4 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book.
This is the companion to a book I really loved, Stray. Eleanor, a rebel, is ready to take out the evil queen who has a stranglehold on the land and has a group of friends, both new and from the first book, to help her.
This book, while a solid read, does not have the character of the original. What I adored about Stray was the world building. Elissa Sussman had built an entire weird religion around the idea of princess purity and suppressing magic in the first book and that creativity really made the book for me. It was such an original idea! This addition does have a bit of that, but not with the intricacy of the first. This read a lot more like a standard fantasy mixed with a dystopian. A scrappy group of rebels need to take down a powerful despotic tyrant. There are questions of loyalty and hardships, a fight, and then the conclusion.
There are some shades of the original here. The rebels worship characters from an origin story from Stray, but it does not wind itself as deeply into the story as the religion in Stray, and I found that disappointing.
Eleanor is a good foil for Princess Aislynn. Eleanor is a lot rasher and bolder than Aislynn, and while Aislynn gradually had to come to the realization that her life is not ideal, Eleanor knows it right off the bat. The two girls play off of each other nicely as characters, with very different background stories and experiences.
Burn is also full of a lot of interesting secondary characters. The rebels join the characters from Stray to build a pretty solid cast of people that you do get involved with. I found there were a few too many to keep track of completely solidly, but at least they had separate personalities, which is something you cannot always say about rebels in YA literature.
Despite not being as overwhelmingly wonderful as the first, this is still a solid book and I really want to read anything else this author offers.