Published: September 2011
e-copy: Received for review
The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right.
She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.
"The Burn" was an interesting book that I enjoyed. I very much liked the idea that some of humanity had taken to the water - I've often thought ithe ocean is a huge untapped resource, so this was a new angle for me. The creepiness of the whole 'watcher' idea had my skin crawling - definite shades of '1984' and' Big Brother, but something that is surprisingly relevant these days.
I enjoyed Terra's character, but I did have an issue with the way she immediately seemed to trust, and be trusted by, almost everyone. I can't imagine anyone with the type of handicap she had (sorry, not saying what it is) being so comfortable, so quickly with such a diverse group of people. That could just be my distrustful nature though! I did like the relationship between Dave and Mary - the uncertainty there really rang true to me and was well done, and all of my OMG moments were cleared up nicely by the end. I think my biggest problem with the story was that it was too short. If it had been longer, Ms Oldham would have been able to flesh out the characters just a little and have added someback story to the group that Terra ends up with. I found myself wanting to know more about some of the minor characters - Jack in particular - and more about the ever circling 'government'. Where did the helicopters come from - why were there food drops if people were being picked up for labour camps?
If, on the whole, 'The Burn' was a little bit predictable with things developing a touch quickly, it was never-the-less an interesting read that I would recommend to dystopian lovers, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else Ms Oldham has for us in the future.