Brightly Burning

Brightly Burning

by Alexa Donne

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Overview

“One of the most anticipated YA debuts of 2018, Brightly Burning is a gothic, romantic mystery with hints of Jane Eyre, Marissa Meyer, and Kiera Cass.” —Entertainment Weekly

Brightly Burning delivers a brooding gothic mystery and a swoony romance, all set in space. Donne’s atmospheric, twisty update of a cherished classic will keep you up late into the night!” —Elly Blake, NYT bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga

Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship. On the Rochester, there’s no water ration, more books than one person could devour in a lifetime, and an AI who seems more friend than robot.

But no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet. Surrounded by mysteries, Stella finds her equal in the brooding but kind nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo. When several attempts on his life spark more questions than answers, and the beautiful Bianca Ingram appears at Hugo’s request, his unpredictable behavior causes Stella’s suspicions to mount. Without knowing who to trust, Stella must decide whether to follow her head or her heart.

Alexa Donne’s lush and enthralling reimagining of the classic Jane Eyre, set among the stars, will seduce and beguile you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328948939
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 124,270
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author


Alexa Donne is a Ravenclaw who wears many hats, including teen mentor, college admissions essay advisor, fan convention organizer, YouTuber, and podcaster. When she’s not writing science fiction and fantasy for teens, Alexa works in international television marketing. A proud Boston University Terrier, she lives in Los Angeles with two fluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. Visit her at www.alexadonne.com or on most social media spaces @alexadonne.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The gravity stabilizers were failing again. I glanced up from my sketchpad to see globules of liquid dancing up from my drinking glass. They shimmered red, like droplets of blood, though I knew it was just cherry-flavored nutri-drink. Dammit, that’s my protein ration for the day wasted.
     A sigh escaped me, and resignedly I stowed my drawing tablet and stylus in the drawer under my mattress. They would be calling me any minute.
     A moment later, right on time: “Stella Ainsley, please report to Area Twelve.” The speaker crackled and popped, as it had done for years. I’d tried to fix it, but on a ship as old as the Stalwart, there was only so much you could do.
     I tucked my long hair as best I could into a bun atop my head—​harder than one might think with your hair floating in all directions—​then I grabbed my toolkit and headed into the corridor, half bouncing, half floating with each step. Orange lights flickered on and off, rendering the hallway dimmer than usual, quite the feat, considering Ward Z was generally known as Dark Ward. A few small windows were cut in between brushed-chrome walls that hummed with the shudder of the engines, but starlight was insufficient to light the inside of a ship. Ward Z was the domicile of the Stalwart’s lowliest; why squander precious electricity on waste specialists and mechanics? Most of the ship’s light energy was diverted to the fields. The Stalwart was the single largest provider of food in the fleet. I made a note to fix the light later, nonetheless.
     It was a short journey to the supply bay, my quarters being conveniently close; I moved quickly from orange flickering over dull chrome down two levels to the antiseptic white glow of the ship’s belly. The Stalwart was at least clever enough to allocate decent energy reserves to the working parts of the ship; it would do no good to repair essential systems if I couldn’t see.
     “There you are,” Jatinder greeted me, wiping a sweat-slicked hand against an equally sweaty forehead. Small droplets floated up from the tips of his fingers. I could barely hear him above the grind of the engines.
     “You couldn’t call Karlson?” I asked, bouncing over to the secondary systems panel. “I have to lead class in less than an hour.”
     “That’s more than enough time.” Jatinder tsked. “And if it takes longer, Ancient Earth Sciences will wait. I need you and your lovely, tiny hands.”
     “My hands are perfectly normal sized,” I mumbled as I set to work on the machine, which alternately whooshed and wheezed. “Did you already try hitting it?” I asked Jatinder, who grunted in the affirmative. Nevertheless, I gave the thing a good smack before resorting to more invasive techniques. But still I floated.
     Jatinder attempted small talk as we worked. “You heard about any of your applications?”
     “One said no. Two still pending,” I said. “It’s hard to find engineering positions, as you know.” My hand slipped noisily against a pipe.
     “Oh, my God,” he said in Hindi, one of the few phrases I’d learned by this point, as he said it so much. “You must think me completely naive.”
     “What?” I played dumb, though heat rose to my cheeks at being caught in my lie. Jatinder knew me too well after more than three years of working together.
     “We both know you aren’t applying anywhere as an engineer. You hate the job, despite being very good at it—​and not at all humble, I might add—​and unless someone on another ship dies with no apprentice in place, you’re not getting an engineering transfer.” I opened my mouth to reply, but he kept going. “I had hoped you’d get over your foolish dreams of being taken on by some miracle ship to teach, but what is this? Your third round of applications?”
     My cheeks burned furiously hot, from embarrassment, anger, and just a bit of despair. Jatinder was pessimistic—​and pedantic—​to a fault, but he wasn’t wrong. Yet I clung to hope that I might escape the fate of being stuck in the bowels of an ailing food-supply ship for the rest of my life. Or worse, being jettisoned down to Earth whenever the Stalwart inevitably failed, doomed to certain death on the frozen planet below. The last ship that had deorbited over a year ago hadn’t been heard from since. Crew probably all froze to death.
     “Plenty of ships need teachers,” I offered, my voice small.
     He threw me a look that dripped with pity. “Stella, you know the good private ships don’t take on governesses from the likes of the Stalwart. You’re even less likely to get off this place as a governess than you are as an engineer. Unless that family of yours wants you back, you’re stuck here.”
     My family? I could hear my aunt Reed’s shrill tone in my ear as if she were standing next to me: You have caused me nothing but grief. I am happy to see the back of you. Those were her parting words to me. No, I was sure my “family” did not want me back.
     I swallowed his harsh truth down like cold tea, pushing it past my throat, into my stomach, where I wouldn’t have to think of it. Squaring my shoulders, I set to fixing the gravity stabilizer with extra verve. “I hope your brother gets back soon,” I said sharply. Jatinder, barely older than I, was only temporarily in charge until Navid returned from a resource mission. I knew comparisons to his older sibling always chafed. “He said he’d try to get me a new tablet while he was away. Mine has been on the fritz.”
     “I don’t know why you bother. There’s nothing to paint but gray walls and billions of stars.”
     “I use my imagination. You should try it sometime.”
     It took a solid forty-five minutes, but I managed to remove the extra bounce from everyone’s steps by returning the ship’s gravity settings to normal.
     “See? Just in time to go teach the bright young minds of tomorrow,” Jatinder said, tossing me a soiled rag. I found a relatively clean corner and wiped my greasy hands off as best I could.
     “I’ll see you next shift, Jatinder.” I rushed to get up to the school deck in less than fifteen minutes. Considering the Stalwart was several miles long and eight levels deep, that was no easy feat.
     Having fixed the gravity problem at least, I moved up the decks more efficiently than I had on my way down, zipping through narrow corridors I’d practically memorized during my six years on board. Past residency wards U through Y, where officials long ago stopped caring about the colorful graffiti adorning the walls—​some of which was my own. The warm orange and purples of a sunset over Paris, a city I’d studied but was likely now a frozen ruin, blurred by on my left just before I hit the stairwell that would take me up, up, up.
     I arrived out of breath but with a minute to spare, my adrenaline rush of joy dissolving with a fizzle as soon as I saw the look on George’s face. I knew that look. Someone had died.
     “What happened?” I asked, ignoring the little flip my stomach did as George hovered close.
     “Arden’s mom,” he said with a sigh. “It happened fast. Med bay couldn’t do anything for her.”
     Of course they couldn’t. On the list of things that were always in short supply: water, air, spare parts, food, medical supplies. I taught Earth History, so I knew people used to live eighty, ninety, even a hundred years. Not anymore. Jatinder’s brother, Navid, was considered on the older side at the ripe age of thirty-four. George and I weren’t the only orphans on board, though we were two of the only single almost-eighteen-year-olds left. Half our class was already married.
     George settled a large, warm hand over my shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “See you at dinner later?”
     I nodded, and George smiled just a bit, making me melt. I turned, crossing with a slight hesitation over the threshold into the room. It was a morbid location on the best of days—​windowless, gray, illuminated by buzzing neon light—​and when death came to call, the gloom clung to the walls, seeping through the rivets like motor grease. The kids were quiet, a wholly unnatural state of being for their age, and the pupil who ordinarily would be the happiest to see me met me with red-rimmed eyes and a quivering lower lip.
     “Oh, Arden,” I said, engulfing her in a hug. She sniffled into the slick fabric of my coat, and I glanced over at my thirty-odd pupils, sitting behind their communal-style desks with eyes politely averted. Enough of them had suffered the loss of a parent or family member that no one would judge a fellow student for crying in class.
     What should I say? Surely not the platitudes they’d said to me, a seven-year-old shocked numb by the passing first of a father—​accidental death, on the job—​followed swiftly by a grief-stricken mother, by her own hand. Something about God’s will, and how at least now there’d be two fewer mouths to feed. While a pragmatic person, I wasn’t heartless.
     “You can skip today’s lesson if you want. You won’t get in trouble,” I said gently, easing my way out of her grip and toward my desk. She nodded solemnly, retreating to a shadowy corner where the recessed lighting in the ceiling didn’t quite reach.
     “Good afternoon, class,” I began with a deep breath, retrieving my lesson planner from the communal drawer all the student teachers used and flipping to where our last lesson had left off. “Who can tell me how a volcanic explosion can lead to an ice age?”
     A hand shot up. Carter, one of my eagerest pupils, always reading ahead for the pleasure of it. Despite the melancholy, I caught more than a few kids rolling their eyes in Carter’s direction. I called on him, knowing failure to do so would send him into a tizzy.
     “When a supervolcano explodes, all the dust it releases into the air blocks the sunlight,” he said. Competent enough for an eleven-year-old.
     “That’s just one part of it,” I said, “but good job. And how long can an ice age last?” Carter’s hand flew up again, but this time I waited a beat longer. A boy named Jefferson took the bait.
     “Ten thousand years?”
     “Not the big one,” I said. “I was thinking more of how long this current one is predicted to last.” Because there was no point in making a roomful of children panic.
     “Two hundred years,” a girl in the second row called out.
     “That’s what we’re hoping,” I said. “And when it comes time to go back down to the surface, all your farming skills will come in handy.” I toed the Stalwart’s line perfectly, following the lesson plan they’d given me to a T, even if it made my teeth ache to push out the words. I knew an ice age caused by a supervolcano explosion could last a thousand years, and two hundred was a lowball estimate. “Your assignment for today is to write a short story about your ancestors who left Earth. What do you think they thought about the supervolcano? How did they find out about the evacuation, and what was it like to leave Earth behind and live in spaceships for the first time?”
     I pointedly didn’t mention all those who had been left behind. It was possible for human beings to survive an ice age; history indicated as much. But the percentage would be paltry; the casualties high. I tried not to think about all who had perished, though it was hundreds of years ago.
     The students set to writing—​it would be a class with a lot of downtime. I decided to seek out Arden, lest she be left too long to her own thoughts. I found her huddled in the back, crying over a potted plant.
     “I don’t understand,” she sniffled, her voice hoarse.
     “I know.” I crouched down to her level, laying a comforting hand on her back. “It’s not fair.”
     “But I watered it and everything!” Arden gestured at the plant, which, now that I considered it, was looking a bit droopy.
     “If I can’t figure out how to make it grow, I’ll never get to be a farmer, and what if they stick me with something awful, like engineering?” she let out in a string of breathless words, then snapped a hand over her mouth. “I’m so sorry, Stella, I didn’t think—”
     “It’s okay. Engineering isn’t all that bad, but I know it’s not for everyone.” It was barely for me, but I’d take it over farming, personally. Arden, however, came from a long line of farmers—​everyone on the Stalwart did—​and I understood her angst. Everyone had to pull their weight on board, and working the fields was one of the more stable, fulfilling jobs.
     “Did you put it under the sunlamp?” I asked. She nodded in the affirmative. “Okay, then how much did you water it?”
     “What do you mean?”
     “Well, you can water a plant too much, effectively drowning it,” I said gently.
     Arden’s face fell. “I used my water rations to give it more. I thought it would help.”
     “Oh, Arden.” I sighed. “Drinking your daily water ration is very important. You’ll get dehydrated.” Especially with all the tears she’d be expending over the coming weeks and months. “Come with me.” I directed her to the front of the room and out into the corridor, where I unzipped a stealth pocket in my skirt and handed her my half-drunk day’s rations. She greedily sucked it down, offering me her first smile of the day.
     “Listen,” I began, and her reaction was immediate—​she obviously did not want to talk about her mother. So I veered into safer territory. “You’re really bright, Arden, one of my best students. I’m sure you’d make a fine farmer, but it’s not so bad if you end up doing something else. What don’t you like about engineering?”
     “It’s dirty,” she said, eyeing my less-than-pristine hands, then lingering on my face. Great, I must have a smudge on my face. And George didn’t say anything. Jerk. “And,” Arden continued, lowering her voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “I really, really don’t like the dark.”
     “It’s actually not that dark down there,” I reassured her. “But you shouldn’t be afraid of the dark, either. Think of it this way—​the dark helps us to better see the stars, so it can’t be all bad. Don’t you like the stars?”
     Arden nodded, glancing over at a large recessed window, through which distant stars could only just be seen. I wandered over, knowing Arden would follow, leaning so close to the thick glass that my breath fogged it up. I cupped my hands on either side of my face to block the haze of light from behind, squinting out at the myriad heavenly bodies.
     “After I lost my mum and dad, I started talking to the stars,” I said. “Someone told me that when we die, we are released out there, turned into something burning and brilliant. I don’t know if it’s true, but it brings me comfort. Maybe you can talk to the stars too. They’re excellent listeners.”
     “Thanks, Stella,” Arden whispered, leaning heavily against my side. And then she turned and was gone.
     The ship shuddered, and I found myself careening backwards, landing hard on my tailbone as all the lights blinked out, leaving the ship in darkness.

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Brightly Burning 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked Jane Eyre, you will love this imaginative sci-fi take on the classic feminist love story. Stella has Jane's smarts and backbone. All the characters are reincarnated in clever ways. The author includes the theme of class struggle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good read :) I really enjoyed the world the author created.
Anonymous 8 months ago
3.5%0A%0AThere%27s+not+many+YA+sci-fi+books+that+come+into+the+mainstream%2C+so+I+tend+to+be+more+critical+of+them.%0A%0ABut+I+really+enjoyed+this+book.+Everything+made+sense+to+the+story%2C+and+the+spin-off+from+Jane+Eyre+was+pleasant.%0A%0AThere%27s+some+nice+small+twists+in+this+novel%2C+and+the+characters+are+realistic+and+enjoyable.%0A%0AI+wasn%27t+very+connected+to+any+of+them%2C+and+I+felt+like+I+was+observing+it+in+3rd+person.+but+it%27s+written+super+well+and+it%27s+a+satisfying+read%21
JLAustin More than 1 year ago
This was a great re-telling of Jane Eyre (in space!) and helped to alleviate some of the problematic things in the original work. As a Charlotte Bronte fan, I very much approve this re-imagining, especially since it's a space SF and I love all things space SF. The only drawback for me is that it did lose a little of it's dark, Gothic nature in translation, which for many readers is a plus. For me, the darker the content the better. Still, it was enjoyable to read and I highly recommend, whether you are familiar with Bronte's work or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When this book calls itself “Jane Eyre in space,” it really means Jane Eyre in space. This novel is a really fascinating retelling of Jane Eyre in an updated, more futuristic setting. While the characters don’t all have the same names as their classic counterparts, there are obvious callbacks to the source material (as well as other classics) throughout the book that are fun to keep an eye out for. The story follows a lot of the same beats as the classic tale, with only the ending really veering off the path/adding TO the path. That being said, Stella and Hugo’s relationship in this novel is so much more appealing and natural to me than Jane and Rochester’s ever was. Which makes knowing how slowly and chastely their relationship grows and evolves even more torturous than it would be if it was unknown. While it deals with space travel and futuristic tech (and is clearly set in the future as Harry Potter is referred to a couple times as a “classic”), there’s a still an odd, lingering sense of Jane Eyre-era clothing, customs, and ways of life. Just when you’re reading about an advanced piece of tech, a character walks by in a taffeta dress and tiara. It can be jarring and a bit confusing at times. All in all, this was a really enjoyable read. I think it does a really great job of staying true to the source material while taking liberties and adding in a few storylines and details of its own. In fact, I was quite surprised and impressed with myself at how much of the sequence of events in Jane Eyre I remembered after reading it so long ago! I wish Stella and Hugo’s relationship could’ve deviated from the strict Jane Eyre timeline and chain of events a little more, but all in all this was a satisfying and interesting read.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Jane Eyre. In Space. Those were the only four words I needed to sell me on Brightly Burning.  I love retellings of classics, particularly when they have completely novel settings. However, since I hadn’t actually ever read Jane Eyre, I decided to do so before starting this one. With the original story fresh in my mind, I was able to pick up on so many more references than I think I otherwise would have. It was so much fun to be able to spot scenes, characters, and moments. Alexa Donne obviously did her research and it shows in the care she takes with recreating the gothic romance classic.  However, I do think that Brightly Burning would have been a better book if it hadn’t adhered to the original storyline so carefully. There were times when the plot felt constrained, forced to fit into a mold that didn’t quite work. I wanted these characters to be different than the originals. It felt like there was a whole world of depth possible but this book only scratched the surface.  Despite all this, Brightly Burning was still a good read. It was fun to see how the science fiction and dystopian aspects were melded with classic Jane Eyre. I just wish that Donne had taken more chances and not stayed so true to the original.  *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Jane Eyre. In Space. Those were the only four words I needed to sell me on Brightly Burning.  I love retellings of classics, particularly when they have completely novel settings. However, since I hadn’t actually ever read Jane Eyre, I decided to do so before starting this one. With the original story fresh in my mind, I was able to pick up on so many more references than I think I otherwise would have. It was so much fun to be able to spot scenes, characters, and moments. Alexa Donne obviously did her research and it shows in the care she takes with recreating the gothic romance classic.  However, I do think that Brightly Burning would have been a better book if it hadn’t adhered to the original storyline so carefully. There were times when the plot felt constrained, forced to fit into a mold that didn’t quite work. I wanted these characters to be different than the originals. It felt like there was a whole world of depth possible but this book only scratched the surface.  Despite all this, Brightly Burning was still a good read. It was fun to see how the science fiction and dystopian aspects were melded with classic Jane Eyre. I just wish that Donne had taken more chances and not stayed so true to the original.  *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is super cute, super entertaining, and a super fun read over all. I haven't read Jane Eyre (though I definitely want to now), but this story definitely stands on its own and is its own story. You don't need to know the story of Jane Eyre to enjoy this book. First off, let's talk about the fact that this story takes place in SPACE. This story takes place in the future. Everyone evacuated Earth because of a super volcano. The Earth has been in an ice age for the last 200 years, so the humans must stay in their spaceships until the Earth is habitable again. Stella, our main character, lives on the Stalwart, the poorest spaceship. Their ship doesn't have much time left until the ship is no longer able to function--yikes. This leads Stella to apply for teaching jobs aboard other ships, however, nobody wants a teacher from the Stalwart....Except the Rochester. Stella has never heard of the Rochester, but it's a private ship that is in need of a teacher. So, of course she says yes. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil anything for you. Just know that the Rochester is full of secrets, surprises, and incredibly lovable characters. I love everyone aboard the Rochester. Hugo needs to be protected at all costs, okay?? He just wants to be loved. Characters: Stella is goals. I want to be like her when I grow up. She's the perfect combination of honest, brave, and selfless. Her moral compass is beautiful. Stella is the type of person to put the wellbeing of others above her own. We need more people like her in this world. Hugo, Stella's love interest, is definitely complicated. He's got a lot of baggage. But, he also has a big heart. He adores his sister, and respects his crew. It warmed my heart to see Hugo acting his age around Stella. He had a ton of responsibility thrown at him when he was only 14 years old. Ahhh, I love him so much. The side characters in this story are AMAZING. Hugo's little sister, Jessa, is precious. Jon, Stella's friend from the Stalwart, is friendship goals. I love that guy. His sense of humor is so lame AND I LOVE IT. Can we have a book about Jon next? Please? Can I be his love interest? Thanks. Overall, I definitely recommend this book. It's full of fun, interesting twists. Plus, the whole space atmosphere adds to the story. I loved exploring this world.
ReadingCornerforAll More than 1 year ago
Earth has entered into an ice age. In order to survive, humans made a choice to stay on earth and brave the elements, or turn to the final frontier: space. Stella Ainsley, a descendant of the space pioneers, works aboard the Stalwart doubling as an engineer and instructor while pursuing her love of art during her spare time. While the Stalwart specializes in agriculture and provides food to the rest of the fleets, the seemingly unending electrical problems and outdated equipment are making the Stalwart’s days numbered. In order to escape the impending disaster, Stella hopes to find a governess position on another ship. Her options are looking bleak, until she receives a message from a private ship called the Rochester. Suddenly, Stella is thrust into a world of luxury with advanced technology, limitless water, a library filled with physical books, and nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo’s life. As the two begin to spend more time in each other’s company, Stella realizes Hugo’s dark family secrets are the cause of his guarded and unpredictable behavior. However, the longer Stella is aboard the Rochester the more mysteries begin to mount. Chilling laughter, burning bedrooms, heartbreak, and sabotage are just the beginning and it’s up to Stella to try and put an end to it all or walk away from her new home...and the man she has grown to love. In this stellar retelling of Jane Eyre, believe in the unexpected, take a journey through space, and welcome aboard the Rochester. Taking classic literature into the modern age is no easy feat, yet Alexa Donne seamlessly gathers the essence of Jane Eyre and transforms it into her own imaginative, interstellar retelling that will have readers glued to the page. Here are some elements that I enjoyed about the book: The Familiar and the Reinvented In Brightly Burning, Donne took familiar spaces (such as the red room and Thornfield Hall) and added unique elements of her own creation to completely reinvent them and leave readers relishing each twist. Empowered Characters For instance, Stella is full of artist talent and holds a nurturing spirit with her charges, but she is also a young woman of measure. She has no problem getting her hands dirty (literally) to save the day or speak her mind at an injustice. By fleshing out her characters, Donne was able to pull these beloved characters forward from the past and make them relatable to the modern reader. Stella’s wit and strong spirit not only makes her endearing, but it also places her in a unique class being an empowered individual. Love vs Love Jane and Edward’s love story is one that has lasted the ages, but Stella and Hugo’s gradual love is one that rivals time and space. Brightly Burning features a lot of Stella and Hugo scenes (like intimate moments in the library) which will have readers rooting for a happy ending. Brilliant and Brightly Burning Lastly, I thought it was just a brilliant book that combined romance, mystery, and humor in such a way that readers will want to revisit the in the Rochester in the future! Brightly Burning was a fantastic debut novel that certainly set a high standard for Alexa Donne to follow in her future works.
ReadingCornerforAll More than 1 year ago
Earth has entered into an ice age. In order to survive, humans made a choice to stay on earth and brave the elements, or turn to the final frontier: space. Stella Ainsley, a descendant of the space pioneers, works aboard the Stalwart doubling as an engineer and instructor while pursuing her love of art during her spare time. While the Stalwart specializes in agriculture and provides food to the rest of the fleets, the seemingly unending electrical problems and outdated equipment are making the Stalwart’s days numbered. In order to escape the impending disaster, Stella hopes to find a governess position on another ship. Her options are looking bleak, until she receives a message from a private ship called the Rochester. Suddenly, Stella is thrust into a world of luxury with advanced technology, limitless water, a library filled with physical books, and nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo’s life. As the two begin to spend more time in each other’s company, Stella realizes Hugo’s dark family secrets are the cause of his guarded and unpredictable behavior. However, the longer Stella is aboard the Rochester the more mysteries begin to mount. Chilling laughter, burning bedrooms, heartbreak, and sabotage are just the beginning and it’s up to Stella to try and put an end to it all or walk away from her new home...and the man she has grown to love. In this stellar retelling of Jane Eyre, believe in the unexpected, take a journey through space, and welcome aboard the Rochester. Taking classic literature into the modern age is no easy feat, yet Alexa Donne seamlessly gathers the essence of Jane Eyre and transforms it into her own imaginative, interstellar retelling that will have readers glued to the page. Here are some elements that I enjoyed about the book: The Familiar and the Reinvented In Brightly Burning, Donne took familiar spaces (such as the red room and Thornfield Hall) and added unique elements of her own creation to completely reinvent them and leave readers relishing each twist. Empowered Characters For instance, Stella is full of artist talent and holds a nurturing spirit with her charges, but she is also a young woman of measure. She has no problem getting her hands dirty (literally) to save the day or speak her mind at an injustice. By fleshing out her characters, Donne was able to pull these beloved characters forward from the past and make them relatable to the modern reader. Stella’s wit and strong spirit not only makes her endearing, but it also places her in a unique class being an empowered individual. Love vs Love Jane and Edward’s love story is one that has lasted the ages, but Stella and Hugo’s gradual love is one that rivals time and space. Brightly Burning features a lot of Stella and Hugo scenes (like intimate moments in the library) which will have readers rooting for a happy ending. Brilliant and Brightly Burning Lastly, I thought it was just a brilliant book that combined romance, mystery, and humor in such a way that readers will want to revisit the in the Rochester in the future! Brightly Burning was a fantastic debut novel that certainly set a high standard for Alexa Donne to follow in her future works.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
A science fiction retelling of Jane Eyre! Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne! A science fiction retelling of “Jane Eyre”, Stella is an orphan unloved by her relatives and an engineer dreaming of being a governess. She’s an engineer on a derelict ship, Stalwart, that’s on its last leg. Stella receives notification of being hired on another ship and is on her way to her future. The Rochester holds many mysteries from Stella- a young captain, a possible ghost and ship sabotage. Brightly Burning is one science fiction story that I love! Normally, science fiction is not my favorite but this story has surprises and mysterious happenings that kept me thoroughly interested. Stella is a great heroine, not overbearing or a simpering damsel. A lengthier book would have allowed more character depth but I enjoyed Brightly Burning as is too, 4 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
Bayy2455 More than 1 year ago
Brightly Burning was a delight! I love that YA is exploring space and different fates for earth more. I haven't read Jane Eyre, but I know it was a huge selling point for a lot of my friends. I absolutely loved this one. It was a romance but also a bit of a thriller. I was on the edge of my seat to find out who or what was on the Rochester causing all of that havoc and I certainly was shocked when we found out what it was. The characters in this were really fleshed out and I loved all of the side characters too. There was quite a large group of players in this one but I never felt overwhelmed. I wish we did get more backstory or interaction with the scientist considering later events. I really enjoyed exploring Stella's changing relationship with the other characters. I am pleased to announce that there is no love triangle. I was really shocked but excited to see a character realize there crush was misplaced and move on instead of spending the entire book lamenting over two boys. The relationship did feel a bit rushed to me. I wish there had been a little bit more exploration of it to really make it more believable to me. I did really enjoy the twist, however, and I think the ending was handled fantastically. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this one.