is a group decision."  she pointed to Korvin.  "You are here because you stalked me."  She turned to the man.  "You, though I'm grateful you saved us from the bear, are still a stranger.  I don't even know your name."  She looked at Nila.  "And you, I'm pretty sure are evil."

My Rating:
This was a hard one to rate.  The story itself was AMAZING.  The world, the journey, the action... it was a fantastic story.  From the beginning, you are pulled into the story.  It's an exciting tale.  The story on it's own would easily merit 5 stars.  

The characters are a bit harder to rate.  Overall, I didn't feel overly connected to them.  I cared what happened with them, but only so much; they were not what compelled me to finish this book.  Some characters were better than others.  One of the antagonists I really hated, which is a good thing in an antagonist.  But some of the other characters I struggled to understand their motivation; its not that most weren't clearly noted, I just didn't feel it from them.  Some character's actions seemed to contradict what we learned about that person.  The romantic parts seemed a little forced.  That magic you experience when you really empathize with the characters and what they are feeling just wasn't there.  

I struggled some with the ending.  Fear not, it's a happy ending (I don't feel it spoils anything to say that.  Personally I hate books with sad endings, so if you read enough of my reviews, you'd know that I wouldn't purposely read anything that ends tragically).  The first part of the ending worked really well; Elaria is able to find a way to defeat the antagonist.  It fits perfectly.  The second thing she does is to rectify, as much as she can, the damage done by the antagonist.  Now that's great but I've read it over twice and I'm still not sure how that was all supposed to work.  I was left with "huh?" as my last thought instead of "ahhh, good book."

So overall, well worth the read even with the few bumps along the way.

Cover Art:
Love this cover!  It has a nice balance of  "story hints" elements without overdoing it (a pet peeve of mine).  I would like to see the background dark and smokey instead of just white.  If this book was in print, a smokey gray/purple background wrapping around the spine and back would really set it apart. 


  1. I couldn't help but think about The Scarlett Letter. I'd be curious to read this YA version.

  2. This sounds a little interesting. I haven't heard of it before. Great review, thanks for brining it to my attention. I like the magic to it, but it's hard to read a story when you can't connect with the characters. I may look into this a little more.


  3. This definitely sounds like the dystopian book I would read. But like, Andrea said, I want to be able to connect to my characters and I tend to dislike a book where that doesn't happen. I can see how this one must have been hard to rate. In these cases, instead of an overall rating, I like to have separate ratings for plot, characters, etc :)
    As for the happy ending, I kind of wish there was more tragic in YA. I wish it was more like the real world and everything didn't have to end well haha