First off, let's start off with the official synopsis and cover for Burned!
“Tell Sheffield that Medved is hunting him…the Bear is coming.”
Nearly a month after Lucy Sullivan saved the Donovan Circus from certain death, she discovers that Dr. Felix Hardy wasn’t the only bad guy around. When Lucy is attacked on home ground, Sheffield Donovan reveals that there are bigger foes in their world, gifted that use their powers to kill others – including her own family, as she learns from her ringmaster mentor. Medved, a Russian thug and powerful Shapeshifter, is intent on outing the gifted world and will stop at nothing to succeed.
In order to survive, Lucy and her friends must travel to another show, the Grayson Circus, for help. The uneasy alliance with owner Albert Grayson comes with potential new friends and dark secrets about their competition, including a troublemaker named Mel and an old flame of Lucy’s father. Lucy must also contend with her feelings about Keegan and Gabriel, as well as learn how to contain her rampant emotions or risk setting the entire place ablaze.
Will Lucy be able to save the Donovan Circus again? Or will Medved and his men slaughter everyone in their path on the way to gifted domination?
**Add Burned on Goodreads**
Can we talk, yet again, about this cover for just a second. How cool is that?! Seriously one of the coolest covers I've ever seen. The covers from this series are ultimately what spoke to me while checking out Gifted! Cover is circus-themed, with a burning Ferris Wheel right smack dab in the middle of the cover, what more could you ask for? Seriously. Another one that's going on my list of favorite book covers! If I ever write a book, I know who I'm contacting, just saying!
*I just talked to Liz about her book covers and this was the response I got:
"GIFTED cover was done by my BFF Erica Dickson (who also did the Witch Hearts cover and will do [UPCOMING NOVEL] one), but BURNED was done by a good friend of mine and the Art Director of my company, Caroline McKean. I actually won a cover from a designer so I'm debating on whether to ask her to do [Book 3 of Donovan Circus]. We'll see, that's a little ways away :) I'm extraordinarily lucky to know such talented people!!"
Now that we've read the synopsis and seen that AWESOME book cover, let's learn a little bit about out author, Liz Long:
Find Liz Long
Before we get to my thoughts, check out the official book trailer for Burned here:
Pretty cool, huh? Book trailers are always awesome to watch!
My Thoughts on Burned:
Confession: I binge read Burned, I should probably be ashamed. But I am not. I'm Ethan and I have a problem: I. Love. The Donovan Circus Series. Everyone reading this. Be you a man, woman, child, teen, adult, American, Russian, or from another planet: READ THIS SERIES. I cannot stress this enough. If there was a 6th star, this novel is it!
I already explained my love of all things circus and paranormal in my last post, so this one will be a little shorter as I am going to jump right in with my thoughts on Burned!
When it comes to new characters, Burned has it all, PLUS some. The book's new villain, Medved, is really a bear, literally. Medved is a Russian Shapeshifter who prefers to shift into a giant bear to slaughter his enemies. Medved doesn't play around, he is the Genghis Khan of the gifted community! Pillage and rape, slaughter with no consequences: that's Medved! And here I thought Felix was a scary enemy! Liz and I have actually talked at great length about the character of Medved. I won't go into any details here so that I don't spoil anything in her future works, but this guy has one MESSED UP back story making him seriously evil. During a recent conversation with Liz, she had this to say about the development of Medved's character: "Honestly, my first and most important thought for the villain was that he would be truly gifted this go, as opposed to a human wanting to be gifted. I also picked a gift we hadn't really seen much of other than Fin's quick change up. To me, a Shapeshifter can obviously be just as dangerous seeing as how they can transform into whatever they want. I wanted the biggest, scariest thing that could be a rational threat and a bear was the immediate choice. Can stand on 2 legs, be ferocious on screen, and match up to Medved's human personality. I wanted this villain to be the opposite of Felix in every way. Where Felix had brains, Medved has brawn. Felix is obsessed because of personal reasons and wanted to control everyone - Medved seriously does just want chaos with a gifted reveal to the world." What an insight to Liz's mind! Medved really is a very complex character and I really enjoyed reading all about him. I really hope that Liz shares some more of his story with the rest of her readers eventually!
Villains aside, Liz gives us a whole new circus fell of people including a new Unbreakable (and love interest for Delia) and a family of Lightbringers who really play a super important (and very emotional) role in our story! One awesome character to watch for (and maybe my new favorite) is Elias. I won't say anything else about him to prevent spoilers, but watch his character! Miss Nance also gets a huge promotion in the cast of characters for book two and I am really excited to see what book 3 brings us for her story!
**Note: to anyone who may be confused by the lingo in this review, Liz has an awesome Gifted glossary written up on her official website. I encourage all fans of the series to check it out at http://lizclong.com/books/the-donovan-circus-series/gifted-glossary/!
Burned deals with several big themes throughout the novel, but two of the biggest are what actually help to drive the plot in some of the most important ways. One, Lucy's coming to terms with the events of book one. While many have remarked that the events of book one should have messed Lucy up mentally, book two explores just how much the events did mess Lucy up. The events of book two can only add to Lucy's mental problems and I can't help but wonder what's in store for her psyche... The second theme is the "Lucy-Gabriel-Keegan" love triangle which actually comes to a halt in book 2 of the series. Lucy actually makes a decision (although I am still on the fence about how I feel on that front). Like I said in my last review, Liz does not make the romance the forefront of the story, but it plays a large role in the development of the plot so I really liked the way it went.
On that note, I do have to say something about the romance part of this novel. There IS a sex scene. *GASP* Before you freak out, hear me out. Honestly. One of the most well written "love" scenes I've ever read. Liz is not a fan of writing sex scenes so she does what's called the "black-out" method, which allows the reader to fill in the blanks. Liz merely "implies" what happens without giving ANY explicit details. That means this book is still safe for many genres and age groups, however I still place it within the upper YA-NA category!
One of my favorite scenes from the novel features Lucy interrogating a group of the Greyson Circus' clowns with hilarious results. Including a nod to passing around the "community flask". Liz definitely has a sense of humor and plays off of some strong stereotypes which is hilarious.
The storyline of the novel actually finished up with a very interesting ending that paves the way for several more books in the series. After more emails from Liz, I can happily report that book three is well on its' way to coming to us! We can hopefully expect it next Spring! I can't speak for anyone else, but I will say with certainty that this fanboy will be reading every one of the Donovan Circus books. I will also say this again from my first post: another thing I really could not stop thinking about while reading this is the enormous possibilities this series have if it were adapted into a television show. I often think about that with books and think that this would DEFINITELY go over great as a TV series. To any TV people out there *flashing light here*!
Overall, another absolutely amazing book from Liz Long. Burned is everything I was expecting, and much, much more. It isn't often that a series gets better with each passing book, but Liz Long has definitely hit a home-run out of the Big Top with this one! I cannot WAIT for you guys to check out Burned for yourselves! Be sure to come back and let me know what you think! Also, hit up Liz on Twitter or an email and let her know what you thought of the novel! She is such a great lady and is so awesome to her fans. My biggest regret is not spending more time with her at UtopYA when we met a few weeks ago. Liz is very quickly becoming one of my all time favorites! Keep a watch on Liz Long everyone, one day she'll be the author on everyone's mind, I have no doubt!
Alright guys, now that you've read all about Burned, you probably want to know where you can get your hands on a copy for yourself! As of right now the book is available in both ebook and print format from Amazon! Here's a promo graphic for where you can get your copy of Burned today! Feel free to share/use this graphic! Click the graphic to be taken to the Amazon page!
What would an awesome review be without an even more awesome giveaway to follow? You read that right, it's GIVEAWAY time!! Up for grabs this time are 2 ebooks of Gifted (book one in the series)! 4 super easy entries available. You guys know the routine! Fill out the Rafflecopter below!
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Alright guys, that's all I have for you on the topic of Burned by the amazing Liz Long! I would really love to hear from anyone who reads this incredible novel so we can talk all about it! After you read it be sure to review it on both Amazon and Goodreads! Review always are huge helps to authors. Recommend this to friends, they won't be disappointed! Until next time, Happy Reading!