Khanh the Killjoy

Ludicrously bad Sci-fi

Burn Out - Kristi Helvig

Warning: Long science-related rage rant ahead >_<

Putting my trust in James would make me just as dumb. I couldn’t let him get to me no matter how amazing his abs were. Still, that sadness in his eyes—

Look, you fucking moron, a serial killer could have a sad look in his eyes right before he kills you and mounts you. Hopefully mounting in the taxidermy sense and not the sexual sense, but whatever.

I had hoped that a YA sci-fi written by someone with a Ph.D would make sense. I was tragically wrong.

This is probably one of the most outrageously nonsensical dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting I've ever read. The plot is barely worth mentioning, because it stems from one Too-Stupid-To-Live girl's idiotic inability to keep her fucking mouth shut. The book contains pseudo-science that might be believable to a 6th grader. It throws a bunch of abstract scientific bullshit at you in the hopes that something will eventually stick. The setting just doesn't make any sense on top of the inconsistencies. I will go over the setting in excruciating, profanity-filled details in a bit, but let me give you a taste of why this book is so fucking dumb.

It is 300 years in the future. We have almost no oxygen. The oceans have all boiled away. There is no water; water only exists through an artificial system that gathers up water molecules in the air and condenses it into actual drinking water. Because of this, the main character lives on...

" cup of water a day."

Let me tell you something. That's bullshit. A human cannot live on one cup of water a day. I don't care if you do nothing in your day but lie in bed, you still need a hell of a lot more water than that. Try 3 liters (or roughly 3 quarts) of water a day. One cup is nothing. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. ONE cup of water (8 ounces) a day doesn't fucking cut it. It's a biological fact.

You lose water through breathing, you lose water through your pores. It's called insensible water loss. You don't necessary see yourself sweating, but rest assured, your pores are constantly breathing water. That's why we wear cotton clothes instead of plastic clothes. Our bodies are constantly losing water and we need to ventilate.

AND YET in the middle of all this water conservation, the people in this book still sweat constantly. Every other chapter is a mention of how someone is drenched in sweat (because Earth's temperature is so hot), and you know, when you're trying to conserve water within your body, you really shouldn't be fucking exercising until you're dripping in sweat.

“Sorry, I thought I’d get a run in before tonight. Did you want to use it?” Although he looked like he’d been running for hours, he barely sounded winded.

And I don't know if you've ever ran for 45 minutes at a gym, but one cup of water a day isn't going to fucking cut it, particularly not on a futuristic treadmill.

...forty-five minutes a day on the motion machine.

The Summary:

“That’s why he made sure [the guns] wouldn’t work for anyone but me.”
Markus looked surprised by my last statement. Oops. Guess I shouldn’t have mentioned that part.

This book wouldn't have happened but for Tora's inability to keep her fucking mouth shut.

It is 300 years in the future. The sun's pretty much went boom. There's no oxygen, no water. And Tora might be...

...the last girl on Earth

She is an orphan, living in a hideout outside of the pod cities. Her father was a brilliant scientist who designed a bunch of dangerous weapons for the government (the Consulate) only to regret it. The thing is that the weapons are pretty much useless because Tora is the only one who can use them. So the future is hopeless, Tora's running out of air, she's thinking of Plan B (killing herself) when a knock on the door comes. It's a baddie, Markus. Markus wants the weapons that her father designed.

Instead of lying to him or telling him the weapons don't work, or SOMETHING, Tora decides to be a motherfucking moron and tell Markus that she's the only one who can use the deadly weapons.

I wanted to kick myself for telling him about being the sole person who could fire them.

And now after moping and whining (50% of this book is Tora doing absolutely nothing but moping and whining), Markus has come back. WITH COMPANY.

So Tora hears suspicious noises on her underground bunker's door. Instead of like, fucking shutting herself in like what you should do if you suspect there's an intruder, SHE FUCKING GOES OUTSIDE (into oven-like temperature) TO CHECK!

Something was definitely hitting the door. My heart raced. This could go very badly, but I didn’t make it to seventeen by being an apocawuss. I braced myself, took a deep breath, and pushed the door open.

MOTHERFUCKING IDIOT. So now it's a 5 vs one fight, and to make it worse, there's YET another party shooting at them. And NOW instead of running the fuck away back into the house like she should have done in the first fucking place, Tora allows the intruders to break into her bunker for safety.

Markus shrugged and had the nerve to smirk at me. “Guess we’re all on the same side now.”

But it's ok, because one of the people trying to kill Tora is James. Dreamy, dreamy James. Who just tried to kill her, but who cares, he's so hot!

His body was solid muscle. Sweat dripped down his face, his chest, his arms … he wasn’t just sort of cute, he was hot.

Her stomach goes "fluttering." Her breath catches.

James and Tora get to know each other. She should be angry with him. But the sadness in his eyes...and...

I should be angry with him, yet a small part of me liked the look on his face.

They exchange Sad Life Stories (tm) (after he tries to kill her).

“They said that the world didn’t need another worthless child to feed and they shot her, her arms still wrapped around me.”


Tora finds multiple reasons to lift her shirt off for James. Like finding a place to hide a gun.

I turned away and lifted my shirt.

And check on the state of her rib injury.

I shifted my satchel over to the other side, and lifted my shirt up a little.

And play doctor with each other.

Aside from my panties, the only things under this flimsy excuse of a gown were bandages.
“You put me in this gown?”

Will James and Tora ever find a non-medical excuse to take each other's clothes off?Both his hands slid down toward my hips and his lips almost touched mine. I was no doctor but this was definitely not part of any medical exam I’d ever seen.Or will Alec, the boy with the puppy, get in the way of their One Twoo Wuv?!

Alec couldn’t die. Somebody as decent as him had to live. He saved the last dog on the planet. Tears welled in my eyes.

The Setting: I'm going to try to type this out without laughing. 300 years ago, the sun went boom because an asteroid hit the earth but we deflected it and it hit the sun instead (?! that's a long fucking distance for an asteroid to travel, damn, son!) but the asteroid contained Dark Matter so it made the sun go BOOM and there goes life on Earth as we know it.


Ok, the "asteroid" was the size of the moon. 300 years ago is OUR PRESENT DAY. You mind telling us how the fuck we got the technology to launch a rocket that could deflect a giant asteroid into the sun? It's a long fucking way. Furthermore, a moon-sized asteroid would probably be predicted like HUNDREDS OF YEARS ahead of time, so why did it suddenly just fucking happen?! Dark matter inside an asteroid? PLEASE! Dark matter is an energy. It's a concept! It's not like a black hole, it doesn't make things explode. Dark matter just a term to explain things that we cannot actually find electromagnetically, like gravity. IT'S NOT GOING TO CAUSE THE SUN TO GO BOOM. NOT LIKE THIS.

An unexpected reaction occurred and the sun kicked into hyperdrive. It began burning hydrogen like crazy, and before anyone could comprehend what had happened, the helium in the core was exhausted.

So the sun did went boom, against all fucking odds. And now there's no oxygen on earth (?! OMG THE HEAT TOOK AWAY ALL THE OXYGEN TOO?!) and now there are no water because ALL THE SEAS BOILED AWAY. Fuck evaporation, right? Gee, the water cycle. I WONDER WHERE ALL THE FUCKING WATER MOLECULES WENT WHEN IT EVAPORATED AND DIDN'T GO OFF THE EARTH.

So the earth is hot, and if you go outside, expect to catch fire.

Please don’t let me catch fire.

There's no water, but there's a technology designed to harvest motherfucking water molecules from the air. Hmm, WHAT ABOUT THAT WATER CYCLE, HUH?!

When the ponds, lakes, and finally, the oceans had boiled and evaporated, the Consulate scientists came through with technology allowing us to glean the precious water molecules from the atmosphere.
The technology was termed Water in Air Recycling, W.A.R.

And WAR SUCKS, because you can only get enough for one cup of water per person a day. Right. Because the human body can totally live on that.

And now the oceans are gone, the animals and plants are gone, we live on gel foods. There are Pod Houses inside Pod Cities. The United States is now a Sector 5, and we're all ONE BIG HAPPY CONTINENT NOW because the oceans don't exist anymore. We have one common currency. We have one common language (which is English. So sorry, France) but somehow Tora is a rebel because she loves dropping Spanish phrases into her vocabulary.

The sun was cooking me from the inside out. I was muy caliente, and not in the good way.
Your pink swimsuit looks muy bonita on you, she would tell me. We felt like rebels using Spanish now that it was supposed to be extinct too. Gracias, I’d respond.

What do you call a Spanish weabo?


There is hyperdrive speed technology, we can travel to other galaxies, and in fact, we have found a planet that's EXACTLY LIKE OUR OWN. In the solar system Hydrus (Hydro, for water, get it?!?!?!11111). It's exactly like Earth. How very convenient.

Yes, it’s like Earth, minus the astronomical temperatures. Caelia’s sun is where ours was back before the ’roid hit it.” Markus smashed his fist into his palm like I needed a visual. He smirked. “People are already soaking up the rays—right next to the oceans.”

But don't get your hopes up, because we don't get to see anything except the inside of a bunker and a very boring ship.

Oh, and The Ultra Secret Weapon? It's powered by some New Agey HUMAN VIBRATIONS stuff. Sorry, but I have to laugh. I know it's possible, but I can't think back to my high school physics class without laughing at the concept of humans vibrating at a frequency to power a weapon.

The Plot: There was essentially no plot. Very little happens in the book besides Tora being a motherfucking idiot and pretending that she's Under The Sea.

I lay down and pretended to be submerged in the cool depths as the waves crashed above me. It was somehow harder to catch my breath down here on the imaginary ocean floor. After another minute, the need for oxygen overwhelmed me. I must have done a better job visualizing than I thought.

Or else moping and whining and giving us infodump after infodump on this post-apocalyptic world that doesn't make any fucking sense. The romance is forced, as expected, the writing is underwhelming.

Furthermore: WHY NOT JUST KILL HERSELF?! Sorry, but Tora ALREADY had a plan to kill herself because her world is about to end anyway. So she learns that she is the key to a destructive weapon, nobody can use it but her, and people can use her to destroy people, and her morals won't let her give the weapons away. So why not just kill yourself and save the trouble? Sorry if this sounds callous, but if you're already suicidal and millions of lives could be destroyed by a weapon you can fire, then why not? Ugh.

There's also girl-on-girl hate. There is one other girl in this book, and man, is she portrayed to be a jerk, a slut, a sharp-cheeked, bird-faced bitch who sits on guys' laps and does nothing except make dumb plans that gets overthrown by our beautiful, fantastic Tora.

Skip this book.