Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

About the book:

She Escaped the Fire ... But Not the Effects of the Burn

Janeal feels trapped in her father's Gypsy culture. But everything changes one night when a brutal and powerful man named Salazar Sanso promises her the life she longs for if she will help recover a vast sum of money tied to her father.

When the plan implodes, Sanso and his men attack the gypsy settlement and burn it to the ground. During the blaze, Janeal is faced with a staggering choice.

The impact of that choice changes her forever.

Years later, the wonderful and terrible truth of what really happened that night begins to sear Janeal's soul. In a horrifying revelation, Janeal learns that nothing about her life since has been exactly what it seems. As truth rises from the ashes of her past, Janeal finds she must make a new life-or-death choice. But this time, escape is not an option.

My thoughts:

Having enjoyed the previous Dekker/Healy collaboration, Kiss, I had really high expectations of Burn. The premise behind Kiss was so interesting, and I just knew the Burn would be just as good. Well, it was good, but not great. There were a couple of instances that I found myself struggling to stay engaged in the story, which I think could've been helped by a better editing job.

In typical Dekker style, though, Burn had a high level of suspense, and there were times when I completely got thrown for a loop when the story took an unexpected turn. The bad guy was very bad indeed, and his fascination with Janeal was down right sinister. There were also some supporting characters that had some pretty deep secrets, and that was just enough to keep me turning the pages.

My biggest disappointment came with the lack of the Gospel that was presented in the story. This is probably the biggest thing that has bothered me lately with a lot of new Christian fiction, and the only thing I can attribute it to is that Christian publishers are trying to gain new readers that don't like a lot of preachiness in their books. Furthermore, this is the third book by Thomas Nelson that has been read in my family that had a very flimsy Christian message, and that really bothers me.

If you like a good clean suspense novel that's got a touch of romance and not very preachy, then, I would definitely recommend Burn. If the Dekker/Healy team ever joins forces for another book in the future, I'll probably read that book, too, but my expectations won't be quite as high.

4 Stars

Burn was published in January 2010 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


  1. I couldn't get into KISS.

  2. Bummer, CeeCee. Kiss held my attention so much more than Burn did.

  3. That cover creeps me out. lol

    I don't mind the trend to not being outright "preachy" because I think that gives books a crossover appeal. What I do think the books should have is a redeeming message that comes across clearly ~ and doesn't shy away from mentioning Christ ~ especially if it is being published by a mainstream publisher.

    I have been a huge fan of some of his books. Some I just haven't been able to get into.

    Great review - thanks for sharing.

  4. Lee,

    I see what you mean about the cover being creepy. Some of his other books have not-so-creepy covers, but they can cause your imagination to run wild with wonder. :o)

    Burn does have a redeeming message, but it's just so muted when compared to all the evil and sinful natures of most of the characters. I guess I just expected more...that's all.

  5. I can see your point. That was my problem with... I think two of the books I read. It seemed like they focused more on the evil than the good. If that makes any sense. Anyway - that isn't what I meant by not being preachy.

    What I meant is that sometimes it seems like in the middle of the novel all the action stops so a character can give a sermon - even if it seems out of character for them or the situation. They're running for their lives - the bomb is going to go off if they don't diffuse it in the next 5 minutes... and suddenly one of them gets it. They need to get right with God. So they start off a speech about how wrong they've been and how much they need God - and the other people encourage them and share verses - everybody hugs and prays - then they cry - then back to the bomb or the chase.

    It just doesn't seem realistic and I think it hurts our ability to share our faith in a genuine way through our fiction. It's fine for us to read (sort of - I still think it's silly) but it doesn't offend me. However, if we can integrate the message in a more... subtle and realistic way... then maybe it could be something non-Christians would read and even be willing to talk to us about. That's what I meant.

    Now am I advanced enough to pull that off? Doubt it. I'll probably have my share of sermonizing. We'll see.

    In any case, you always give thoughtful reviews and I look forward to reading them. Thank you. :o)


I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)