ARC Review! Burn by Patrick Ness

Sarah Dewhurst and her father, outcasts in their little town of Frome, Washington, are forced to hire a dragon to work their farm, something only the poorest of the poor ever have to resort to.

The dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye, though. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul, but who is seemingly intent on keeping her safe.

Because the dragon knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm with a prophecy on his mind. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents in hot pursuit—and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review and can confirm all opinions are my own.

Sarah Dewhurst has no idea just how much her life will be changed after her father hires a Dragon to work their farm. Especially when said Dragon starts spouting off about a prophecy. A prophecy that Sarah herself will play a massive part in, one that could mean the end of the world as we know it… No pressure.

The book is told from multiple perspectives, sometimes chapter by chapter and sometimes they just pop up randomly to keep you on your toes. Because of this I wouldn’t say there was really a ‘main’ character. The four main perspectives we get are Sarah, Kazimir, Malcolm and The Goddess. Sarah is a simple farm girl, so when a Dragon appears and informs her that she is the vital cog in a prophecy that could end the world, she is understandably dubious:

“I’m just a girl.”

“It is tragic how you have been taught to say that with sadness rather than triumph.”

Kazimir is a Blue Russian Dragon, people are understandably worried about a Russian Dragon working in the US, I mean the Cold War is happening people. But he cares little for human politics, in fact he cares little for humans at all, but he knows that a battle between Dragons and Humans would mean massive casualties on both sides and the ending of a world he has grown to like.

Malcolm is a ‘believer’ a group of humans who devote their lives to Dragons, they believe they are the superior race and that all humans should bow in their wake. So when the Mitera Thea, the leader of the Believers, tells him that in order to save the Dragons and the world he has to kill a girl, Malcolm is willing to do whatever it takes.

The Goddess is a character I can’t say much about without giving you some massive spoilers. She is the one from whom all Dragons came, and the one who, in the end, has the potential to destroy the world.

The synopsis for this book gives little away in the form of plot but after reading the book I completely understand that decisions. The story is quirky and jumpy (not in a bad way) but it would have been hard to describe without spoiling some pretty big and important plot points. Ness’ writing style, and how he infuses all the different characters perspectives into the story made it feel quite fresh and I found myself easily flying through the 384 pages, in fact I read the book in roughly 4 hours.

As well as a thoroughly quirky story about Dragons we get a book set in an alternate 1950’s America, one where the Cold War is active, racism is abundant and being Gay is still a crime in some places. Ness deals with these both in different ways but I felt that he did it well. We see Sarah having to deal with Racism, especially from the town Deputy (trust me you will hate this guy!) We see how lgbtq people were treated, and still are in some places. It will make you angry, there is no denying that, but personally I think the author dealt with the issues that arise well and still managed to give us some great representation.

This book has enough plot twists that as soon as you figured one out another pops up out of nowhere ( another reason why describing the story is so hard.) For the first half of the book I was just desperately trying to keep up with who was who and what was happening and then in the second half it all went to shit and I gave up. You just have to trust that the author knows what hes doing, trust that all the little parts will some together and it will all finally make sense, trust that he will give you an ending that you deserve… even if it does leave you longing for more.

A really fun read, that deals with some pretty big issues and a story line that will keep you guessing until the end. I will definitely be checking out more of Ness’ work after this.


8 replies »

  1. Great review! I love the bit when you say “in the second half it all went to shit and I gave up” 😂 The end of Part 1 totally walloped me, I just clutched my hair and had to brace myself and immediately went into Part 2. SO many twists!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this book sounds like it has a lot going on in it but I’m so curious! I still haven’t read anything by Patrick Ness although I have … quite a few of his books sitting on my shelves 😅 This sounds like such a fun and quirky read though. I will definitely be adding it to my TBR! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha yep definitely a lot going on and also very quirky but I just fell in love with it all. I haven’t read anything else by Ness either but I’ve added loads of his books to my TBR after this 😊


  3. Wow, this sounds layered and fun! I like the 1950s setting added to a dragon-human political potential war fiasco. This sounds like a fun read, especially with the multiple POV and small details weaving together near the ending. I can’t wait to try this one! Fab review Becky!

    Liked by 1 person

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