~Erika's Book Review: BRIGHTLY BURNING by Alexa Donne

January 20, 2018

Reader, this book exceeded my expectations.

This is a thrilling YA retelling of Jane Eyre set in space. It’s the story of the very likeable Stella Ainsely and her love affair with her employer, the brooding yet passionate Hugo Fairfax. Stella is a very skilled and able-bodied young woman because she doubles as both a governess AND ship mechanic. (love this!) She is a smart, caring and inquisitive main character, and I love that she has so much conviction towards her own thoughts and feelings. 

What I loved:
1.) The setting- Now let me take you out of the moment to explain something. I have two sides: one half is a die-hard sci-fi nerd with a weakness towards anything space and/or science related. The other half is a die-hard romantic who gets verklempt over beautifully crafted scenes depicting anything from stolen glances to passionate embraces. Let me tell you: this book has both. In addition, We not only have the dark mysterious backdrop of space, which is in itself enticing. The author constructed a fascinating yet bleak future where a long Ice Age has afflicted the Earth and forced its citizens to flee into space inside huge spaceships. But as we all know, anything man-made is temporary. The ships won’t last forever, and time is running out. If that isn’t f*cking fascinating, I don’t know what is.

2.) The retelling - I have read the original story of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. (I’ve never seen the film adaptations though.) The skill with which the author retold the story in her own way is unparalleled. She preserved the most beloved features of Bronte’s story and stayed faithful to the overarching themes, yet was able to craft them in such a way to make the story uniquely her own. It’s very difficult to explain, but as an aspiring writer myself, I can fathom how difficult this is to do. It takes a writer of great skill and talent, and this author proves she has both.

3.) The story - The Story is epic! Not only do we have the critical character level scenes going on, but we have conspiracies, mysteries, tragedy, and sweeping adventures around every corner. I loved how strong and stalwart Stella was in the face of chaos and uncertainty. And through it all, I could still tell she was a teenager. She was very empowering and inspiring!

I could easily, easily see this book becoming a hit film. I loved this story so much. It resonated with me, and changed the way I look at retellings. As a matter of fact, I would highly recommend this book to any writer attempting to write a YA retelling.

Alexa I simply cannot wait for all the books you will grace the world with. 5/5 Stars



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