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Written by Patrick Ness

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Burn Review

Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Star Books

Tour-de-force of page turning fantasy set in an alternate Cold War era world where dragons exist

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021

Double Carnegie winning Patrick Ness proves yet again how effortlessly he can weave a tale that juggles apocalyptic themes and astonishing action with the truly personal sphere of beliefs and actions while dealing with issues as powerful as racism, homophobia and the morality of war and underlaying it all with deeply tender stories of love. Sarah Dewhurst, finds herself at the centre of an age-old prophecy about humans and dragons, as revealed to her by Kazimir the sardonic Russian Blue dragon hired by her father in a last-ditch attempt to save their farm from bankruptcy. She also learns that an assassin is heading her way, sent by Believers who want the world emptied of human obstacles to the dragons’ dominance. Malcolm, the putative assassin, was raised from childhood in the cult and his evangelical determination to carry out his mission is matched only by his internal regrets for the life that he might have had. The plot twists and turns and grips the reader in a vice and the multiple perspectives, including the FBI agents on Malcolm’s trail, create an intense and captivating reading experience. Every character is given nuance and depth, even the extremely unpleasant Deputy Kelby has a recognisable psychology. There are no long pages of exposition, the writing is as spare and beautifully crafted as we have come to expect and yet the world building is entirely credible as well as fascinating. While the book stands satisfactorily concluded there is a tempting suggestion of more to come and I am sure all readers would anticipate this as avidly as I do. Highly recommended.

Joy Court

Burn Synopsis

On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957, Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron Gas Station for the dragon he'd hired to help on the farm. This dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye. Sarah can't help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn't have a soul but is seemingly intent on keeping her safe from the brutal attentions of Deputy Sheriff Emmett Kelby.

Kazimir knows something she doesn't. He has arrived at the farm because of a prophecy. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents - and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.

From the bestselling author of the Chaos Walking trilogy comes a heart-stopping story of fanaticism, hope, bravery and impossible second chances, set in a world on the very brink of its own destruction.

Burn Press Reviews

Oh man. I loved it. Absolutely loved it... Technically, it shouldn't work because there is just... so, so much. But it does work. And I think that is Ness's greatest talent as a writer. He can keep countless plates spinning but never lose the quality - the themes, the ideas, and the lovely, special moments of sweet clarity and profundity. It's hard to speak about the themes without giving too much away but Burn talks about American racism, homophobia, international relations and arms races, religion, the possibility of multiverses, creation myths... and yes, see? I told you. It's a busy book! A fabulous busy book. Also: dragons. What more could a reader want?! - The Book Bag

With two Carnegie medals to his name, Patrick Ness is a literary giant in young adult fiction, and his books remain gloriously original and unpredictable... Mind-bending in the best possible way. -- Fiona Noble - The Observer (The New Review)

A summer blockbuster of a novel: exciting, clever and moving. Somehow, Ness just keeps getting better. - Juno Dawson

I'm completely gripped by this story of revenge, redemption and dragons from the double Carnegie Medal-winner. -- Fiona Noble - The Bookseller

Wonderful and mind-blowing and exhilarating and heart-stopping. What a storyteller! I loved it! - Russell T Davies

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781406393972
Publication date: 06/05/2021
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781406393972
Publication date: 07/05/2020
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406393972
Publication date: 7th May 2020
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 384 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Recommendations: Star Books

About Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. His father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. He lived in Hawaii until he was almost six, spent the ten years after that in suburban Washington state, and then on to Los Angeles, where he studied English Literature at the University of Southern California. His main job after graduating was as corporate writer at a cable company, writing manuals, form letters and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival (this is true). If you're American ...

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