The Children’s Book Review | May 1, 2018
Written by Alexa Donne
Age Range: 12 and up
Hardback: 400 pages
Publisher: HMH Teen
What to expect: Jane Eyre retelling, science fiction, spaceships
A very modern update of a literary classic, BRIGHTLY BURNING takes Victorian fiction to the stars.
In the future, humans have fled to the safety of vast spaceships hovering above a frozen planet Earth. Stella Ainsley, a young engineer and part-time teacher, lives on one of the fleets oldest and most decrepit ships. She’s desperate for a way out and applies for teaching positions across the solar system. But when she’s hired by the private ship Rochester, she’s thrown a lifeline. It has plenty of resources, including almost unlimited water and food, and her charge is a precocious young girl. With all of the extravagances and niceties, Stella ignores the warnings that the Rochester might be haunted, or at the very least captained by a mad man.
When she finally meets Captain Hugo, she learns that not only is he young, but he’s kind in his own way. But strange mishaps and accidents begin to occur, throwing her growing feelings for Hugo, and the safety of the fleet as a whole, in to jeopardy. Can Stella uncover the truth and save hundreds of innocent lives in the process?
This exciting take on the classic Jane Eyre story will delight readers who cut their teeth on Victorian dramas. The unique setting, coupled with a few extra twists and turns, makes this story both familiar and compelling. A retelling done in the best way, Alexa Donne has managed to surprise and delight where other retellings might fall in to simple scenery swaps. The pacing is quick, and Stella is a vibrant heroine we can all root for. You may think you know how the tale ends, but you’ll enjoy staying up late to read through the final pages to see if your hunch is right. Donne is a talented writer with a knack for setting and just the right amount of humor. A joy to read, and it left me wanting a second book from Stella and Hugo.
About the Author
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 andfantasy for teens, Alexa works in international television marketing. Aproud Boston University Terrier, she lives in Los Angeles with twofluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. Brightly Burning is her debut novel. Visit her at alexadonne.com, and on Twitter and Instagram at @alexadonne.
Brightly Burning, written by Alexa Donne, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like Brightly Burning by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Science Fiction, Spaceships, Victorian, and Young Adult Fiction.
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