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Burn (2020)

de Patrick Ness

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This is one crazy ass and original book! ( )
  turtal30 | Apr 19, 2021 |
2020 might be a year of discovering awesome new books about dragons, since this is not the first new release I’ve come across this year that has been a fantastic read - must do some research and see if there are any other dragon books I should add to my list! Publishing trends or not, Burn was an excellent read and I shall be looking out for more from Patrick Ness. The story starts out simply, in a universe similar to ours during the 1950s, but in which dragons exist alongside humans in an uneasy truce. The story quickly escalates as we are introduced to a cast of characters attempting to cause or prevent a world war and total annihilation across multiple storylines. Usually this straightforward type of story is not my thing, but I was immediately drawn into the characters who are a wholly unique and diverse cast with well-developed and engaging personalities that easily draw us in to their backstories and motivations - regardless of whether we think they are “good” or “bad” characters, as life is not quite that simple. As the (potential) end of the world draws nearer the cast’s storylines converge and intersect in interesting ways, causing betrayals, discoveries, and ultimately an incredibly engaging climax and conclusion. I won’t give away the ending, because damn it’s a good twist, but let’s just say kudos to Ness for giving us an awesome story and ending with a revelation that keeps things open and gives us some food for thought. Afterall, maybe some people are just more purely dragon inside than others, and maybe others have different types of hidden magic! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
I read Burn by Patrick Ness because it has a dragon in it. I really like stories about dragons, especially if they can talk and have personality and aren't evil. The novel takes place during the Cold War. Russia has arrested an American pilot accused of spying with his plane. Russia is also about to launch a satellite into space. The United States worries that this satellite will spy on us and Russia will have the upper hand. Oh, and dragons are common. They live in the Waste Lands and have a peace with mankind.

Sarah Dewhurst lives in Frome Washington, in 1957, and is central to a prophecy. She will stop the world from burning. I should stop there and let you see what happens. Okay--let's see what you need to know. Sarah's mom is dead; her father is a bit distant but has good instincts and loves his daughter greatly; her boyfriend is Japanese, so he is discriminated and bullied because WWII has ended 12 years previously. Sarah is also discriminated against because she is half black. The farm isn't doing well, so her father has hired a dragon to clear the fields as a last ditch effort. Usually red dragons do this work, but a blue Russian dragon arrives, named Kazimir. That's the setup for the novel. He appears to want to protect Sarah while Sarah's dad gets threatening letters to kill the dragon. Who does one believe? Do prophecies come true? Can you change a prophecy?

Let me give you a list of characters and you can imagine the conflicts:

Deputy Kelby - power-hungry, mean Deputy who abuses everyone, especially those who are not white.

Malcolm - the highly trained teenage assassin sent to kill Sarah for the Mitera Thea; Sarah's death will bring peace to the world.

Nelson - innocent gay teenager told by his parents that he's an abomination; finds and loves Malcom; has really bad luck

Jason - Sarah's boyfriend who defends Sarah at all costs

Agent Woolf - an expert on dragons trying to find who killed officers of the law in Canada, following the assassin from Canada to the US; partnered with Agent Dernovich.

Agent Dernovich - smart agent who desires to save everyone.

Kazimir - the dragon who knows the prophecy; the guide for the humans

I really liked the book--it's very different; it's not uplifting. The ending is realistic---in the sense of what would really happen if this story happened. It sugar-coats nothing. There's a distance to the writing where the characters don't have much depth--you won't get emotionally involved with them. You distantly watch these things happen to them, but you won't have tears in your eyes. They accept knowing that nothing can change what has happened. It's a story of people victimized by a prophecy with dragon magic unleashed in two worlds at the time when Russia and the US are prepared to destroy each other with nuclear weapons. You can't be too sentimental because the government has said that mutual destruction can come at any time. No time for tears or emotion. I assume it's a standalone. There's room for a book two, but I think it works best alone. ( )
  acargile | Nov 8, 2020 |
This is an Eisenhower America that has a tenuous relationship with dragons. Malcolm is on a quest to fulfill a prophecy and Sarah, a farmer's daughter, is unwittingly a part of the prophecy. Well, that's as far as I got before I dropped it. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Oct 16, 2020 |
Read this in one day. Excellent "alternate reality" book. Sarah lives in the alternate 1957 USA, where dragons roam the planet under a truce between man and dragons. Most of the dragons live in Alaska, where men do not go, but some come into the world of men to work. Sarah's father is a farmer and he hires a blue dragon with one eye to help clear his land for farming. Sarah is told not to give the dragon her name and to leave it alone, but when it stops a racist deputy from bullying her Japanese boyfriend, she becomes more intrigued. Especially when the dragon tells her that someone is coming to kill her and his job is to protect her from dying, otherwise the world will end. Ness cleverly uses cold war tensions between the US and Russia and the space race to heighten the possibility that Sarah's death may result in Nuclear war.
Meanwhile, we follow Malcolm (the assassin) on his journey from a cult that worships dragons and prays to a mother figure who knows all about dragon lore. Malcolm is unrelenting in his quest to find Sarah and kill her and his devotion to his mission results in the killing of two FBI agents, which sends others on the hunt for him. In his travels he meets a boy Nelson, who has been kicked out of home for being a homosexual, and Malcolm then falls in love with Nelson. Malcolm and Sarah and the FBI agents' stories all meet in the thrilling conclusion.
I liked how Ness was able to tie up nearly all the "loose ends" at the end of the book and [SPOILER ALERT] the leap the characters take into our Earth reality and the subsequent changes that occur, are all very plausible. He also leaves himself open for the possibility of a sequel involving Malcolm. Great suspenseful read. ( )
  nicsreads | Oct 12, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Patrick Nessautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Fitzsimmons, ErinDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tierney, JimCover artist & typographyerautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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King Salamander, that's his name,

A desert maker, that's his game

The benign Cremator, branding iron in his hand

Eager and willing to torch the land

-Siouxsie Sioux
Burn, baby, burn

-The Trammps
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For Kim Curran, golden soul
Primeres paraules
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On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957 - the very day, in fact, that Dwight David Eisenhower took the oath of office for the second time as President of the United States of America - Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron gas station for the dragon he'd hired to help on the farm.
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