Review: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2013
Don't leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she's going crazy. It wouldn't be a big surprise--her grandpa firmly believes there's a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it's begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

He's come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

He's everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head--a dragon that won't be tamed.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I don't really know what to say about this book. I was expecting an amazing story. Dragons, hello! But, really, I ended up being disappointed more than anything else. I was considering giving this book a hesitant three stars, but I don't think it deserves it because too many cliches and unsolved plot points hindered this novel's brilliant plot from reaching any true potential.

The plot of this book was beyond amazing, I really loved it. It's not enough that a book evolving around dragons comes around, so I immediately jumped for this one. A set of twins from an apocalyptic future taken over by demented dragons time travel to the present to either save the first dragon or kill it to alter the future. Sure, they both want to alter it, but they have completely different goals. Caleb wants to save it, Connor wants to kill it. And stuck in the middle is Trinity, a girl who previously had no idea that dragons even existed but is known as the girl that brings about this apocalyptic start after bonding with her dragon, Emmy. See, Trin is Fire Kissed, she bonded with a dragon so both are nearly invincible. They can communicate with each other, feel each other emotions, die when the other dies. It's a race against time for these two brothers, constantly fighting against each other and Trin's raving emotions. Really interesting, no? I was beyond excited because it sounded so interesting, which made my disappointment all the more terrible.

Firstly, the characters. I think I struggled with them a lot. Perhaps the only character I liked was Emmy the dragon, the newborn trying to learn the difference between protecting her Fire Kissed bond and killing. But I didn't like anyone else, really. Trinity was bland to me, it often seemed like Mancusi was trying to get us to pity Trinity because her mother committed suicide since she had the gift--the gift to hear voices. Trinity was impulsive and she trusted too easily. This was full of those "strange man comes out of nowhere saying the fate of the universe is in your hands" type thing and she goes along with nearly anything. Really, she's a good girl with a big heart, but she was easily led astray, taken advantage of, over-emotional, and she just couldn't stand on her own two feet the way she hoped she would. Because her mother committed suicide, she lives with her aging Grandfather. Her Grandfather reminds me of a seven year old boy who has no sense of reality and is not at all an adult figure. Sure, he loves Trinity with all of his heart, but that's about the only sign of a true caregiver that showed through in him in this book. And then there's Caleb and Connor. Both are passionate about what they do, but they're rough and slightly brutish at times when it comes to getting Trinity to go along with their different viewpoints. I liked Connor more than Caleb because he truly felt he was doing what was right, avenging his father's death and all, but neither blew me away. I was stoked for a set of cute twins from the future, but they both let me down and have issues with interpreting emotions properly as well as conveying them.

After the characterization, my biggest problem was the futuristic technology and abilities. It's one of those things where a situation was desperate for a saving grace and---oh my, gosh!---because one of the boys is from the future they suddenly pull the perfect device out of their backpack to rescue themselves! Like, really? It was frustrating to me that such things were not mentioned at all until they were need and then--bam!--they were suddenly brought into existence. Yeah, the laser guns that make people's heads melt were pretty awesome, but the Bouncer? Don't even get me started. A device that makes you jump super high if you step on it that was magically introduced to the story when Trinity was too weak to climb a fence. Perfect timing, right?! If I was from the future, I would not be creating a jumping device, that's all I'm saying. It was moments like this where sudden new abilities or technologies announced themselves only when convenient to the plot. Like the gift--the ability to push people to do things you want or speak to their mind or something like that. Honestly, I'm a little confused with it because I thought there were different kinds of gifts but apparently all people with the gift can speak to each other's minds. Whatever. Either way, you can communicate with people in your minds because suddenly--quite randomly in the present instead of the future--some babies were just born with the gift! It was not mentioned if it was a genetic malfunction, how it came about, nothing. Babies just suddenly started to be born with it! This really frustrated me.

There was a love triangle in this one, though it wasn't in your face. Still, the love connections were rather aggravating and instantaneous instead of emotionally thought out. As you guessed, Trinity is fighting with herself over the twins. She kisses them both at least once, but the end of the book left everything open. It doesn't address the prospect of who she truly ends up with in the end, which annoys me too. I hated the ending. It pretty much left most plot points unresolved. With no sequel currently in sight, this angers me. Because it's a stand-alone, you want some sort of confirmation and while the ending is not a cliff-hanger, it left me with too many why's and how's and what's. What happens to Trinity and the boys? Is the future saved or is it killed? What about the race of dragons? Too many questions, no answers whatsoever.

I suppose the only aspect of the plot that I enjoyed was the cult aspect of the Dracken. Upon immediately meeting this group of people hell-bent on protecting the dragon species, I knew it was a cult (and it'll be obvious to any reader with the ability to infer things after meeting slimy characters). But, of course, our annoyingly oblivious main character came to such thoughts way too late in the game for it to be safe. I found it interesting to explore these cult dynamics because of the psychological sways cult leaders exert over their followers in order to maintain their trust. I thought that this was a really interesting aspect of psychology in general that was explored in this book. As terrible as it is, taking a bunch of orphans with nowhere else to go and giving them a home and the feeling of acceptance? Brilliantly evil. Bravo, cult, bravo.

All in all, when I was really able to immerse myself in the plot and get over the multitude of cliches listed above, I was able to enjoy this one, but the brilliant plot wasn't enough to redeem the character flaws and situational flaws that I found littered within this book. There was very few attempts at humor to keep me smiling and the only time I cracked a smile was when I met a female dragon named Fred. Otherwise, the attempted humor and supposed action scenes that were meant to keep me on my toes did not keep my interest whatsoever. The first third of this book was really easy to get through, but the last two thirds (the ones full of the action and plot twists) were a trudge for me. This book just wasn't meant for me. I hope someone else can enjoy it because of the unique plot, but I couldn't get past certain issues in order to truly enjoy this one.

2 stars



  1. Great review, Lili! I agree on so many levels. Scorched could have been a fun, slightly cheesy dragon apocalypse, but nope. It wanted to be the kind of book in which the main character/the whole cast is dumbed down to a ridiculous degree for the sake of creating conflict and mystery.

    Am I the only one who just about rolled her eyes out of her skull at Trinity's arrival at Dracken headquarters? That she never questions how those kids got there killed me. Did she really think their parents would let their children go with time-traveling men who said dragons existed and their child could control one? Apparently, seeing as the kids have to correct her. UGH. That is book-breaking brainlessness for me.

    Her agent's website listed Scorched as the first in the series, so I guess there's going to be more after all. I know I'm not reading on. Oh, Scorched. Why couldn't you have been as cheesy-licious as your cover?

    1. Yeah, it sucked. The entire cast truly was dumbed down for the sake of creating conflict and mystery, great point!

      I rolled my eyes too. Just gah! You suck! A lot! I hate you! That's all I've got to say to the characters.

      I don't think my brain can handle a sequel to this...

  2. Bahaha, Lili, I was afraid of this. I read one Mancusi book and it was sort of okay. Like, not the worst thing I've read or rage-inducing, but just kind of meh and not very good. Thus, even though I love the dragon, I didn't hurry to get a copy of this and was totally cool not grabbing an ARC at BEA.

    Anyway, it doesn't sound like her world building/plotting has gotten much better. O_O That thing about the babies sounds annoying. All I really need is an explanation: doesn't have to be big, just believable. Like, she really could just have been like: evolution. That would have been enough for me. In zombie books I'm like that too. Obvi you can't explain zombies, but I want there to be a reason: necromancy, disease, what have you.

    Oooh, a cult. But not worth it.