Patrick Ness

Twice Carnegie-award winning Patrick Ness’s new book Burn is a spectacular novel encompassing dragons, the FBI, parallel worlds ,fanaticism and teenagers caught on very different sides of the story.

Set in America in the 1950’s with a backdrop of the tensions of the cold war, the story opens with Sarah Dewhurst and her father waiting to meet Kazimir ,a blue dragon, who her father has employed to help on the farm. Meanwhile, FBI agents are moving from Canada across the border to find fanatical cult members, of which Sarah seems to be at its centre.

This novel has film-like qualities: the skies are big, the plot twists and turns and the action is both hard-hitting and quite astonishing. There is an emotional balance, however, as the teenagers begin relationships and experience grief as well as first love; the pain, confusion and bewilderment Sarah comes to experience will strike a chord with readers who themselves have lived through painful times .By the end the reader is left with the feeling that they have experienced something quite vast and somewhat indescribable. It is superb (as is the audio book) and will be an excellent addition to a secondary reader’s bookshelf.

Published by Walker Books

Reviewed by Justine Daniels