Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Header (2)
Release Date:
May 7th 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this through Tandem Collective
Rating: 4/5 stars


In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?


Copy of book cover (20)Burn is the latest release from acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness. The story is set in world where humans and dragons co-exist and the story follows Sarah Dewhurst, a young girl whose father has hired a dragon to help on their farm. Sarah soon learns the dragon has other reasons for coming to the farm and she finds herself entangled in a prophecy to stop a war that could threaten the whole planet. But Sarah and Kazimir aren’t the only ones who know about this prophecy, when an assassin arrives at the farm Sarah must fight for her life and those she loves.

Burn is my third Patrick Ness book and definitely my favourite. I loved this unique and engaging idea – 1950s America where dragons and humans have to tolerate each other. It’s a fascinating tale and tackles a whole range of themes from racism, homophobia, grief and family. The world building in this book is truly superb. The dragons and humans idea worked so well and felt very natural. I loved that Ness gives the reader a chance to learn a bit about dragon history too. I found this really intriguing and added another layer to this complex tale.

The story is quite a fast-paced one, with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I ended up reading the book pretty quickly, especially the latter half of the book as the tension began to climb. Ness has created a gripping tale with quite a few surprise twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.

Burn features a really fascinating cast of characters. I really liked our main protagonist Sarah, as well as scholarly dragon Kazimir. Assassin Malcolm is probably the character I liked most. His story arc is really engrossing, as he goes from a member of the cult like Believers to an assassin. There is an immense amount of character growth in this book and it really kept me hooked.

Burn is an addictive read than fans of Patrick Ness are absolutely going to love. I definitely didn’t want it to end and if you’re curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up!
4 Stars

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