I’m not gonna lie; I love Marianne de Pierre’s work. She and I have met a number of times at conventions, and she is such a lovely and down-to-earth person, despite her worldwide following. I say this now so that when I say that I read this book honestly I hope you believe me. I am an avid reader and I rarely continue to read something if I don’t like it. I finished Burn Bright in two days: it’s just that good.
Burn Bright is a young adult supernatural thriller that is actually thrilling. There are no long monologues of self doubt or emphasis on a love triangle — although there are some of these. This isn’t a story about a love — sick young girl trying to make a man love her; this is about a lonely and isolated young woman who wants to find her brother.
Retra is an interesting character for a lead in a series. Raised in an enclosed society (think Amish mixed with Orthodox Jew), her brother ran away to join the land of Ixion, of never-ending night. When life got too bad for Retra, she decided to join him, and this is where the story begins.
Ixion is an island of partying. Young people from all over the area escape from home in the dead of night to a place where dancing and having fun is the only way of life. Their metabolism is altered so they don’t need a lot of sleep, meaning that they can party hard with little consequences. Or so the tale goes. Lead character Retra and her fellow “baby bats” Rollo and Suki find out soon that all is not that it seems, and some people have very different ideas as to what “party” really means.
What makes Retra such a great lead character, and Burn Bright such a great story, is that Retra is different from the others from the outset. While everyone else has come to Ixion to have fun, Retra is only there to find her brother and convince him to leave. This is why Retra is able to find out so much about the behind the scenes of the society and why she is around when secrets are being shared. In some novels, writers have to make elaborate reasons why the character is making new discoveries, but with Retra Marianne doesn’t have these problems.
You can tell right from the outset that Marianne has a history in science fiction writing. The story doesn’t spend unnecessary pages in detailed exposition when it can be sprinkled in amongst the text. Marianne expects her readers to be able to keep up with her characters as they make new friends, break out of their comfort zone at a full fun, and try to figure out the secrets behind the mysterious and alluring Ixion.
For parents of young adults who want to read this book; be sure that this isn’t a story that emphasizes underage sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Burn Bright shows the attraction of freedom but also the dangerous side effects of having too much of a good thing.
I recommend Burn Bright to everyone, and make sure you check out the original music from artist Yunyu that is based off the book series. You can view “Angel Arias” on YouTube.