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Wednesday 14 April 2021

Review: Burn

Patrick Ness’s latest young adult novel takes place in the 1950’s during the heart of the Cold War. 

The first of many twists is that this story is set in an alternate reality in which dragons exist and are accepted part of society. They have their own distinct breeds and language.

In this reality, tensions are frostier than depicted in history. There is an imminent threat as Russia (USSR) is sending a satellite into space which is regarded to be the ultimate in spying technology.

Sarah Dewhurst and her father Gareth hire Kazmir the dragon to help perform chores that help keep the family farm operational. But this dragon is not what he seems and has his own agenda. One that involves a world ending prophecy.

Malcolm is an agent, sent by the religious sect he grew up in, known as The Believers. He also has his own agenda that conflicts with the mission he has been sent on. 

Traversing the world, Malcolm learns a lot about himself and the world outside of the sect. Meeting new people, forming relationships and discovering the ways of the world will cause conflict.

Gareth discovers his daughter Sarah, is the target of an assassin. This is all part of the prophecy that foretells that Sarah’s fate is the pivot of a war that could wreck the balance of the world and destroy everything.

This complex, multi-layered story questions people’s own motivations while dealing with racism, religious zeal, sexual discrimination, gender bias and identity. All this while under the threat of nuclear annihilation. Ordinary people will be tested, their strength of character and the intoxication that comes with power.

Award winning author Patrick Ness has been longlisted for this novel as part of the Carnegie Medal 2021.

Title: Burn
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 7 May 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406375503
For Ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction