ARC Review: Burning Glass

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie. I've been excited about this book for over a year now, and it has everything I love in fantasy books. COURT POLITICS <-- YES. Magic. Rich Culture. Eloquent writing. Engrossing plot.

Author: Kathryn Purdie
Series: Burning Glass #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 512 Pages
Publication Date: March 1st, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: eARC via Edelweiss (thanks Harper!)
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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.
Every once in awhile when I discover a new book on Goodreads, I just have a feeling that I'll like it. I had such a sensation when I first laid eyes on Burning Glass. My obsession with this book started long before I even read page 1, and continued long after I finished the book. Burning Glass is such a unique fantasy novel yet still contains all the elements to enthrall readers.

In the empire of Riaznin, the Auraseers, people who can sense others' auras and moods, are rounded up and sent to a convent. There they learn to hone their skills in the chance that they might be called up to serve the Emperor as his Sovereign Auraseer to protect and warn him against threats on his life. Sonya has enhanced powers even among Auraseers, and a fatal accident puts her in line as the next Sovereign Auraseer, a position so precarious that one slip up means a death sentence. As she struggles to assuage Emperor Valko's temper and stay in his good favor, she uncovers a plot to overthrow Valko and realizes she might be fighting for the wrong side.

The Auraseer element of this novel really plays such a huge part in this novel. I feel I understand the characters so much better. I understand their feelings, their motives, their deepest insecurities through Sonya's gift. I felt my grasp and breadth of knowledge for these characters is greatly expanded compared to other books and their characters. 

"My task might be monumental, but my gift-my curse-was the only means I had of making a difference in this world."

Sonya struggles to separate her own feelings and emotions from others. She constantly lives in fear of being overcome by others' auras and fights to stay herself. She grows from a meek and timid girl to a fierce and courageous woman. Valko's character is so complex. Raised in a fractured childhood, his insecurities and fears are laid bare to us as they are to Sonya. He's mercurial and power-hungry yet vulnerable and kindhearted at times. His character was so well developed and frankly quite scary. Anton is the younger prince, the idealist who struggles to overcome his own issues. I love how Kathryn developed such three vibrant characters. I felt like we understood them all so well.

"My feelings for you are here when I am alone, when you are miles form the palace I keep you with me. I choose to. you are the most impossibly stubborn person I have ever met. You are also the most honorable, the most caring. I love every part of you."

There's a unique dynamic among the three. Valko feels threatened by Anton, and Anton loves Valko regardless. Both have feelings for Sonya, yet this love triangle is not as it seems. Since Sonya is an auraseer, it's difficult for her to distinguish her feelings from those around her, and likewise it's hard for others to be sure that her feelings are truly her own and not a projection of someone else's. Sonya clearly favors one person, and you'll distinguish the toxic relationship from the tender one almost instantly. The romance was a definite highlight for me. It was blisteringly hot at times yet sweet and tender at others. By the end everything is made clear.

Kathryn's writing is amazing. Not only did she do well with the romance and character development, but there are so many beautiful prose lines and gorgeous descriptions she adds. There are plot twists and unpredictable moments around every corner. The political intrigue, balls, court functions, and Russian-influenced culture were also high points in the novel. 

Although there isn't much action until the last quarter of the book, there's always something to engage and hold your attention. It's a long book, yet so much happens by the end. Kathryn wastes no time! Every scene carries some importance towards the story. The Auraseer element really infused so much more emotion and feelings into this story that truly sets it apart from others.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy debut, and I hope you do too!

About the Author

Kathryn’s love of storytelling began as a young girl when her dad told her about someone named Boo Radley while they listened to the film score of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. In high school and college, Kathryn focused on acting, poetry, guitar, and extensive journal writing. Years later, when she was in recovery from donating a kidney to her brother, inspiration for her first novel struck. She’s been writing darkly fantastical stories ever since. Her debut novel, BURNING GLASS, releases winter 2016 from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
2/22/2016- Brittany's Book RamblesInterview
2/23/2016- Ex Libris- Review
2/24/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
2/25/2016- A Perfection Called BooksReview
2/26/2016- The YA Book Traveler- Interview

Week Two:
2/29/2016- Jessabella ReadsReview
3/1/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post
3/2/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
3/3/2016- The Young Folks- Interview
3/4/2016- Addicted ReadersReview

Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. I love the sound of the political intrigue and russian culture here! A shame there wasn't enough action though. The romance sounds like it was up and down, but I'm glad everything became clear later. Lovely review Rachel!

  2. Great review! This one sounds like my kind of book. Too bad there wasn't more action in it, but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much anyway. :))))

  3. I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds like something I would love! I'm really interested in the auraseer aspect here and the love triangle definitely sounds intriguing. Great review, I can't wait to pick this one up!

  4. Ahh this book sounds amazing! The characters sound so complex and the plot sounds really rich - can't wait to get my hands on this one. Great review! :)

  5. Ohhh my gosh you are so lucku to get to read this! :o I'm so jelly, this book has been on my tbr list for so long. But anyways congrats on getting the book! & I loved that this book seems really unique. Great review! :)

  6. I'm SO incredibly excited to read this! It's been on my TBR for a while now. This book sounds like it's straight up my alley and I can't wait for it to be released! Thank you for this opportunity :)

  7. After reading Shadow and Bone and having loved it, I'm in the mood for more fantasy. This sounds like it really is an epic book. I can't remember if I got this one on my kindle yet or not, but I will definitely be doing so either way now!

  8. I hadn't heard of this one at all, but it seems really interesting. I love the whole empathetic bodyguard idea.

  9. I have a copy of this one, and I can't wait to read it. There really is something interesting and unique sounding about it, and the cover only adds to my interest. I am so glad to see that you enjoyed this one so much. Now I need to make time for it faster!


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