Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book Review: Brightly Burning

Title: Brightly Burning
Author: Alexa Donne
Genre: Young Adult | Retelling | Science Fiction | Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.
But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet (goodreads).

Brightly Burning was a creative sci-fi!
Plot: Disclaimer: I have never read Jane Eyre so I can't speak for the retelling aspect of Brightly Burning, but even with my limited knowledge of Jane Eyre, I thoroughly enjoyed this! As a standalone, I found the overall plot to be easy to follow and interesting. The pacing was a bit off as the first 75% of this book took place on The Rochester and was a bit slower paced. The scenes on The Rochester were limited to Stella's interactions with Hugo and were dialogue heavy. I didn't mind the slower-paced chapters, but the climax introduced a completely new plot line and faster-paced storytelling around the 75% mark which was an abrupt change. Regardless, I enjoyed how Brightly Burning wrapped up and was impressed by how it all unfolded. 

Characters: Stella was a reasonable girl: she just wanted to do what she loved and wanted to carve out a simple life for herself. As I mentioned, the majority of the book took place in a library with Stella and Hugo about learning each other, and that was a great opportunity to the reader to learn more about them too. Hugo was such a tortured prince and I was instantly drawn to him. The crew on The Rochester endeared themselves to me, and while they weren't as present in Brightly Burning, I enjoyed all of their interactions. 

Worldbuilding: Brightly Burning took place after the destruction of Earth and the return of the Ice Age. Massive space fleets orbited the Earth in anticipation of their return to Earth but have made a comfortable life for themselves in space. Donne explained how life in space worked and I was left with no questions. The politics also made this world more realistic and intriguing. 

Short N Sweet: Brightly Burning was romantic with characters that drew me in almost instantly!


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