Title: Brightly Burning
Author: Alexa Donne
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published: May 1, 2018
A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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.
– My Review –
The first time that I head about this Jane Eyre retelling was last Fall during the Raincoast Fall Preview, and I’ve been excited to read it ever since that day! You cannot imagine how happy I was when I received an ARC for review! My first impression (around the 10% mark) was that the tone for this book was decidedly more Marissa Meyer than Charlotte Brontë. Don’t get me wrong, this was still definitely a Jane Eyre retelling, but I think that it would have been impossible to get that Gothic-novel-set-on-the-English-moors feel when the setting is multiple spaceships up in space. A lot of the elements from Jane Eyre were incorporated very well, and integrated into the story in a way that worked with Brightly Burning‘s genre. I did feel a little less sympathetic toward Stella than I did toward Jane, but there was definitely still some sympathy, and cheering-on there.
I think that Rochester’s character in this retelling, Captain Fairfax, definitely felt a lot more like Rochester than Stella felt like Jane! The manner in which Fairfax was written definitely gave me a-younger-Rochester-in-space vibes, and I really really liked him despite some of his shortcomings (just as I liked Rochester in Jane Eyre despite his shortcomings as well). The beginning of this book felt a little slow for me but then definitely picked up a few chapters in (so definitely keep pushing through if that’s the case for you). The pacing and romance plot of this book is what made me take a few days to mull over how I wanted to write this review, because those two elements definitely reflect the pacing and romance plot in the original classic (and I really commend Donne for that), but just as in the classic, those two things didn’t leave me entirely satisfied. So you see my dilemma? Brightly Burning was definitely retold very well, but in such a manner that the two things that I enjoyed least in Jane Eyre also made it into the retelling! This book was, therefore, very difficult for me to rate properly. That being said, I did enjoy this book as a whole, and definitely recommend it to fans of Jane Eyre and science fiction!
– About the Author –
Alexa Donne is a Ravenclaw who wears many hats, including fan convention organizing, teen mentoring, college admissions essay consulting, YouTube-ing and podcasting. When she’s not writing science fiction and fantasy for teens, Alexa works in international television marketing. A proud Boston University Terrier, she lives in Los Angeles with two fluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. Brightly Burning is her debut novel.
– Purchase Links –
THANK YOU FOR READING MY BOOK REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!