About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Versus Evil - With A Twist

Burned: Volume 7 in the House of Night series
P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin (2010),
Hardcover, 384 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible
Burned House of Night P.C. and Kristin CastThe first thing I noticed about the novel, Burned, is the quiet elegance of the dust jacket design which you can see to your left, courtesy of the publisher. Pictures of the previous six novels grace the back cover.  Yes, once again I find myself reading a series but not starting with the first book. Since I'm new to the House of Night series, this will be a good test to see if this book can stand alone.  A well-written series book should be able to stand alone, but some series books other than this have failed the test.

The next thing I noticed: the inside of the dust jacket could double as a poster.  No doubt, some teens will love that feature. And even stripped of the dust jacket entirely, this is one very nice looking book. Front, back and spine boards are illustrated in a design that coordinates with, yet does not duplicate the design used for the dust jacket. That's a nice change from the plain, undecorated covers used on so many books these days.  So much for the impressive appearance... now to get at the contents.
Burned hooked me at once and has been an interesting read. The characters, for the most part, are well developed, and believable. However, at times, the teen-speak seems a bit too mature for the characters. While not entirely flawless, the writing is very well done. I'm fairly sure that fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight will probably love the House of Night series, while those who don't love Twilight aren't likely to love Burned either. As for me, I'm very interested in what contemporary writers are doing with vampires; this is quite different than the prototype, Count Dracula, and highly enjoyable. This book makes me want to round up the entire series so I can read them in order.

While the basic plot of Burned is good versus evil, which is probably the oldest plot in the universe, this mother-daughter team approaches the ancient battle from new directions and with intriguing characters. This easy to read, fairly fast-paced tale has it all; the good, the bad, the aggravating... right down to some scenes being a little too drawn-out. Now for that test I mentioned a few paragraphs back... While Burned doesn't entirely fail as a stand alone novel, some references to past events (probably described in one or another of the previous six novels) could do with a bit more explanation.

I highly recommed the House of Night series to fans of vampire literature and to those looking for something different to read. While starting with Burned is possible, it's not the best place to begin this series.  Instead, go back and read Marked first, followed by the other volumes of this series in order of publication (Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted), ending with Burned. That way, you won't get a lost feeling when some of the past events are mentioned.

The publisher has also graciously allowed me to post links to the video trailer, the song from the trailer, and first chapter of the book, all of which you will find below. A finished copy of the hardcover first edition of this book was provided to me free by the publisher in exchange for this review. The text of this review has simultaneously been published on Dragon Views and LibraryThing, including the links to the extra bonus material. I will probably also post the text of the review sans the good stuff on Amazon.com.

Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmJjEDZJkYc

Song: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/pages/downloads.html#songs

First chapter: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/pages/burnedxrpt.html

House Of Night Website: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/index.html

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