Tuesday 12 June 2018

Book Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

If you had told me that there would be a Jane Eyre retelling setting in space, I never would have believed you. So when I saw the chance to review Brightly Burning and what it was about, I jumped at the chance.


This was one of those books where I wasn't quite sure what to expect and what I got was one of the best books I have read in ages. I have developed a love for books set in space over the past year, so this fitted in perfectly with my new reading love.
You don't have to have read or understood the story of Jane Eyre to read Brightly Burning as this felt like a whole new story, but with elements of the Jane Eyre tale. In this retelling, earth has become inhabitable due to freezing over, so hundreds of years ago a limited few were rescued and orbited into space. 

Seventeen year old Stella was outcast by her Aunt from the elite Empire ship when her parents died. Now on the Stalwart she is desperate to make her escape as a governess on another ship. There are rumors that the Stalwart won't last much longer in space and they will have to risk their lives and try to reenter Earth. After being turned down for roles, Stella thinks her luck is out.Then an opportunity from the mysterious Rochester spaceship arises and she jumps at the chance. Here she meets the notorious Hugo Fairfax and nothing is quite as it seems.
The mix of futuristic and historical class systems worked surprisingly well and quickly became the sort of story that I just could not tear my eyes away from. Written in the first person, I instantly connected with Stella as a character, she was gutsy, clever and I just loved her. I do have to say I found her comments about some of the men on the ship a little over the top and detracted from the story a bit, but this was quickly made up when Hugo Fairfax was on the scene.

What also kept me at the edge of my seat throughout was the surprising and excellent plot twists that Alexa had thrown into the mix. They added to the sense of mystery and suspense and extended the story of Jane Eyre.

I was sad to leave the characters once I had come to end and I would love a follow up as I still think there is so much more Alexa could do with this story.
Brightly Burning kept me up well into the early hours because I could not tear myself away from the plot and the excellent characters.

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