Author: Alexa Donne
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Retelling
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Reader
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
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.
Brightly Burning is a wonderfully original retelling of Jane Eyre - with this one set in space aboard a fleet of spaceships who have been orbiting Earth for two hundred years, following another ice age. A somewhat embarrassing confession: I've never read Jane Eyre. Which is almost unheard of with devoted readers and shameful for people like me who even majored in English. So, having not read the classic itself, I can't compare it to the original and pick out the various differences or commonalities. I'm not sure if this is a pro or con - it can be seen as both probably. Either way, I really liked this book and I'm so happy that I decided to give it a shot without quite knowing what I was getting into.
There were a lot of aspects that I enjoyed about the book, most notably the characters, world building, plot, and writing style. The world that the author creates for the story is beautifully descriptive with lots of vivid details and imagery that make it come to life in front of your eyes. I felt like I stepped right inside of Stella's world as soon as I started reading, and it felt like I was experiencing everything that Stella was as if I was there with her. Speaking of characters, I think Stella was a great main character for the story. She's a wonderful person all around and we see these qualities repeatedly throughout the novel. She's loving, kind, selfless, and puts others above herself. She's also strong, determined, and stubborn - which I thought made her even more realistic and easy to identify with. I liked her right away and loved getting to know her during the story. She grows and matures a lot during the book and it was fantastic seeing this happen. And I obviously adored the romance that develops between her and Hugo, which is another huge aspect of the story and also wonderfully written. All of the secondary characters including Hugo were rounded and complex with their own personalities and traits that made them feel realistic. I liked getting to know each of them and how they interacted with one another and how their relationships functioned and why.
The plot was fascinating, probably owing to the fact that I never read the original it's based on. Everything was new and exciting for me, and I ate it all up in one sitting without stopping. I kept reading because I had to see what was going to happen next or why things were going on, etc. It kept me on my toes for several reasons - the romance, the mystery of the ship and it's strange occurrences, the horrible truth of what was really happening throughout the fleet. It was all very engaging and I couldn't make myself stop reading until I had finished it all. I very highly recommend this novel for fans of the original classic, YA science fiction, fantasy, and romance.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.
Alexa is represented by Elana Roth-Parker of Laura Dail Literary Agency.
(3) winners will receive a finished copy of BRIGHTLY BURNING - US Only!
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