Book Review: Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars by Shannon K. Butcher
Posted April 27, 2009on:
Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars
Author: Shannon K. Butcher
Publication date: May 5, 2009
Warning: This review contains mini spoilers. I really mean mini by that. Just small little details. Nothing that really ruins the book.
Burning Alive: The Sentinel Wars is the book I got by accident that belongs to KMont. She let me have the opportunity to read it before I had to send it back to her, so I did. (Thanks Kenda!) And since I got to read an advance copy of a book, I reviewed it, plain and simple. Here’s the blurb from the book:
“They are the Sentinels. Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes: the Synestryn. Now one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his true love.For too long, Helen Day has been haunted by visions of her own death, surrounded by flames as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her across a diner, she attempts to flee–and ends up in the man’s arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine.
The instant the Theronai warrior Drake touches Helen, the anguish he has borne for years fades away. He is determined to know why this beautiful, fearful woman has such power over him. The answer lies in his very blood–and in Helen’s as well. For together, they may become more than lovers. They may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war–and save Drake’s people.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The first time Helen saw Drake, it was in a vision of her own fiery death. So imagine her fear when she finally sees the man sitting across from her in a diner. Helen’s alarm is brought to the attention of the waitress serving her, a woman named Lexie, who is also Helen’s friend. Lexie knows about Helen’s vision, and from Helen’s sudden fear and comments deduces that Drake is the man in the vision. Lexie decides to help Helen escape the diner by distracting Drake and the men sitting with him. The distraction goes awry, and Drake realizes he has an unavoidable attraction to Helen. They are both drawn to each other–and neither knows why. When Drake touches Helen, the pain he’s been enduring all of his long life disappears. Helen soon pushes him away, and all that excruciating pain comes crashing back down upon him, crippling him temporarily until Drake’s companions make Helen touch him again. Together, they discover the how’s and why’s of this phenomenon, and it inevitably leads them to becoming a weapon for the Sentinels, and a hope for mankind.
Helen, the heroine in this story, is constantly plagued by fire. Her mother died in a house fire, her own home has burned down a few times, and even the diner in the beginning burns down. The vision of her death fuels her fear for fire, and seeing Drake in the diner only made her panic even more, because she believed he was going to watch her die soon. What irritated me was the fact that, although she eventually believed Drake didn’t want to harm her, she wouldn’t talk about her vision with him, believing he’d still watch her die, even though he had risked his life to save her. I thought she was a little daft about that. I mean, you don’t sleep with the guy when you think he’s going to watch you bite the dust soon! Her unwillingness to confront and overcome her fear of fire is a turnoff for me. Helen’s character is not as fleshed out as possible, and that detracts from being able to connect with her. I felt hardly any connection to her. She’s a bit two-dimensional and on the boring side.
Drake, the hero, is a physically strong and handsome Sentinel. Although he is not human, he is very human-like in his thoughts, feelings, actions, and appearance, which makes it easy for the reader to connect with him. He is in continuous pain, both from his grief over the deaths of so many loved ones within his 600 year lifespan, and from the fact that a trait of his race is that they collect power from all around them and store it within their bodies, much like a battery, but they have no way of using it or releasing it. So all that power builds up, and it gets harder and harder for the Sentinels to store it. When Helen touches him, she absorbs his power, absolving him of pain. This comes as good news to Drake, because is he close to dying, and only bonding with Helen can save his life.
Drake and Helen are only together for a few days and they fall in love. I’m a little skeptical about stories where the hero and heroine fall in love quickly, but I’ve learned to take it at face value.
All in all, it’s a decent book. I like the story and the ideas behind it, and I believe I’ll like where Butcher’s going with this series. There’s lots of action (of all kinds *wink*), humor, and sex. Character development needs a little work though. I give it four stars. (By the way, I need to come up with my own personal system of ratings. If you have any ideas, let me know, I’d be glad to consider what you think!)
I like the cover too!