Burn: Too Many Unanswered Questions

Potential spoilers!

Burn is written by Julianna Baggott. It was published in 2014 by Grand Central. It is the sequel to Fuse. Baggott’s website can be found here.

Summary/Blurb:

“With his father now dead, Partridge has assumed leadership of the Dome, one of the last few refuges from the ravaged wastelands of the outside world. At first, Partridge is intent on exposing his father’s lies, taking down the rigid order of the Dome, and uniting its citizens with the disfigured Wretches on the outside. But from his new position of power, things are far more complex and potentially dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

On the outside, a band of survivors faces a treacherous journey to the Dome. Pressia carries with her the key to salvation. If she can get it to the Dome, the Wretches could one day be healed and everyone might be able to put the horrors of the past behind them. Bradwell, the revolutionary, cannot forgive so easily. Despite Pressia’s pleas, he is determined to bring down the Dome and hold its citizens accountable for leaving the rest of the world to burn. El Capitan, the former rebel leader, wants to help Pressia save as many lives as possible—but he’s struggling to reconcile his new found compassion with his vicious past.”

~Inside Flap

What I Liked:

I absolutely love that, for once, a dystopian series has actually had its characters express their thoughts about God, the afterlife, etc. Most dystopians tend to either ignore religion completely, or give it some cultic form. Burn has the cult (the Dome Worshippers), but it also has Bradwell, El Capitan, and Pressia discuss and struggle with the concept of God. Especially poignant was El Capitan’s struggle in the chapel, and his feeling of freedom after saying “I’m sorry.”

Speaking of El Capitan, he’s still awesome (and sweet). And now, given Bradwell’s ending (which I totally called back in Fuse), I have hope for El Capitan/Pressia.

And Pressia is awesome, too, mostly because she marches into the Dome and does to Partridge what every single reader wanted to do to him during his chapters.

What I Didn’t Like:

Partridge. PARTRIDGE. It’s uncomfortable to read about adults manipulating teenagers, but it’s aggravating when the teenagers know, can do something about it, and yet ultimately don’t. Partridge was so passive in this book that I wanted to step into the book and shake some sense into him. Partridge, you can’t just let people walk all over you like that! And you especially can’t think, “Oh, I’m letting them walk all over me,” and then continue to do nothing about it! And Partridge made such stupid decisions—like with Hastings and Bradwell, Partridge what were you thinking—but the worst decision he made was to follow Iralene at the end. You can’t just pick and choose what’s real or not, Partridge, and wishing or thinking that you’re in reality doesn’t mean you are.

El Capitan and Helmud (by anawin)

The plot threads left dangling at the end of this trilogy are so massive I’m surprised that there is not going to be a fourth book. Does Weed succeed in making a cure? Do the Pures survive in the wild? Does Pressia find her father? What about Lyda’s baby? What about the babies in the tubes? What’s up with the baby clone at the end? Okay, I get it that it ends with Pressia moving on and stepping into a new world, blah blah, but there’s absolutely no indication of what that new world is going to be like and that’s upsetting. For all we know, Pressia and El Capitan could be blown up by a spider grenade thrown by the mothers or shot down by Special Forces in the next minute. That’s hardly a satisfying ending. I’m not asking for an “X amount of years later” epilogue, but some closure would have been nice.

Rating: 3/5

Recommended Age Range: 16+

Warnings: Violence, disturbing and graphic images, swearing.

Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult

Passages/Quotes:

And then it hits him, and he looks around the room again—this time seeing it the way she sees it. Is this all for show? His father must have worked on this for years—long before he’d planned to use Partridge’s body to move on. Is this room some kind of prank? Are all of these photos and stupid letters an attempt to wrench Partridge’s heart? Or maybe it was originally designed to mess with Sedge He was the rightful heir.

Is this all fake? A ploy to garner sympathy? A final power grab at love?

~Baggott 61

He whispers, “Saint Wi.” He tries to imagine who she was. Did she help chidlrne? What were her miracles? He thinks of her face. HE doesn’t have to look at her. Her face is locked in his mind—her way of gazing. She’s waiting patiently. For El Capitan? For him to say what he needs to say?

Say it, he hears the words in his head whisper. Say it.

He takes a breath. He feels sick. Say it. He gulps air.

He knows he should ask for forgiveness. The thought is there in his head.

Say it. Say it.

He opens his mouth, but instead of saying I’m sorry, he says, “We got to go.”

~Baggott 214

Overall Review:

Burn has some good dialogue between its characters and an overall excellent world and expression of that world through the characters. El Capitan is amazing, and Pressia has her moments. However, the questions left unresolved at the end of the trilogy are entirely unsatisfying, and throw a bad light on the book as a result.

You can buy this here: Burn (Pure Trilogy)

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