They escaped Internment, but will the ground be a refuge or a prison? When Morgan and her friends left Internment, they never imaged what life would be like on the ground. There are many new wonders, but there are also the horrors of war.
Celeste is determined to return to Internment so she can save her dying mother—and she needs the king’s help to get her home. Morgan has the ability to help Celeste convince the king to help. However, in order to help Celeste, she must betray her best friend, Pen. As Morgan struggles to make the right decision for her friends and for Internment, the war on the ground intensifies.
Soon the characters are caught in a trap of the king’s making, and they aren’t sure what will become of them. Burning Kingdoms, the second book of The Internment Chronicles, has danger, suspense, and a new set of characters.
Burning Kingdoms focuses more on the character’s relationships with each other than on the challenges of being in a new world. The story is interesting, but the world on the ground is not really unique or intriguing. The ending of the story throws in some complications—Pen’s relationship with her father and Morgan kissing Judas—however, the complications distract from the story and leave the reader wondering why they were added.
- Celeste talks about her brother. “What would they do with a prince who dreams of falling in love with another prince?” She then talks about how she worries that her brother would be sent to an “attraction camp” to cure him. “There are tonics involved and surgeries that are worse than death . . . If Papa were ever to find out, I truly worry that Az would end himself.”
- Morgan kisses Judas (to who she is not betrothed to). “He’s closer, and I reach for his shoulder. It’s jagged with bone, and I’ve wanted to touch it since the night he pinned me against that tree in the moonlight . . . My heart is like this world’s rain hitting against the window. I can’t breathe. I had thought all kisses were like the ones I’ve shared with Basil, that they started out timid and uncertain. But this one goes through the skin.”
- The story implies that Pen’s father abused her. Pen feels ashamed. “A horrible thing happened that day. You wouldn’t have understood. You were only a little girl.”
- Morgan and Pen talk about Judas’s kiss. “. . . But I realize that she’s right—that something in his eyes when he looked at me, when he kissed me, even when he plucked the leaf from my hair, was wanting.”
- Two bombs land in the middle of a busy city, killing many. “The screams have all faded to whimpers and groans; Birdie is one sobbing girl among hundreds . . . The first bomb was just to get everyone to the harbor . . . All the survivors would come here and be caged animals.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Several of the characters go into a club and get drunk. “By the fourth or fifth glass, Birdie has stopped spluttering the stuff back up before she can swallow it.”
- Several times throughout the story, the characters drink alcohol.
- Pen spends much of her time drunk. “She prefers gin to sleep.”
- A group, including Morgan, goes on a yacht and drinks champagne. Pen gets drunk and dives into the water. When Pen doesn’t resurface, Morgan jumps in after her and finds Pen unconscious.
- While in the hospital, Morgan is given something to help her sleep.
- The only profanity in the story is when a driver mumbles, “goddamn snow” during a blizzard.
- Throughout the story, there are references to Internment’s belief in the god of the sky. They believe that when someone dies, “we burn the bodies of our dead so that all the bad in them can fall away, while all the good becomes a mass of colors in the sky that can’t be seen by the living.”
- Two of the characters discuss their different beliefs. On the ground, they burn offerings. “If there’s something you really want to ask of our god, you burn something that’s of equal importance.” Once a year on Internment “we burn our highest request and set it up on the wind to be heard.” At the end of the story, one of the characters sacrifices his car, which is his most precious possession, in the hopes that god will make his sister well again.
- One of the characters tells a story about the god of the sky. “If people were going to be greedy, he could take the source of that greed away. That’s why it’s against the law for any king to pass a bill that would charge for wind or solar energy.”
- On the ground, people believe that Ehco was the first creature of the sea. “. . . The God told him [Echo] that when he put mankind in the world, mankind would sometimes ask the God for things he wouldn’t be able to do. And mankind would grow angry with him—and would grow sad, and that anger and sorrow needed someplace to go, and so it would be Ehco’s job to consume it and keep it in his body so that it didn’t destroy the world.”
- Pen and Morgan question their beliefs. “Lately I wonder if the god of the sky even heard us when we were in the sky.”
- Pen is reading the ground’s religious book, The Text. In the book, “their god creates light, and the earth and things . . . And then this god of theirs creates the first man and woman, and a page or two later their children are throwing stones and murdering each other. It doesn’t bode well for the dawn of humanity, does it?”
- The Text has a story about the ark. “Their god flooded the world to start over. So when their god doesn’t like someone, he tries to drown them.”
- When having a funeral, one of the characters is worried about not having a priest. “The priest has to say the burial prayer. If he doesn’t say the prayer, how will Riles be able to get to heaven?”