Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review - The Burn by Annie Oldham

Description From Amazon
The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right. She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. But then she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, and she must decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.

My thoughts:

Writing: First off, I enjoyed reading it and think you will too.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars.  The writing is good.  Easy to read, flows seamlessly, tight. There were a few typos but not enough to distract. I enjoyed reading the entire thing, even once I figured out this was the retelling of XXXX. I'm not giving it away, but underwater girl saves land boy from drowning...
Worlds:  After WWIII and nuclear contamination, there are underwater 'colonies' where Terra has grown up, and the ravaged land that used to be the U.S., (The Burn) which, according to the adults around her, is full of anarchy. Both worlds are described in believable, dystopic, big-brother-is-watching detail. You get a clear sense of what life is like in each. The Colony sounds like the better of the two choices, but still, there is something in Terra that longs for the wild anarchy of The Burn.

Quibbles:

This is a YA Dystopic story/fantasy.  The title is unfortunate in that it is kind of generic.  I wish it had a better title which reflected the engaging story. 

The story is from Terra's POV.  We understand and come to love her.  But there are some things that could be explained more fully:  mainly, her motivation for wanting to give up everything to live on The Burn.  It isn't quite enough to make me accept the sacrifice she makes in exchange for life ashore (it is a doozy).
The other characters are less well developed.  The love interest, Dave - you don't really get a look into what makes him tick.  Same with Gaea (can't get over what she does). 

There is one scene of mutilation in particular with Terra and Gaea that I couldn't get over, no matter how much it got glossed over, no blood, no pain, nothing but still, it was horrific and stays with me.  More horrific than when Terra shoots someone later on.

I was a bit disappointed at the end when I realized it was a book in a series. I don't care for the non-ending ending. But I'll be buying Book #2 (which is high praise from me).



So I say give it a try, I think you will like it.

My rating:  4 stars (out of 5):  I liked it but not sure you will?

It is available in ebook format on:
Amazon, Apple iBookstore, B&N, Sony, Diesel, Smashwords

Paperback: Amazon and CreateSpace
Note:  I received a free copy for review.

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