P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin (2010),
Hardcover, 384 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible
|The 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.
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.
First chapter: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/pages/burnedxrpt.html
House Of Night Website: http://www.houseofnightseries.com/index.html