Burning Glass Review


Burning Glass (Burning Glass, Book 1) by Kathryn Purdie

Synopsis: 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. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always 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 charming-yet-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.

About the Author: Kathryn Purdie lives near  Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write this debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. http://www.kathrynpurdie.com.

Genre: young adult, romance, fantasy

More Info: hardcover, 512 pages, published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1, 2016


In honor of this July 4th, let’s review Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie. America’s forefathers committed high treason when they signed the Declaration of Independence. The revolution lead to the independence and freedom of the United States from the British Empire around July 4th, 1776. Sonya also stirs up quite a revolution in an attempt to free herself and the people of Raiznin.

Sonya wants to be free, but as an Auraseer she is the property of the Riaznin Empire. After a tragic fire, Sonya is the eldest Auraseer left alive. She is taken from the covenant and brought to Torchev, the capital of the territory and the home of the Emperor to be his Sovereign Auraseer.

However, Sonya doesn’t quite have enough experience to be the Emperor’s assassination monitor. Her gift/curse is extremely magnified. She feels others’ sentiments emotionally and physically, as well as the emotions of the dead (human or animal). Her heightened ability can leave her physically ill and mentally tired. Sonya is bombarded with Auras and has a hard time adjusting to large crowds. In a place with a lot of people, Sonya is overtaken with their emotions while she is unable to find an inner solitude. Therefore, it can be hard to distinguish her own feelings from another’s. For this reason I didn’t feel an intense connection with her. (Also because I am personally oblivious to other people’s feelings and moods; Sonya and I are complete opposites.)

She is brought to the palace by the prince, Anton, where she is thrown into a new life as guard to the Emperor, Valko. She is constantly caught between the wills of the two brothers. Their animosity towards one another is only the beginning to the emotional onslaught. Valko has a superiority complex. Meanwhile, Anton is passionate for his country and his people; he is the Emperor that Valko is not.

The love triangle ensues. Sonya feels for Anton on a deeper level, and is unsure whether he feels the same since he keeps his emotions so guarded. On the other hand, she is swept up in Valko’s passions and desires in a back and forth love with the violent and irrational Emperor. I empathized with Anton, but was annoyed by his disbelief in Sonya (be supportive!). I came close to liking Valko at some parts, but then he went back to being a manipulative jerk. In the end, the questions comes down to: who actually loves Sonya, and whom does Sonya actually love? Can she sort her emotions from everyone else’s?

I feel like the book was pushed mostly through the love triangle. The political conflicts did help drive the story, but still connected with the love situation between the three main characters. The uprising is brought into the plot slowly, but is fully revealed by the end of the book. I wish I understood more of Sonya’s background. I feel like I am missing a large chunk of vital information (that will hopefully be revealed in the next 2 books?).

Towards the conclusion of Burning Glass Sonya grows some backbone, which made me like her more. She finally understands her purpose and rises up to the challenge. Her moment of truth is unveiled when her friends are in trouble. This shows how necessity can bring about change. The resolution was fulfilling. It left off in a spot that kept me wondering, but content. I am satisfied to wait for the next book. I will be purchasing book 2 when it arrives in 2017.

In total, I feel like this book has some parts new and some parts old. The storyline seems familiar, but the spin on the Auraseer gives the book a fresh twist. The dynamic between Sonya and Valko is so chilling, a reality check on domestic abuse. {The National Domestic Violence Hotline} I love the map and the interconnected cultures, which I would love to learn more about. I read through the book pretty fast, so it certainly held my attention.

I got this book on sale, but the hardcover price at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble Online are quite decent at $10.58. Overall, I would recommend this book for a nice read.

Buy it here:






5 thoughts on “Burning Glass Review

  1. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    I read Burning Glass, and whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t really satisfy me. BUT, I really love what you have written about Sonya’s complex and crazed relationships with both Anton and Valko. I liked that Sonya’s emotions were chaotic and turbulent, and I found it really interesting.

    Even though I wasn’t a fan of Burning Glass – I think I’ll pick up the second book because I’m really curious to see where the story will go. Great review! c:

    CW (Read Think Ponder)


    • Jessica @ Pore Over the Pages says:

      I feel the same way. I did read this book very fast, but it didn’t 100% do it for me. It seemed so close to other books but with a slight twist. Anton and Valko were…interesting to say the least.
      I want to see where the story will go, as well.
      Jessica @ Pore Over the Pages

      Liked by 1 person

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