Brightly Burning – Alexa Donne

35721194Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: HMH BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling, Mystery


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.


You know what’s *brightly burning* right now?

My anger. At myself, mostly. This is a retelling of Jane Eyre, and while the original story bored me to death, I was somewhat intrigued by this one.

After all, one of the main reasons why Jane Eyre didn’t work for me was because Mr. Rochester is in his forties, and even though I believe in the *age is just a number* concept, I’m also skeptical that dating someone (more than) twice your age is a good idea.

That’s not a problem here, seeing that the Captain of the ship (Hugo Fairfax) Stella is sent to is nineteen years old. Though with all his drinking, he does act like an old man who doesn’t know what to do with himself. I’m surprised no one voted him out of the ship years ago.

But still, you’re thinking, if Stella and Hugo are both in their teens, they must connect on some level, right? Well, they try, I guess.

Man is it awkward and forced.

‘‘Stella, why did you leave?’’ a brusque voice said.
‘‘I had to put Jessa to bed.’’
‘‘Oh,’’ he said as if the thought never occurred to him. ‘‘Well, then, come back if you’re done. I want you here.’’
‘‘I’m quite tired.’’
‘‘Nonsense,’’ he insisted. ‘‘The night is young. I’ll see you in five minutes.’’ (pages 169-170 of ARC)

She said she’s tired, leave her alone. Not everyone likes to spend their nights awake, drinking.

The retelling itself is not bad. In fact, I have to give the author props for her creative mind. I wouldn’t have thought science fiction and Jane Eyre would ever work, but somehow this book was written and published and it’s not *completely* awful.

Except, the characters are, and so are their interactions with each other. Stella is one of those heroines that do something very stupid in the beginning of a story, and you’re waiting for her to redeem herself… and waiting… and waiting. Congratulation, I am on my deathbed.

She’s not mature enough to be a governess and start a relationship with a drunken captain. Her voice is more fitting of a fifteen-year-old girl who’s just realized boys exist and can’t stop thinking about them. Additionally, did we really need so many correspondences? Meh, I don’t think so.

Not romantic, Stella is in no way memorable, and although it is intriguing at times, that isn’t enough for me to care.


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One thought on “Brightly Burning – Alexa Donne

  1. Well, thanks for your very honest review. I don’t think I’m too thrilled to read this book either. Jane Eyre was good, but I never really grew to like Mr. Rochester – I just really enjoyed Charlotte Bronte’s prose.


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