Published: 1st March 2011 by Random House AU
Format: Paperback, 316 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Goodreads ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
In Ixion music and party are our only beliefs. Darkness is our comfort. We have few rules but they are absolute . . .
Retra doesn’t want to go to Ixion, the island of ever-night. Retra is a Seal – sealed minds, sealed community. She doesn’t crave parties and pleasure like all the others. But her brother left for Ixion two years ago, and Retra is determined to find him.
Braving the pain of her obedience strip to escape the only home she’s ever known, Retra finds herself drawn deeper into the intoxicating world of Ixion. Come to me, whispers a voice in her head. Who are the Ripers, the mysterious guardians of Ixion? What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? And what happens to those who grow too old for Ixion?
Retra will find that Ixion has its pleasures, but its secrets are deadly.
Burn Bright offers a world of pleasure and partying where darkness reigns and mysterious creatures stalk in the night. In this unique setting we follow Retra, who has journeyed to Ixion to find her brother, on her incredible journey of discovery as she lets go of everything she knows and embraces a new world.
The setting of the novel is breathtakingly beautiful and creepy at the same time. I, like Retra, was disoriented at first because of its strangeness. However, Retra’s journey is reflected in her understanding of Ixion: her initial confusion and isolation are evident at first, but as she slowly comes out of her shell, details begin to make sense to her, and by proxy, the readers. Retra’s perception of her surroundings is also shifted midway through the novel and this is probably the place when things started to become clearer for me. There is still a lot to explore in this new world, however, and I am glad that the end of this book hints at Retra expanding her horizons in the books that follow.
Retra is a great character whom I instantly liked. Despite her obvious struggles to adjust to the flamboyant and carefree ways of her fellows after her austere lifestyle in Grave, I think her strength is obvious because of how she handles the changes and stress. Suki is correct is surmising that people often mistake quietness for weakness, and I think it’s wonderful that Retra can be simultaneously private and strong. I really like Suki, I think she makes a great friend for Retra and provides an excellent counterpoint for her tendency to be withdrawn. Although I would have expected Suki to push the boundaries a little more at Ixion because she comes from an island where women rule, I think overall her character is well realised and fun.
The aspect that really stands out for me about Burn Bright is the writing – everything about it is polished and well executed. Marianne de Pierres never wastes a word, and the result is a story that not only entertains, but is also a pleasure to read. Commendably, the author unflinchingly explores the darkest elements of human nature, and leaves readers with a sense of awe.
Burn Bright is a compelling read, one I encourage everyone to try, and I am looking forward to see where the author takes the story in Angel Arias. Although it’s marketed as a YA novel I think it will be enjoyed by readers of varied ages and tastes.