Burn Out by Kristi Helvig

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Title: Burn Out (Burn Out #1)
Author: Kristi Helvig
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 272
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

Summary:
Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence. 

My Thoughts: 
I'm actually very surprised that I've heard little about Burn Out. It's definitely a gem of a read that deserves some more love! Kristi Helvig's YA debut is a suspenseful and heart-pounding post-apocalyptic meets science fiction novel, the kind that you definitely cannot put down until you're finished. Burn Out has such a cinematic feel to it that the book simply seems to come to life!

It is 300 years in the future, and after the sun suddenly burns out, life as we know it on Earth has been irreversibly changed. Oceans, lakes, and rivers have completely dried up, and temperatures soar so high during the day that it's impossible to venture outside without a protective sunsuit unless you want to be literally burned alive. The human population has been decimated, and only the rich and prominent were able to leave Earth and travel to Caelia, another planet with water that could support human life.

As one of the very last humans still alive on Earth, Tora's had to grow up quickly to protect both herself and her father's legacy. Before her brilliant scientist father was murdered, he had created deadly biochemical weapons for the Consulate before his conscious kicked in and he deciding they were simply too dangerous for them to have. Now Tora has been left to guard these weapons that were secreted away in the underground bunker she lives in, with only the haunting memories of her family and a gun nicknamed Trigger to keep her company. 

Tora is undoubtedly a survivor, but she's also incredibly alone and in a vulnerable position when Markus, an old family friend, unexpectedly brings a small group of mercenaries with him to forcibly take away her father's weapons. But when Consulate ships suddenly descend to take them all out, Tora must form a risky alliance with her unwelcome "guests" if she ever hopes to survive and get off the planet. And even though she knows she really shouldn't, Tora can't help feeling attracted to James, one of the mercenaries. He's quiet and more reserved than the others, someone Tora wants to trust, but she's unsure where his loyalties truly lie.

Kristi Helvig's Burn Out is a fast-paced, adventurous thrill ride. Time is running out and Tora must find a way to beat the odds and make it off Earth. She can't let her father's lethal weapons fall into the wrong hands, but she may not have a choice if she wants to live. I'm absolutely looking forward to reading the sequel, Strange Skies, and finding out what fate has in store for Tora next!

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

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