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The Sixteen Burdens

(The Burdens Trilogy #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A secret society. An indestructible madman. And an odd young man cursed with powers to end the world.

When Gray Studebaker discovers a pattern on the movie-star maps he sells on the street corner, he thinks he's solved Hollywood's biggest crime mystery of 1939. Instead, he stumbles into a secret world where society's greatest figures share a fiercely guarded secret: They're
Paperback, 316 pages
Published October 30th 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author David Khalaf.)

This wasn’t a bad book, but I did struggle with it a bit. The characters were well developed, and the plot was also well thought out, but I struggled to keep track of what was going on. I think this was probably more me than the book, and the book was also well-written, but every time I put it down, and I seemed to forget what was happening, and was then lost when I picked it back u
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the mood for something light, this was a pretty random choice for me. As always, unknown author, sort of takes a chance. This was definitely a win. Surprisingly good, almost great read. Khalaf's writing is so competent, engaging and entertaining that it's easy to forget this is a debut. The book draws you in from the start and maintains your attention throughout. I read this in more or less one sitting. It's that good. Halfway through it occurred to me that this might be considere ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was one of the lucky ones who received an advanced copy of The Sixteen Burdens a few months ago. I was immediately whisked away to a visually stunning world that was both magical and familiar all at the same time. David Khalaf wrote a truly epic story filled with adventure, suspense, old Hollywood history, and well-developed, intriguing characters that kept me glued to the page. Khalaf paints bold, picturesque environments ready for the cinema; you can practically smell the old streets of Holl ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very bright new light on the literary scene

Oregon transplant from Southern California author David Khalaf studied print journalism at the University of Southern California, serving as editor of the Daily Trojan newspaper, and progressed to graduate school at USC for a degree in creative writing. He has been a waiter longer than he cares to remember. His novels ring of the Los Angeles atmosphere and David has obviously absorbed the culture of the city – the history, the Hollywood influence that
ARC was provided by the author via YA Buddy Readers' Corner group in exchange for honest review.

3.5 stars

I do think Sixteen Burdens has an interesting idea, about a society of sixteen people who have power over their feature. One woman is the most beautiful woman in the earth, thus she can attract and command people from her beautiful figure; one man is the strongest man alive; another is the luckiest and so on. Those people use their power for the good while others are for themselves and want t
Pri Jay
( I received a digital copy of this book for free for an honest review.)

I honestly don't believe this was a bad book,it just wasn't the book for me .....and i know this because it took me close to 3 days to finish and a book this size if i like would have take me less than a day.

It didn't grab my attention,it was a little slow i found myself putting it down quite often and since i wasn't connecting with the characters or story i just felt lost most of the time.

The basic point of the book revol
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of Fantasy, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I received an advance copy of David Khalaf's The Sixteen Burdens. I was surprised to find myself invested in the characters' lives, and drawn in by the plot. The idea that certain human traits can become so concentrated in a person as to grant them superpowers is exciting, and the notion that our best attribute can become our biggest burden is intriguing. I hope this theory gets fleshed out more as the series progresses. This bo ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-review
(I received a copy from the author, In exchange for an honest review.)

Actual rating - 2.5

This wasn't an awful read, but I can't say I enjoyed it all that much unfortunately. I felt confused quite a lot, and at times I felt completely lost. The story dragged a bit because of it for me.

Overall, Not bad, but not a book for me.
Sharon Mariampillai
I received a copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 3.15

This was a good book. It just was not the book for me. Also, I feel like the characters and plot were well developed. The story just made me confused and it made me put the book down a couple of times. Overall, an okay book.
Christian D.  Orr
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, L.A. history buffs, fellow USC alumni
"The Sixteen Burdens" by David Khalaf

David Khalaf, my personal friend, former USC classmate (FIGHT ON, TROJANS!!), and former colleague on the Daily Trojan student newspaper staff has written a fine first (published, that is) novel, a highly entertaining and engaging story that keeps the pages turning. Equal parts hard-boiled detective noir, 1930s Hollywood murder mystery, fantasy, and a wee bit of macabre Gothic horror rolled into one; not a perfect analogy here, but it's kinda like "L.A. Confi
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Before I get into this, you should know I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Sixteen Burdens

By David Khalaf

4 ½ stars but rated 4 on Goodreads because I can't rate something with a half star.

The ONLY reason this is a 4 ½ star book is due to some minor inconsistencies and the need for a little clarification.

In 1939, 15-year-old orphan Gray Studebaker (yes, like the color and the car) is selling maps to stars homes, in order to “earn his keep” at the orphanag
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really interesting read, advertised as young adult and probably working in that wheelhouse (with minor reservations). Basically the 16 Burdens of the title are effectively the most beautiful, the bravest, the strongest,the most charismatic, the luckiest, etc human, which as these paragons (in some cases) endows powers to those people. As you can imagine, as for instance, the luckiest person alive you don't need or appear to get more than that, whilst the bravest, for some reason, can manifest ...more
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Link to my video review (view spoiler)

This book was so much more than I was expecting. First of all the story itself is very unique in my opinion. The book is set in Hollywood 1939, and there are celebrities that just happen to have Burdens, and one thing that I adored is the fact that the celebrities in this book were best friends in real life.

There are 16 different types of Burdens and I love all of the characters with or without Burden
Kit Campbell
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It's not quite a pure 5-star--more 4.5 stars--but I still really enjoyed this! I will preface this to say that I am not terribly familiar with the time period (Hollywood in the late 1930s) or the real people in question, so I can't say whether things are historically accurate or not. But the story seems well-set and nothing rubs wrong, setting-wise.

The characters are great--each one is individual, and their personalities are based o
Josh Wise
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent debut novel from Khalaf. An exciting start to a trilogy in the genres of urban fantasy and YA fiction.

Only a native Angelino could have written a book like this; the history of Hollywood is fascinating to begin with, but Khalaf adds an intriguing "what-if" element to it. Filled with famous historical figures like Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, this book gives a glimpse into the lives of Hollywood legends, and it turns out they're hiding a big secret.

Loved the climactic sequence
Joan Mitchell
This was a great sci-fi/fantasy book! Many of the characters were real people at one time, but in the book they became super people. The world contained people with powers that could affect others in good or bad ways and the story zeroed in on how corrupt one can become when trying to get power from others to use for your own good. Well written, exciting, suspenseful and full of plot twists. I enjoyed reading this book ans would recommend it to everyone. I received this book from Goodreads for f ...more
Kelli McMillan
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I got a free ebook of this for an honest review.

This book wasn't a bad book. It was fine but it wasn't the book for me. It was basically a book about these people with super powers and how big of a burden it is to have powers. I was personally bored, but this review should not stop you from trying it. David Kahlaf is obviously a talented author and his story and characters were well developed, I just couldn't really get into this book. Read this book and try it for yourself. This book depends on
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely an enjoyable read. The book left me curious as to what happens next to the characters and that's always a good sign! On top of that, the book is in the young adult category so is a quick read yet still raises some great ideas to explore such as when do strengths become weaknesses. I also appreciated the historical setting of the story; definitely felt the writer portrayed that era well. Looking forward to the next installment! ...more
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. My opinion is just that...mine...and completely unbiased.

I was hooked from the get go! What's not to love about characters from the Golden Age of Hollywood with supernatural abilities, and a twisted plot that can definitely follow through in future novels. It's all here....the good, the bad, the mysterious, the yearning to know where the next one will take us. Mr. Khalaf really knows how to tell a story and I can't wait for number 2!
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2r, own-e-book
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author David Khalaf.)

The Sixteen Burdens wasn't a bad book, it just isn't entirely the book for me.

It didn't grab my attention, as it was a little slow, I found I lost interest in it and put it down quite often.

Apart from that the story was very well written and had a few interesting ideas.

Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting idea meshing historical figures and fantasy into a very intriguing story. There is quite a bit of World Building in the beginning, and a unique twist near the end, so I’ll be interested to see where the sequel goes since much of the plot of this book was discovering the mystery of the burdens and earning the audience trust in suspense of disbelief in how the real people are turned into fantasy characters.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Brian
Cover Story: Art Deco
Drinking Buddy: Aces
Testosterone Level: A Little Chin Music
Talky Talk: The Shadow Knows
Bonus Factor: One of Those Weird Cabals That Last for Centuries
Bromance Status: Friendship Born of Chaos

Read the full book report here.
Pop Bop
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Clever Fun

This has an intriguing premise, and the author has a lot of fun with it. Think of a younger, looser, more rollicking version of Gaiman's "American Gods".

Gray Studebaker is a fine hero and it's a pleasure to careen around 1939 Hollywood while he chases after a Macguffin, pals with godlike celebrities, figures out who and what he is, and deals with a charming bit of puppy love. There are chases, gunfights, fisticuffs, lurking, hiding, and loads of urban fantasy-lite magical realism.

Bonnie Dale Keck
kindle unlimited, overlooked had this one until one came up on freebie day, so that make all 3, though on ku just slipped thru

A secret society. An indestructible madman. And a strange young man cursed with powers to end the world.

When Gray Studebaker discovers a pattern on the movie-star maps he sells on the street corner, he thinks he's solved Hollywood's biggest crime mystery of 1939. Instead, he stumbles into a secret world where society's greatest figures share a fiercely guarded secret: Th
Éric Kasprak
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great premise, great writing, great story and great historical characters make for a great (5 stars) novel. This refreshing take on what I can only call historical fiction was the most interesting and fun I had reading a book in a while. The fact that most of the historical characters in the book are well known Hollywood stars from early 1920-1940's, make visualising and connecting with them easier. Also the very idea of Burdens enables us to foresee all the possibilities open to the author for ...more
Sheryl Smith
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I give this book high marks because I think it is well written, but it really isn’t my taste. I guess I’d classify it as fantasy although it is not what I’d typically think of that genre. Still, it is full of action and adventure, so if you like books that are a bit different you might like this series.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sixteen Burdens is not heavy

Fun story with a blast from the past cast. This was a fast moving adventure well worth the read. "Burdens" was no burden to read.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably more like 2.5 stars. I'm not sure the whole premise was outlined as clearly as it should have been, and the story was rather uneven. But it was interesting enough, and as this is billed as a trilogy on Amazon, I might read the next one. ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to think of this novel going in--a bit of historical fiction mixed with fantasy--but the premise sounded really interesting and I was willing to give it a shot. The result was a surprisingly well put together debut novel from the self-published David Khalaf.

The Sixteen Burdens pieces together the 1939 Hollywood scene, a bit of the aftermath of WWI and the beginnings of WWII, with fantastical powers that have been gifted or burdened upon some of the worlds greatest figures. Th
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english, gift, fantasy, fiction
‘The Sixteen Burdens’ written by David Khalaf is a great example proving great works can be found in the self-published niche – the story full of twists and turns together with excellent atmosphere will keep reader on the edge of the seat.

The story takes place on the streets of Hollywood, back in the 30s. Great time and great place to find yourself. Though, not so great for our main hero Gray who sells the movie-star maps on the street. Still he is happy, as long being left alone by caretaker wh
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Want to read Houdini's Last Trick, the first book in David's historical adventure series for free? Get it here!

David Khalaf was born in Orange County, California. He studied journalism and creative writing at the University of Southern California, and wrote his first full novel, a futuristic social satire, right out of college. It's still sitting on a shelf

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