Burn

Rated 4.33/5 based on 3 reviews
Alexa Bernell can do what no one else can -- or so she thought, until the Omen Project found her. Shaped by drugs and brutal training, she was their weapon. Until she got loose.

Haunted by the memories of what she's done, Alexa ran. Now the Project is hunting her. They've sent Cav, her friend, her lover, and her only confidant.

If she wants to be free, she has to kill him.
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Price: Free! USD
Words: 6,590
Language: English
About Daniel Swensen

Born and raised in the hinterlands of Montana, Daniel Swensen has written everything from cell phone advertisements to RPG gamebooks to speculative fiction. He lives with his wife Gina and two spoiled cats.

Reviews

Review by: Lisa Shambrook on Jan. 08, 2013 :
A story of supernatural ability. The main character is a very believable firestarter, and though I’m beginning to wane in the face of so many stories of ‘gifted’ individuals who go on to be ‘heroes’, this was different and Alexa is both real and struggling. You’re thrown slap-bang into the middle or her dilemma on the very first page and it’s painful.
Daniel Swenson’s style of writing is dynamic and to the point, and I wasn’t able to put this book down until its conclusion.
This is a highly recommended stand-alone story…or maybe the start of something more?
(review of free book)

Review by: Aaron Engler on Dec. 18, 2012 :
I'm someone who can easily lose interest in the work of even the most famous of authors, having to go back and re-read pages where I let my mind drift away. Not so with this book. I started it and finished without pause- my attention was hooked from the first few lines.

The character of Alexa in Daniel Swensen's Burn is both compelling and repelling at the same time. Her history gives you an understanding of where she is in her life, and why she uses her powers the way she does. It also explains her nearly psychopathic inability to connect to other people.

Although understandable, those personality traits left me cold on the character- the novella is too short for her to achieve any sense of redemption, and I was left itching for more resolution. I wanted her to be able to grow past her limitations, instead of succumb to them- but that is my own limitation as a reader- I can only be swept down the river of this story, and let it take me where it leads, despite wanting to cheer the character on to a sweeter conclusion.

It's only my frustration in not being able to really connect to the anti-social Alexa that kept me from giving this short story five stars, a failing I'll readily admit to being my own. If this were to be made into a longer story, or if there were more sequels, I'd happily throw my final star on it.
(review of free book)

Review by: Colin Kerr on Nov. 28, 2012 :
Alexa's coming of age is the near-universal experience of finding fantastic potential within oneself, and expressing it for good or not-so-good. Beyond the comic-bookish details, the point of view character, who refuses to accept the mantle of heroine, can't find a harmonious coexistence with her own capabilities. Her greatest strength, that which makes her unique is also the source of her greatest guilt, so that she becomes distrustful of people who appreciate her. The span of Alexa's life is measured by the alternating fear and exploitation attempts of authority figures. The tale sounds real and familiar, despite its supernatural elements.

If you've listened to any of Mr. Swensen's writing advice over at surlymuse.com, it will come as no surprise that he's good at creating characters and telling a story. I'm not even a writer, and I find that some of his blog posts set me pondering for days. Still, you might raise a brow at how well his voice carries through from one medium to another, how much Burn is defined by the author's contemplative nature, always accented by cynical wit. And there are moments of subtlety so fine-tuned that I can't be sure I'm not hearing voices in my head. The story's rhythm is exquisite. I hope Swensen will soon treat us to a novel this good.
(review of free book)

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