Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't Worry About Burn Out!

The sun sustains our life, but if it were just a smidge closer to us, it could be the death of our delicate little planet. In Kristi Helvig's Burn Out,  the planet is a scorched wasteland, but one girl refuses to give in. 

Tora Reynolds is the only one left on earth. The sun was knocked closer to earth and has become a Red Giant, burning everything in its wake. Her father, a weapons developer for the government, made sure they would have a safe place to hide for when things eventually went bad (really bad). He planned to protect the whole family, but when her mother and sister died out in the sun, it was just him and Tora. Until his final meeting with the people who wanted their guns didn't go so well. Now, in an underground bunker full of the most dangerous weapons on earth, space, and everything in between, she imagines she will last here for a while, but she has a bottle full of pain pills for Plan B in case everything falls apart. 

When Markus, a family "friend," shows up looking to trade with Tora, she turns him down. His deal, the weapons for a ride off the scorched hell hole that Earth has become, is tempting, but she won't let anyone get their hands on those guns and ruin yet another planet. He isn't happy about being turned down, and he returns with a band of mercenaries ready to take the guns from her by force. Tora knew her father trusted Markus, but she was always skeptical about his loyalty. Now that he is ready to kill her for being between him and the guns, she knows her instincts were right. But the idea of a planet with abundant water is very tempting. First things first. If Tora is going to make it to the new planet, she is going to have to trust someone else, but that isn't all that is standing in her way. 

Helvig's debut science fiction, post-apocalyptic story was a real knock out! It was so action packed, which is the exact opposite of what you would expect from a burnt out wasteland. Tora was a brave girl to keep going on in such a world, but she was one tough cookie. The fact that she wasn't afraid to get into a shoot-out with heavily armed mercenaries certainly demonstrated that tenacity! I couldn't get enough of her, but sometimes I wished things would go a little better for her. Just once, can't the girl catch a break? 

This would be a great book for any kid who likes action-packed books and loses interest easily, because it never seems to slow for a even a moment. There were certainly some unanswered questions by the end, so I hope Helvig continues with the story. The supporting characters were just as interesting as Tora and Markus, so you won't be let down when the action centers around all of them. And the idea of the sun finally being the impetus of our demise is more terrifying than you think! You won't take that sunshine for granted again on a beautiful spring day!

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