Published: February 1st 2014 by HachetteAU
Format: Paperback, 406 pages
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
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Is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?
Inside the Dome, Partridge has taken his father's place as leader of the Pures. His struggle has led him here: he is intent upon bringing down the Dome from the inside, with the help of a secret resistance force. But things are not simple from his new position of power and he finds himself tempted by his father's words: perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome - and Partridge - to rule it...
As Partridge's resolve weakens, Pressia and Bradwell continue piecing together the clues left to them from the time before the Detonations. It is their hope that they will be able to heal the Wretches - to free them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome's oppression once and for all. But everything they struggle for depends on Partridge.
The bittersweet conclusion to the Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott, Burn pushes our beloved cast of characters to their absolute limit. At times heartwarming and others heartbreaking, this book will pull at your heartstrings.
We left Pressia, Bradwell, El Capitan and Helmund in a mysterious compound in Fuse, and in Burn we take up with them immediately, learning secrets that will change the world forever. Meanwhile, Partridge takes over the Dome after his father’s death, but he soon finds that his dreams won’t become realities as easily as he’d hoped, and he finds opposition and betrayal everywhere he turns.
All the characters stay true to themselves – Pressia’s optimism and valour, Bradwell’s anguish and strength, El Capitan’s guilt and loyalty, Partridge’s goodness and naivety, Lyda’s desperation and courage. They’ve always been brilliantly crafted and genuine characters, and I think their fates play out to their inevitable conclusions in this book.
In particular, Partridge and El Capitan struck a chord with me. Partridge is quite idealistic and he thinks he’s going to quickly change things for the people inside the Dome since he’s been outside and seen what it’s like. Although I understand his impulse, it was frustrating to see how everything he did just made it worse.
El Capitan and Helmund, brothers who are fused together, are the most arresting characters in the series, and although Baggott had great interactions between them in the last book, she surpasses herself in Burn. Helmund can only repeat what his brother says to get his thoughts across, and you’d think this would limit him, but he’s one of the most expressive characters in the cast. El Capitan carries a lot of guilt inside him, and it was good to see him work through some of it with his brother.
To go hand-in-hand with the wonderful characters is the “grotesquely beautiful and beautifully grotesque” world. A world where nuclear detonations have destroyed most forms of life, and irrevocably changed what’s survived. People live on untouched inside the Dome, believing they were chosen by God to survive the disaster unblemished, while outside the Dome the wretched, who were unprotected at the time of the detonation and fused to whatever they were near, eke out a living amongst the destruction. Once more it is almost jarring to realise that everything inside the Dome isn’t perfect, and that the society is held together by a few lies.
The narrative explores exactly how the detonations came about and what Willux’s plans were for the Dome before he died, all of which speak to the meticulous planning that has gone into these books. I think some people will be disappointed with the climax – either because of what happens or how it’s left a little open-ended, but I liked it because this is, after all, a post apocalyptic story and I think it’s a little silly to expect a rosy conclusion all nicely tied up with a bow.
I think Burn is an amazing conclusion to what has been a mind-blowing series. The grim world is perfectly balanced with the hope of rebirth and renewal. With the way this book ends, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a sequel trilogy or similar – I think there’s a lot of material in the secondary characters, especially the next generation!