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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Book Review: BURNED by Cyn Balog

Finally!! I’ve been waiting for the release of this book for years. (Yes, that’s an “S” on the end of that word!) Exactly two years ago I read the first release in this series, “Drowned” by Nicholla Reilly (Cyn Balog‘s YA pen name.) (You can find that review here.) I immediately fell in love with the story and contacted her to beg for the next one! It’s taken some time, but the prequel to the first book–“Burned”–was released in August! Read on to find out more about Cyn Balog‘s latest release!



Spoiled, pampered Aliah has found her way to someplace very different from her technologically-advanced underground world. A place where people fight for survival, and even the king is a violent savage. The inhabitants of this place are all coming to terms with a frightening reality: Inch by inch, the kingdom of Tides is dying.

But are these people truly lost? The more time she spends with King Wallow, the more she begins to settle in, and forget the life she left behind. Still, this kingdom is not kind, and there are horrors and secrets behind every wall. Is it possible to survive, or is finding a way back home her only chance?

The Review: 

5 Stars out of 5!!! 

Holy smokes, this story is fantastic! I simply love Cyn’s writing style and knew from the start that her stories are always well developed with great characterization. And this book didn’t disappoint! 

Years ago I’d fallen in love with the land of Tides, where the land grew smaller by the year and the population dwindled right along with it. The story of Coe, Tiam, and Princess Star, and their quest to save Tides hooked me from the first line. I’ve often thought back to that cliff-hanger ending and wondered where Cyn would take the story! While “Burned” is technically a prequel to this story, we do get some answers to many (if not all) of the questions! But of course, this book leaves us with a whole slew of new ones.  

The story opens when Aliah awakens in the land of Tides, with no memory of how she got there. She’s lucky King Wallow–Evan–was the one to find her, since any outsider would have been killed. In an effort to keep her safe, Evan does his best to keep her tucked quietly away in the tallest tower of his castle, a secret to the people below. This, of course, leads to a romance between the two–Yay! We love romance!–but when he makes her his ‘secret’ queen and she bears him his first child, things go awry between them.

Aliah has longed to return to her underground home that she had wandered from so long ago. Out of concern for the well being of his queen, Evan instructs his best and most trusted friend, Buck, to search for the way back to her home. Relationships are tested and tension runs high as Aliah begins to learn the harsh truth of Tides, and uncovers the true character of both Evan and Buck. Who can she trust and how can her heart have led her so far astray? 

The end will leave you shocked and begging for the next installment in the “Drowned Series” saga!

This story had me reading late into the night and I became an irresponsible mom for the two days it took me to read it. The introduction of all the main players for the next book–“Drowned“–was exciting to see! I would suggest this book to any mature YA dystopian reader, for a small amount of language and a mild intimate scene near the end. If you’ve read “Drowned“, you won’t want to miss out on this story! 

Happy reading, friends!

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Don’t miss out on the next story in the series, “Drowned!”

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