Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

by Hope Hanson
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Burning Glass cover image

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 where other people’s impulses end and her own begin.

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, Prince Anton.

But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust–and which to betray. In a palace full of dark impulses and warring emotions, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may truly be herself.

–from the back cover of Burning Glass
Rating: 2.5/5

I actually started reading this a few years ago when it first came out, but I gave up around the 20% mark. Sometimes, I’m just not in the right headspace to enjoy a certain book. And that’s fine! I couldn’t get into the story, so I decided not to take the time to finish it.

However, recently, I’ve seen glowing reviews for Purdie’s more recent Bone Grace series. So, I decided to give Purdie and Burning Glass another chance. I figured maybe now I would be able to enjoy it. And while I won’t say I was wrong, I also can’t say that I loved this book. Here’s why.


To begin, the premise of Burning Glass is great. A girl who can feel what the people around her feel? You can’t deny that that’s intriguing! But I don’t think the book entirely lived up to the potential of that premise. There was a lot that could have been done and wasn’t. Because of that, it left me a little underwhelmed at times.

In fact, I found Sonya herself to be underwhelming at first. I didn’t take an immediate liking to her, and I worried that wouldn’t change. It did, though! Sonya might not make my list of favorite characters, but she doesn’t make my list of least favorites, either. She still has some serious flaws at the end, but there are also more books in this series. Her character arc isn’t over yet! But I can’t say I enjoyed certain aspects of her inner turmoil, so I’m hoping that isn’t where future books focus.

Additionally, I think the degree to which I hated Valko improved Sonya in my eyes. Seriously, he’s a first-rate bastard. It isn’t often that I want to throw books when reading, but Valko definitely brought that out in me. That’s a good thing, though. It means Purdie did an excellent job writing a compelling antagonist. One I really, really wanted to see defeated.

Still, I mentioned I didn’t love this book. And that’s because an amazing antagonist can’t carry any book. The plot in general left me feeling slightly disappointed; it just didn’t have all that much complexity at certain times. I found it interesting at other parts, but I definitely think it could have been better, and overall, I found it mediocre.

Honestly, underwhelmed is the best word to describe my feelings towards Burning Glass. Maybe my expectations were just too high, though.

TL,DR Recommendation

All things considered, I probably won’t be recommending this book, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, either. The antagonist was brilliantly hateful, and even though Sonya isn’t the best, there’s clearly room for growth and improvement. I’m not sure if I’ll read the rest of the series, but I’m not ruling it out yet!

Find a copy here!

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Dominick Remondini June 23, 2022 - 11:32 am

I was very happy to discover this website. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things in your website.


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