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The Burn Zone (Haan #1)

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  254 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, humanity was headed for extinction--until an alien race called the haan arrived. And then the real trouble began.

It's been a rough day for Sam Shao. As part of a program that requires humans to act as surrogates to haan infants, Sam has been genetically enhanced to bond with them. So when three soldiers invade her apartm
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Roc
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,208)
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Cat Russell  (Addicted2Heroines)
The Burn Zone is a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi debut full of twists and turns that will constantly leave you guessing.

Decker has created a gritty and complex world where the cities are overpopulated and the people are poor and starving. Most blame the declining conditions on the alien race now inhabiting their world, while some cling to the hope that they may be the answer to their salvation.

Sam, the story's protagonist, is a surrogate mother to the haan infants and one of their supporters
Nicole L Bates
Apr 08, 2013 Nicole L Bates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sff
The Burn Zone is an intense science-fiction thriller set in the futuristic city of Hangfei. Sam, her friend Vamp, and the haan called Nix take you on a roller coaster ride that suddenly drops out from under you in the last few chapters. The twist at the end is shocking as well as intriguing; it will leave you pondering for days. The technology is cool and the writing is fearless. I loved this book.

I read the prequel novella, Ember, before starting The Burn Zone (TBZ) and though it’s not necessar
Feb 12, 2013 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Burn Zone plops you down in an Asiatic coastal city and keeps you running from the first chapter to the last.

Xiao-Xing 'Sam' Shao is a high-rise window washer and a surrogate for haan infants, she's waiting for her guardian to come home on military leave when he shows up early and soon other military are banging down the door to arrest him. Dragan would never turn traitor, Sam is sure of it, so after he's taken Sam takes to the city streets to find him.

The world building is done exceptiona
Feb 13, 2013 Mihir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

Overall Rating = 3 & 1/2 Stars

ANALYSIS: The Burn Zone is a book that managed to register itself on my radar due to its intriguing blurb details. I earlier didn’t know that this book was by the same person who had previously written the Revivors trilogy. I had read the first book and while I wasn’t able to review it, I was impressed by the author’s imagination and story settings.

The Burn Zone begins on an alternate Earth, which is remarkably simi
Nov 25, 2013 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Earth now has 15 billions people, and an alien race called the haan to support. Everything is rationed, some areas are under military governance, and something - to Sam, at least, who just saw her guardian being arrested for a false charge - is not quite right. As she tries to find him, the balance between human and haan needs seems to become unbalanced. The haan already take the majority of the food, leaving humans starving, in exchange for the technology and promised defense they wanted.

M. Shannon
Jan 22, 2013 M. Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, 2013
*** I received this book through Goodreads First Read Giveaway Program ****

Wow. That about sums up this book. I am not the target audience for this book, but I found that I could not put it down. It was a thrill ride that had you moving around, dodging bullets and rooting for the good guys to win. I don't typically read many straight sci-fi novels. Normally if there is anything sic-fi about the novel I am reading there will also be a love story or romance at the center. And although there was a
Carl V.
Feb 11, 2014 Carl V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a future dominated by overpopulation, starvation and ecological disaster, the devastating impact of an alien ship crash landing on Earth could have tolled the death knell of the human race. Instead the haan brought with them the advanced technology needed to bring humanity back from the brink of extinction. Since that time the haan and humans have shared an uneasy coexistence. The haan ship remains behind a protective barrier, dolling out tech to the people of Earth in exchange for the bulk o ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

Sam Shao had an unspeakably awful childhood, and when she was rescued by a soldier named Dragan, she thinks that there may be chance for happiness after all. Now 20, she enjoys her arrangement as a surrogate for haan infants. Her DNA has been altered to allow the surrogate bond, and taking care of these little creatures gives her a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment that she may never have had if it hadn’t been for
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
Sam is a surrogate to a Haan infant, taking care and bonding with the child till he/she reaches a certain age. Sam is bonded to each surrogate through a mite connection which enables Sam to feel what the Haan child feels and vice versa. Sam’s main source of income is the surrogate program providing for her and her guardian/adopted father Dragan. The book starts instantly with a bang, with Dragan returning home from one of his military trips, telling Sam they must get out of Hangfei. Three milita ...more
This is dark, gritty science fiction - set in a not too pretty future where the planet is overpopulated and people are starving due to there not being enough food. And as if that were not bad enough, humans have to share the very limited resources with a race of alien beings in exchange for newer, better technology. The truth, however is far more complicated. This was like a cross between Bladerunner and The Matrix. I'm not sure how well the answers all came together at the end and I feel like s ...more
Ms. Nikki
3.5 Stars

Started out a little slow, then fast, then slow and... Yeah, it had some pacing issues, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I could easily see this as a move. Aliens supposedly crash land on a human planet at a time that the planet is not doing so well. However, the Haan's, that's their name, are willing to make things better for them, but at the same time, they are eating them out of house and home. One Haan doesn't want to share the planet and has other plans that are set into motion. It ha
Mar 01, 2014 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library-ebook, imo
Good action, fairly well-developed girl-woman as the hero (shero?) It helps to read the prequel novelette to set the stage for her motivations. There are, however, lots of unanswered questions about the reality of the world, and it feels like we just have to take it on faith. Still, it was compelling enough to jump right into book #2.
Jan 20, 2013 Sasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First I would like to state that I have received this book through the goodreads giveaway. I received this book and began reading it and could not put it down. This book was a wonderful, top notch read and a great story line. The charters that are very well portrayed and thought out. This is a most wonderful read . I highly recommend that anyone read this book. The author pulls you into the book from the beginning and you don't want to put the book down. When you are finished you wish you weren' ...more
Jeanne Boyarsky
Oct 25, 2014 Jeanne Boyarsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Cochran
I honestly would have liked to have given this book 4 stars but the flow had me lost at times, especially the action scenes. I was lost in the translation when it came to describing the fight scenes, for instance - someone got hit and were floored... in a daze and then they were across the room doing something else. What just happened? Anyway, to sum it up - good book not 4 star worthy. I will try the next one only because I enjoy trilogies.
Keith Beasley-topliffe
The Burn Zone starts out well. Sam Shao is an interesting character/narrator, a young woman who works as a window cleaner and is also a surrogate mother for an alien baby in a not-too-distant future dystopic Asia. But then it begins to go down hill. The world is unrelentingly bleak, with horrible living conditions and strictly rationed food (and in this society, Soylent Green is dissidents). Hardly any other characters can be trusted. And by the end, Decker, too, has undone almost everything he ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Navem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this from Goodreads in a give away. Thank you!!

I wasn't to sure about this one going into it. I surprisingly enjoyed it. I tend to like sci-fi, especially if its original and well written. I think this book was a nice mixture of both. It read to me as a movie and I could picture it playing out in my head. I enjoyed the characters and I would pick up a sequel if the author continues the story.
Feb 12, 2014 Rena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exciting book with lots of adrenaline. I normally don't read sci-fi, don't really like alien stuff, too creepy. But I read this because of the strong female MC. I liked how the author conveyed Sam's motherly instincts for her alien foster baby. It was really nice to see how she cared and worried about it and this seemed genuine from the writer. I also thought her day job as a window washer was interesting (although a very minor part of the story). Never read a book with a character that had that ...more
Amy Coles
Apr 03, 2014 Amy Coles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been the first novel by James K Decker that I've read, and I was pleasantly surprised! The idea of a novel about aliens living with people in a futuristic world seems like a very cliché idea, which is why I was skeptical about the overall book. But after getting into the first chapter, I realized that this was different. This novel instantly hooks you and reels you in with nonstop action right from chapter one all the way through to the last page.
The story is written in first person by
Ann Wilkes
Feb 19, 2013 Ann Wilkes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review on
Jan 30, 2016 Sars rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-sf
2.5 stars

I like the characters. The setting / context is innovative. The writing style is decent.

But... I have to ask: how many naps, druggings, kidnappings, escapes, thwarted kidnappings, and assorted losses of consciousness can one person fit into 27 hours?

I don't normally do summaries, but I'll make an exception.

Sam's just a normal girl who happens to foster an alien baby. Oh no! Her dad's been kidnapped and possibly killed. Sam narrowly escapes, and goes on the run. She gets captured by some
A very fast paced, action packed book, heavy on the gross-out descriptions and light on coherent world-building. This book picks up from the prequel, eight years later and is narrated in first person through the eyes of the twelve year rescued girl from Ember, now a women grown. However, it might as well as been in third person as the narration is almost exclusively as if through a camera lens, faithfully reporting dialogue and action sequences with zero introspection.

The world is horrific and p
I received this book free as a Goodreads First Reads.

This book is action-packed, gritty, and, all-in-all, a good book. The main character is tough but has a heart for her loved-ones. She is a believable character - definitely not a goody-two-shoes hero. She is at times self-serving, stubborn, & has a one-track mind - very human. (And with a background like her's, who can blame her?) However, we constantly see her put herself to the side to do what's right. Her friends are good supporting cha
While there was a little confusion at first about the history of the Haan, this book can be read as a stand alone.

Sam Shao is an amazing character (although I kept picturing her with long hair for some reason). When she is faced with the wrongful arrest and possible murder of her guardian, she hits the ground running, determined to find a way to get him back. Of course, it can't be easy or we wouldn't have a book to read. She must find a way to rely on a techno-geek almost on the wrong side of t
Dec 18, 2013 Mardel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Decker - aka James Knapp - can write one hell of a good story.

First of all, let me remind y'all, it's been almost a year since I read The Burn Zone. There are times when I read a book yet even though I am so impressed by it, I will delay writing a review for NO Good Reason. I read this long ago, and when I finished it, it kept echoing in my mind. That's a pretty good book. Now let's see if I can remember enough to write a coherent review.

Set in the future, and in Asia, life has become...ha
Feb 17, 2013 Readsalot81 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, sci-fi
3.5 Stars - Won a copy through Goodreads First Reads.

I normally don't read a lot of science fiction as a general rule, so take the review with a grain of salt. But the premise of the book sounded interesting, and I like reading out of my preferred genres every so often.

The first 1/4 of the book was the hardest for me to get through. Part of this stems from setting up the world and getting introduced to the main characters, but it did read rather slow at first, even as the action got the characte
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

This story was super action packed with lots of things going on. The ideas and concepts were really interesting. The lead female was not a very likeable character but she grew on me. Once we get to see more of who she is. The story is well written but has a few flow problems, at times it was confusing trying to catch up to the action. With that said I still enjoyed this book. It is the first in a series but there is a prequel, that
Feb 21, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, original – shades of Blade Runner – a futuristic thriller rather than straight SF, excellent world-building.
Sam is the female protagonist in this sci-fi story of a future Earth. There aren’t resources enough to feed the over-populated planet; food is often a black market currency, the homeless and criminals are rendered into the illegal and vilified “Scrapcake”. An alien ship crashes into the Earth, the (seemingly) fragile Haan trade technology for food, promising to bring humans (
I don't know if it's because I don't often read sci-fi, but the book felt really murky to me. There were a lot of sci-fi and technology terms that were immediately thrown at you from the beginning, and you basically are left in the dark as to the terms. So in this brave new world, people have "wet drives" behind their ears (so I'm imagining them to be USB drives or something, because you can plug other people's wet drives into yours...) but I wasn't able to figure that out until a lot later on. ...more
Bill Mackela
Feb 08, 2013 Bill Mackela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read-books
WOW! What a great book! I loved this story. Mr. Decker brings this world to life. He just throws you into a world that is as gritty and dark as "Blade Runner", and then you have to learn how everything operates. He doesn't make it any easier on the reader than it is on Sam Shao. Once you are able to wrap your head around what is going on, you are totally committed. You can't stop, you have to keep reading right though to the final twist, then you just say "Whew!, what a ride. Too bad it's over." ...more
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James K. Decker was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.

He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventuall
More about James K. Decker...

Other Books in the Series

Haan (3 books)
  • Ember (Haan, #0.5)
  • Fallout (Haan, #2)

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