Burning Glass
by Purdie, Kathryn

Serving as psychic warning guard to the emperor, empath Sonya forms tenuous alliances with Emperor Valko and his younger brother, but when a growing rebellion pits the brothers against each other, Sonya must decide which one to give her loyalty to.

Sonya is an Auraseer, someone who feels other people's emotions much more strongly than her own. She is called to protect the emperor of Riaznin by monitoring the emotions of those around him, but she hasn't been properly trained in how to use her gift, and it often gets her into trouble-she almost lets peasants storm the castle and then burns down half of the quarters. While working closely with the noble family, she is stuck in between the emperor and his brother, caught between her feelings and theirs, and reminded of her duty, making her path more exciting than she ever truly wanted. Readers are thrown right into the thick of the intense, dramatic action, though Sonya often feels much younger than her 17 years, and this novel may struggle to find an audience as a result. Debut author Purdie has a trilogy planned, made obvious by the cliff-hanger ending, but it is likely to appeal only to dedicated high-fantasy fanatics. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Revolution is brewing in Riaznin, and 17-year-old novice Auraseer Sonya Petrova is the people's only hope for freedom. Sonya can divine the feelings of others, and as a result of her ability, she belongs to the empire. When the current sovereign Auraseer is executed for failing in her duties, Sonya, as the next eldest Auraseer, must take her place. In a palace of gold, marble, and amber, she becomes the ruthless Emperor Valko's sixth sense, his guard against those who seek to destroy him. The blandly drawn and oftentimes whiny Sonya quickly falls into a problematic willing-unwilling love affair with the manipulative and violent emperor. She also falls for Prince Anton, Valko's treasonous younger brother, but his attitude toward her seems indifferent. The love triangle plays out predictably and resolves, at least for now, in Sonya's commitment (described without graphic sex in one of many over-the-top ways: "Our auras entwined in a beautiful dance and affirmed the rightness of our union"); the political situation likewise plays out without much suspense. Connections to the world-outside-the-book are clear: Riaznin is certainly czarist Russia circa the revolution, while surrounding empires Estengarde, Abdara, and Shengli are analogous to France, Iran, and China, respectively; the Romska Sonya travels with correspond to the Romany, down to their coloring. Unfortunately, this debut is just another first in an epic fantasy trilogy that relies on a love triangle to bring tension to the story. (map)(Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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