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I really enjoyed this book. Although at times it felt rushed, the concept and underlying theme was gripping and totally awe inspiring. I was tearing my hair out in exasperation at some of Sonya's choices and Anton's reluctance to admit his feelings. And Pia, sweet gentle and loving Pia. How my heart aches! Very interesting characters and plot line.
You can find more of my reviews at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/47739567-greyson-grey-edwards and https://greysonreads.wordpress.com/ If you're in the mood for an angsty love triangle then you're probably in for a treat. If you're looking for a plot driven story that feels like it never lets up and demands you to not put it down, you'll probably be disappointed.
Did this book live up to my expectations? No, not really. I had been expecting a gripping YA novel with a strong plot about empaths, people who are in tune with the emotions and motives of those around them, with back stabbing, complex characters. Did I get that? Well, essentially yes, I suppose I did in the end. But I was a little disappointed.
The story focused on Sonya caught between two brothers. The Emperor Valko and his brother Prince Anton. Most of the book was Sonya working out if her feelings for the brothers were her own, or if it was just her ability to feel what they felt towards her, as if those feelings were her own. Too many feels for you? This book probably isn't for you then.
The story did cover Sonya learning to control her abilities but it was glossed over until everything started crashing down in the last quarter of the book. I wish the author had made Burning Glass more plot driven. I was waiting, for literally hundreds of pages, for it all to get more serious than just Sonya being torn between two brothers. I've read that story too many times for it to really grip me all that much anymore.
I must give credit where credit is due though. Emperor Valko as a complex character, though grating. I was made to hate him and feel empathy for him all in the same breath and I have always enjoyed reading those kinds of characters.
There's a bit of court politics, which I enjoyed, but not enough for me. There were plot twists that I didn't see coming, whether it was because I have been reading this book first thing in the mornings or because they genuinely were surprising, I'm not sure. Though they all come far later than I would have liked.
I will read the next book once it's available, hoping that it continues with the strength that Burning Glass ended with. I won't be holding my breath though.
Really enjoyed this book and loved how long it was for a first in the series.
A girl who can feel the emotions of others around her, Sonya, is sent to work for the emperor as his 'protector', having to sense any threats after the last the woman in this position failed to do so and was killed. The book explores her relationships towards the emperor and prince as she struggles to battle the many emotions of the people surrounding - something she has always had trouble with and disastrous consequences as a result.
I thought the two brothers, emperor Valko and his younger brother Prince Anton, were such interesting characters to see through the view of Sonya, and it wasn't a predictable love story - there's more to Anton than what meets the eye and Valko gave a dark romance tilt to the story.
The description and evolving relationships between certain characters kept me reading and I found it difficult to put down at times, especially at particular points when something happens that I really was not expecting!
Would definitely recommend if you're in the fantasy/romance mood with a slightly sinister edge - I'll certainly be picking up the next one!
It's not bad, but could have been so much more. The main character has a gift that causes her to do extreme things at the beginning of the book, and it looked like the story was going to centre around reality and insanity. This was a good thing - I was interested and motivated to read on. However, when transplanted into the city and the palace the whole thing reverted to a story centred around romance and political intrigue. The madness and emotional drive of the story relegated to the back seat, making occasional and vague contributions to the story. I finished it, but in the same way one continues to chew gum when out loses it's flavour. Given that this was £8:00+ I am disappointed that I took the risk.
This is my top book of the year. I just finished it last night- unable to put it down, terrified that I would hate the ending- but I didn't. The book starts out with heavy, fast-paced scenes and then slows down. It begins to build from there. Complex, multi-layered characters are drawn and begin to build slowly. They are so well-written, you understand them- their pain, their motivations, their actions. I loved Sonya's character growth throughout the story. How broken she feels in the beginning, and how she finds herself and her strength at the end. I loved the characters of both of the brothers. The author makes us truly understand who they are and what has made them that way. You can feel Why Sonya is drawn to each of them. In the end, the romance is beautifully done and- right. I don't want to give too much away but- some of those moments will stay with me for a long time. I only have two criticisms- this book is nothing like Red Queen- I can see why one would draw similarities- but that book I Hated because there was no character growth- only a bland heroine who just sets herself up to be betrayed horribly- and she is. This is Not that book! The other criticism I have is that there will be a sequel, that this is a trilogy. The ending was too perfect here- I will not read a sequel!
This book had long been on my want to review/pre-order list. I loved the description and was right up my alley of things i love to read. it didn’t disappoint!
It’s not often I sit and read a book all in one sitting. It’s actually quite rare. this but this book…..! It’s all consuming, just like Sonya’s AuraSeer abilities. It sucks you in and does not let you go. you fall in love with the characters, you hate them, you cheer for them. It’s one of those rare type of books that you JUST CANNOT PUT DOWN AND DO NOT WANT TO.
I loved the idea of an Auraseer! as a reader, you go on Sonya’s emotional rollercoaster right along with her all the way through the book. from the beginning, when she starts the fire at the convent, right to the ending, you ride the waves of emotion with Sonya! it kept me very engaged in the book, kept right in my seat!
The brothers Anton and Valko both are alluring and dangerous; the way Sonya interacts with them throughout the book is addictive. The three of them form a perfect triumvirate of main characters, with both Anton and Valko being swoon-worthy in their own ways. (though personally, I’m Team Anton!)
One of my absolute favourite things about this book was that the world was built on many different types of cultures. I could sense Russian, Chinese, French, and even Slavic tones, which was great. It’s not often you see a world so diverse, but this is no ordinary book. The diversity was a great addition to this consuming world.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good read, loves to be stunned, and loves books like RED QUEEN and THE GRISHA TRILOGY. A definite favorite on my shelves!
I never post spoilers in my reviews because I want people to form their own opinions of the story. But GO READ THIS BOOK. you will love it!!
Sonya is an Auraseer, able to read others' emotions, which means by law she belongs to the empire. Her parents' attempt to hide her with traveling Roma caravans failed, and Sonya is immured in a convent where she's supposed to learn how to control her deep empathy. But after a tragic accident leaves Sonya the oldest auraseer in the convent, she's whisked away to the capitol city to take the place of the Sovereign Auraseer (the most recent has been executed for failing to stop the dowager empress's murder).
Already the stakes are high--Sonya's life is at stake if she fails to protect the narcissistic, power-hungry young emperor. But they climb even higher as Sonya struggles to disentangle her own feelings from those around her (including those of the emperor), and as she discovers the great disparity between the wealthy nobles and the impoverished peasantry--and a plot to close that gap. Sonya has to decide who she cares for and what she truly values--a decision that may cost her life.
I loved the vivid, lush setting of the book (loosely modeled on imperial Russia). And though I didn't always like the choices Sonya made, she was a fascinating character struggling against very real odds and I desperately wanted her to succeed. I loved, too, the romantic intrigue (but I won't spoil it by saying too much about it). Now I just have to wait for book two.