Burn (Elementally Evolved #1)

May 28, 2012

by T.J. Klune

Penny’s Rating: A

Publisher Description: “Set in a world that closely resembles our own, Burn is a story of redemption and betrayal, of family and sacrifice, which leads to the greatest question of all: how far would you go to save the ones you love?

Fifteen years ago, Felix Paracel killed his mother with fire that shot from his hands. Since then, he has hidden from forces bent on exploiting him and his fire and wind Elemental abilities. But Felix’s world is about to change, because he is Findo Unum—the Split One—and his coming has been foretold for generations.

Though Felix’s arrival brings great joy to the Elemental world, it also heralds a coming darkness. No one knows this better than Seven.—Seven, the mysterious man who rescued Felix from that horrible fire years ago and then disappeared; Seven, who has returned to claim what’s rightfully his: Felix’s heart. But even as Felix begins to trust Seven and his feelings about his place in the world, the darkness reveals itself, bringing consequences no one could have predicted.”

Ok, I have to admit, even though I am reviewing this book for NetGalley, I actually purchased the e-book of Burn directly from Dreamspinner Press on the first week it was released. It wasn’t even available at Barnes and Noble or Google Books yet. I read Klune’s first novel, Bear, Otter and the Kid (BOATK) in January of 2012, and really liked it. So, I was looking forward to Burn. I read it in one day, which, okay, I do that with most of the books I read, but this was a longer novel, and I read for the entire day. I couldn’t put it down, as in, I ignored the fact that I had to do laundry, and barely ate.

Just like in BOATK, Burn is told from the perspective of the main character, and I really love the voice that Klune created for Felix (or Addy, as his first introduced). Completely likeable from the beginning, and he does better than most people would, as he’s thrown into a completely different world from the one he’s been living with, complete with its own politics and enemies. I loved Felix, but even more than that, I loved Seven, Felix’s love interest. Saying that their relationship is complicated is a major understatement, but you can’t help loving them both. It is their incredible chemistry that drives the story forward. What a freaking epic couple. Wow. Not only that, but there are many layers to all of Klune’s characters. It is not easy to determine what motivates certain characters, nor is it always clear whose side they are on. As a reader, you are left second guessing everyone, because just like Felix, you don’t know who to trust.

I love the world that Klune created for this series. It’s set in a world  much like our own, but, mostly hidden from normal society is an underground group of Elementals (gifted humans who can manipulate the four elements) who are fighting their own political war, and following their own prophecy. Like any archetypal hero story, there are some standard themes that resonate, Felix is the “chosen one”, – The Split One – which means he’s supposed to fight the bad guys and save the world, though how he is supposed to do that…we don’t really know, even at the end of the book when you meet the bad guys for the first time. The concept of Elementals has been used before, like in Avavtar the Last Air Bender, but other than the fact that obviously there are people in both stories who can manipulate, air, earth, water, and fire, there are no similarities between these two worlds. There are elements in Burn that echo themes in  X-Men series, with regard to what would happen to Elementals if they were forced to register their powers with the government, but I think Klune’s take on the whole thing is unique and vivid. By vivid, I mean, I can picture what’s happening as I read the book like it’s a movie. That is a rare thing, and it is especially exciting to be able to visualize the elemental fighting that goes on in this book like you are standing right there in the thick of it.

“The windows along the apartment wall imploded, glass flying in arcing shards across the room. Brick and mortar and dust filled the air. I was knocked off my feet and thrown against the sofa that lined the back wall. The twins landed on their backs near the door. Seven was mid-jump and reaching for me when the blast threw him across the room. Jason was hurled toward his kitchen, his gun falling from his hands. Cold air spilled into the apartment, and I sat up dazed, wondering where the wall had gone. Had it always been completely open to the street like that? I shook my head and felt it rattle. Seven groaned my name, and I snapped back to reality.” – Burn, (Chapter 7, page 245), by T.J. Klune.

I loved this book, but I will warn you of one thing: as the reader, you spend a lot of this book in perpetual angst. Felix frequently talks to the reader as if all of what you are reading about has already happened, and he is looking back on it. When he is reminiscing, he eludes to bad things that happen later on. So you as a reader spend a great deal of time wondering what the F&%! is going to happen. As early as page 15, you get:

“I WONDER now, with everything said and done, if things would have been different had I remembered what the Tree had told me. Would I have made the same decisions, the same mistakes? Where would I be, had I remembered? Had I listened? I have learned in my short time here on this world that we as humans are all capable of a great many things, our minds able to process so much. Too much, really. But our greatest curse, our greatest folly, if you will, is our ability of hindsight.
Of regret.
Oh, Seven. How I wish I would have known.” – Burn, (Chapter 1, page 15), by T.J. Klune.

Oh, Seven, oh Seven, oh Seven. I spent the entire book wondering what the heck was going to happen to you. It was agony. Plus this is a three book series, so of course, not everything is resolved at the end of this book. I cried a lot at the end of this book. Really a lot. There were some amazing and unexpected twists and turns at the end of Burn. I was left unfulfilled, and cursing T.J. Klune because I know I am going to have to wait till the end of book 3 for a resolution on most of what happens in Burn. T.J., could you have ended everything on any more of a cliffhanger? I’m in knots just thinking about it. It’s going to be tough waiting it out for Elementally Evolved books 2 and 3, let me tell you. Especially since Klune announced on Goodreads that he’s taking a short break from writing. All I can say is: T.J., The suspense is killing me, and I can’t wait for books 2 and 3. Whenever they come out, I am so there.

e-book, 1st Edition, 364 pages
Published February 6th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13: 9781613723562
edition language: English
url:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2762
series: Elementally Evolved #1

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