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burners by Bob Mayer


by Bob Mayer

Series: Burners (1)

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218730,736 (3.83)None

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STOP! If you have not read “burners” by the same authors do so now before you start this one... Unlike some series, this excellent two-volume series cannot be jumped into half-way through (at least not in my opinion...) because you just would miss too much of the background and story development up to this point.

I haven't read a story this captivating and intriguing in quite a while. While there was one major theme was certainly was a tip of the hat (I hope...) to David Mitchell's, “Cloud Atlas”, from the use of the Greater Seattle area to the using of “cards” to delineate the respective lifespans was implemented really well. I could almost picture in my mind how the post-Chaos area felt and looked based on the authors descriptions - and the inclusion of the map really assisted in nailing it down even more. One thing I would have liked to see was the map copied from “burners” to “Prime” because I caught myself going back to the first story more then once to solidify where I thought things were.

Great read! ( )
  pjasion | Feb 12, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this ebook through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and I am so happy that I did because I LOVED it!! I honestly could not put it down, and when I wasn't actively reading it, I was thinking about it. I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next, and pondering the philosophical questions it raised about life, death, society and social class.

There's been a lot of young adult books set in dystopian futures of late, and it's not easy to come up with something new and different, but Burners really did feel like it had some different ideas, and it felt plausible based on the history that created the dystopian world the characters find themselves in.

It took me a bit of time to get used to the terminology of the world and the type of phrases and talk the characters use. A lot of card game terminologyis used, like The Dealer who is in charge of everything, Dealers who operate at the command of The Dealer and carry out his directives, and the humans in the world are "in play" being given their card on their sixth birthday (Dealing Day), a card which determines not only the date of their death, but also what their purpose will be in life. Those given white cards are The People, the most desirable class to be in. They live carefree lives in which others cater to their needs. Only one out of 100 children will be given a white card on their birthday. Most are given red cards...Burner cards, placed around their necks with numbers that begin to count down the days until their death.

At six years old, Burners are taken to hive wombs to be raised, learning to work from morning till night. They live in small cubicles in a place where they rarely see the sun, much less the stars. Their food is bland and mostly consists of the leftovers that The People don't want or need. It's a miserable life, a life without hope. Their deathdates are the nearest...their lives will end at 25, so they are called Burners who shine brightly because their candle burns at both ends. They do everything quickly, so as not to waste any time, which is so precious. The People, of course, can afford to move slowly, appreciate art and beauty and good food... they have no deathdate counting down.

The book begins when there are only 30 days until Grace's deathdate. But Grace is unusual. She has an identical twin and her twin received a white card on their Dealing Day and has lived as one of The People while Grace has worked her fingers to the bone for little reward. But Grace's sister Millay made a promise that when it was close to Grace's time to die, they would secretly switch lives so that Grace could experience the luxury and joy of living as one of The People for a short time before her life ends for good. Except that things don't go as planned. Unexpected events turn everything upside down and both girls suddenly find themselves "out of play" and on the run from The Dealer and those who work for him. The world outside of their assigned zones is frightening and mysterious filled with Jokers...cannibals who were thrown into the Void due to bad behaviour, or people who chose to fold their cards and go into the Void long before their death, a choice that is open to every person always.

The plot is tight and interesting. When the human world was hit by a devastating virus that quickly began killing off human beings, scientists scrambled to find a way to stop it, and when they could not...they hatched a plan to help mankind survive, if not flourish within the restrictions that the virus had left to deal with...deathdates. The virus remained all around them and within them, within their genes and it was an examination of their genes that established which deathdate category they would fall into... death by 25 (Burners), 50, 75 (those who are enlisted to work for the Dealers and/or work to serve The People, who have no deathdate at all.

In order to deal with the reality of these categories that seemed ingrained in their very cells, a structure of society was re-invented that seemed to make the most sense for everyone involved. Over time, people forget that there had ever been any other type of society. But now the structure is beginning to deteriorate. Less and less babies are being born and the balance is in jeopardy. The twins have something to do with it because they are twins... twins who have cards that are not the same, even though genetically they are identical.

As with many who take power in order to help, and do what they believe is right, the years of power can corrupt and create an aversion to change even when it might time to rethink the original plan. Murder and torture become tools that are justified as necessary in order to main the status quo. As with any rigid belief structure, questions are dangerous and those who have the most knowledge, hold the power. At what point does good become evil? When does salavation become oppression?

A very exciting book! Lots of food for thought and discussion! I can't wait for the sequel to see what happens next! Highly recommended, especially for those who are fans of The Hunger Games and The Divergent series. ( )
  LongDogMom | Jan 15, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bob Mayer does it again. To begin with I must admit I may be a little more familiar with Bob Mayer than others that won this via early reviews. In fact I like it so much I decided to buy this book and make it the first dual author book by him I have bought. So i've stayed away from his non-fiction and his book with Jennifer Cruise. However not only do I own 27 other books by Bob Mayer but also the citadel (1 book) and original area 51 series (9 books before Nightstalkers) by his pen name Robert Doherty and the Atlantis series (6 books) by his pen name Greg Donegan. It's interesting to note that this was written with his wife Deb Cavanaugh. Which makes me wonder if she or he has even more pen names. Onto the book itself I like the idea of death date in the future. And having to live while thinking you know when you are going to die. The only critism I can give to this book and Bob Mayer is he seems to all of a sudden just be churning out books. With prime coming out in December, burners in oct, black Tuesday in August, chasing the son in may, time patrol in February. Plus a couple non fiction books he seems to be writing 5-6+ a year now. Because of this I sometimes think the plot doesn't move along as much in a series and some books seem to sound like others. It has not gotten so bad yet that I've given up on him but it is something to watch for. However overall I definitely recommend this and other Bob Mayer books ( )
  ryanpoole | Oct 28, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of burners through Librarything's Early Reviewers program.
burners is a dystopia, set after The Chaos when humans and cyborgs fought to the near destruction of the planet. Now humanity is separated into burners, people, middlemores and evermores, according to how long they live for. The world is run by dealer who decides, according to DNA, who will live in each group.
I was quite interested in this story at first. It begins with Grace and Millay, twin sisters who have managed to swap places between burner and people. The action begins straightaway as they fail to meet up and both are nearly captured. However, the pace was not sustained and the twists and turns started to seem less convincing particularly the sudden appearance of Ruth, the cyborg, just in time to save someone from death.
At first, I was intrigued by the different sections of society, what they meant and how they had come into being. There are a lot of references to poker and to the hand you have been dealt which were interesting but could have been expanded into something more. Again as the novel progresses, I became less convinced. The explanation of how the categories came into being was a bit too simplistic and left me with questions that the novel did not answer.
Each chapter is separated into sections from the various' characters points of view. This did add to the tension but I also found it a little frustrating as some of the sections were quite short and then you were off again to another character.
The ending was sudden but I guess that is how you make someone read the next book in the series. I would have liked a bit more closure as I had a lot of questions, however, I don't think I will be reading on. While this is an interesting idea, I felt it could have been better executed. ( )
  kathpage | Oct 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a great story that kept me turning the pages. When it started off I thought "I'm not going to like this novel" as it was very dark with initially uninteresting characters. However as the plot develops so do the characters and I ended up feeling interested and involved with them and keen to know what happens next.

Others have commented on the unsatisfactory ending. I agree, to a point, although this is clearly book one in a series. I suspect it is very difficult for an author to resolve enough plot points to leave the reader satisfied after finishing book one, yet leaving enough matters outstanding to ensure they want to buy and read book two. I think this novel gets the balance about right for me and has definitely left me hungry for the next installment. ( )
  Hopback | Oct 25, 2015 |
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"My candle burns on both ends; It will not last the night. But ah my foes, and oh my friends, It gives a lovely light!" It is now 30 days until Grace's Deathday. That is the fate on the red card Grace was dealt at age six on Dealing Day. A burner. Her twin sister, Millay, was dealt a white card. A People. No Deathday. For twenty years, the sisters have lived different lives. In different places. Then there's the wild card, Ryker, a burner, who has no memories of his own past. In what was left of the world after the Chaos, mankind surrendered control to Dealer, a powerful computer that has kept society running for centuries. But truths don't come easy. And everyone and everything is not as they appear. The mantra in following Dealer's edicts: It is what it is. Until today. "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world!"… (more)

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