Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Review: BRIGHTLY BURNING by Alexa Donne

Source: Received an egalley through Netgalley.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Number of Pages: 400 (Hardcover)


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.

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I'm definitely a fan of the classics, and Jane Eyre has always been one of my favourites, so when I first heard about BRIGHTLY BURNING, a retelling of Jane Eyre in space...I was immediately intrigued! I joked about wanting to know where Rochester's crazy wife could possibly be in a spaceship, and I added it to my TBR immediately!

Fast forward to when I read this, I started reading BRIGHTLY BURNING it and I absolutely COULD NOT STOP! Before I knew it, I'd finished half of the book and I still didn't want to put it down.

From the very first page, I was hooked! I loved the characters, the setting, the writing, and I adored how Alexa Donne wove her retelling of Jane Eyre. It was perfect! It kept all of the vital parts of the story, while also keeping certain elements a bit mysterious...and the characters did have some similarities with Rochester and Jane, but Hugo and Stella were definitely entirely their own characters as well, and I absolutely loved them both! I loved how bold Stella was, and I loved how she often brought out the best in the people surrounding her, and I especially loved how she connected to them all. Hugo points out at one point that her name literally means "star" and I thought that was very fitting since she's clearly the character who is "Brightly Burning" throughout the story. She draws in the other characters, and I loved her goodness, and her empathy, which were so quintessentially Jane-like, but also perfectly fit Stella. And Hugo...Hugo was broody as can be, and he definitely played the rakish role like Rochester, but he was also a lost, young man, and I absolutely loved seeing all of the moments where he opened up to Stella. I loved their romance so much! It captured all of my favourite elements of Jane and Rochester's romance in Jane Eyre and that was EXACTLY what I was hoping for! :D

I know Jane Eyre isn't for everyone, but I've always loved the dark gothic vibe, and the broody nature of Rochester. When it comes to Jane, I've always loved her goodness, her tenacity, and her drive to always be true to herself, and for me that's exactly what Alexa Donne gave me in BRIGHTLY BURNING...with a tiny bit more teenage angst and some good ol' space drama. I'm a huge fan of sci-fi stories, and I'm a sucker for anything that takes place on a spaceship, especially when you end up with an intimate "Firefly-esque" size crew like you have on the Rochester in BRIGHTLY BURNING. Combine the epic space elements with how well Alexa Donne captured Jane Eyre, and I thought that this story was absolutely PERFECT!

So, it should come as no surprise that I loved BRIGHTLY BURNING! The characters, the writing, the setting, and the way that Alexa Donne managed to perfectly capture Jane Eyre were everything that I could have possibly hoped for this book to be! I think that anyone who loves Jane Eyre while also enjoying sci-fi, young adult, and some space drama will absolutely love it, too. I really hope that you all love BRIGHTLY BURNING as much as I did because I thought it was phenomenal! :D

Who else loves Jane Eyre and Firefly?
Does BRIGHTLY BURNING sound like something you'd like to read?

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