Book Club: Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres


 

NC_Kubicki_final_burn-brightKrista

Cover

Absolutely the reason that I picked up the book in the first place. When I first saw this book online it was not available in the United States, and I waited for the long shipping from Australia. It was well worth the wait and time. It is still one of my favourite reads of all time. I was ecstatic to hear when Marianne was able to keep the cover art for the U.S. release, its gorgeous. I keep a poster of it on my wall.

Characters

The inhabitants of Ixion come from different places. As our MC, Retra has been raised in a place of little education, she knows nothing about the world that surrounds her island of Grave and the different characters bring in some history and world building to the story.

Favourite

Retra, Lenoir, the Night Creatures. They all play different sides to the story as a whole and each hold great mysteries to how the plot plays out.

Least Favourite

Minor characters: The Warden, Brand, Cal. All those characters that cause trouble and upset to the way of life. The people that always seem to be in the way.

Beginning

After her brother runs away, the Warden is assigned to Retra’s house to watch her. After her mother turns to silence, her father to lecturing and the Warden to never keep her out of his sight, torturing her with her obedience strip, she runs.

Storyline

The guardians can see that Retra has come to Ixion for something different than partying and “burning bright” as they say. They keep an eye on her from the beginning, as she soon makes some friends and begins to find out the history of the island and if her brother is still here. She wants to find him and escape somewhere else they can live out their lives.

Ending

As expected, Ixion is not what it seems, most are too wasted and partying to notice what is happening. But Retra finds herself right in the middle of the disruptions of the Guardians and Counsels. The Night Creatures are acting out and the gangs are causing trouble for everybody. But will we find out what is the true reason that Ixion exists and where you go when you burn out?

Thoughts

I find this story to be so unique, and fun. A bit exotic and sensual. The idea of being able to just completely lose yourself to not worry for awhile is always appealing. My favourite thing about the book is world building. Not only how the islands are all made up of completely different cultures. How the world changes to hide the island in all darkness all the time. I love the idea of the Night Creatures and the scene that describes what they look like, alone and dark in the forest is the best, so creepy, so interesting. So imaginative.

Quote

“Why did you get involved? That’s not a Seal thing to do.’

‘I … what Brand was doing to Krista-belle … she was scared … like when the warden gave me the obedience strip.’

‘You had a pain strip? Fross! How did you leave the compound then?’

Retra gave him a small, anxious smile. ‘I practised. The pain.’

Rollo’s expression changed. His eyes widened in a kind of admiration and he enveloped her in a comforting hug. But Retra didn’t want comfort right now. She wanted to leave. As she tried to edge out his grip he held on.

‘There’s something I’m going to tell you. The real reason that I came here,’ he said.”

Burn Bright Baby Bats!

 

burn-bright-250Bel

Cover

The buttery texture of the first edition cover is really special. The foiled title is extremely eye-catching, and that’s before we even get onto the artwork by Jarek Kubicki. All this beauty and it still represents the story inside wonderfully.

Characters

I love that each character is flawed and yet doing their best to thrive.

Favourite

Retra is certainly my favourite. Girl has guts, a heart, a spine and a soul.

Least Favourite

I pick Lenoir but only because I have to pick someone.

Beginning

Retra escapes the Seal Enclave on Grave to go find her brother on Ixion.

Storyline

The publicity of a place with no rules and no consequences seems too good to be true, and since every action has a reaction, Retra figures out, sometimes, this is even more difficult to handle than  a life lived in the Enclave.

Ending

Leaves you ready to move straight onto book 2, Angel Arias.

Thoughts

When Burn Bright came out in 2011, the concept of a female protagonist choosing her tribe was fresh, new, and relatively unexplored. The fact that Retra was searching for a family member and not a love interest sets it apart from most other books, leading the way in the Aussie market for books like Divergent, and The Stars Never Rise.

It passes the Bechdel test and I’m glad to say, in my opinion, it passes the test of a reread 5 years down the line.

Quote

“Pain can be dismissed” ~ Joel

 

NC_Burn Bright Boxed Set_600Joelene:

Cover

A surrealist image of a woman whose mascara, clothing and background bleed into one another. Mostly black and greyscale with swathes of brightness. The hot pink title is a stark contrast.

Characters

The Ripers, their young wards, pirates, demons… There’s quite a few.

Favourite

Ruzalia, I think. I don’t know much about her, but it’s hard not to love a pirate who is stealing people from those who would hurt them.

Least Favourite

Charlonge probably. She struck me as kind of weak, and, at her age, I don’t know why she wasn’t questioning how Ixion worked.

Beginning

Since her brother, Joel, ran away to Ixion: island of ever-night, ever-youth and never-sleep, Retra has been training herself to withstand pain so that she can follow him.

Storyline

The mysterious and dangerous island of Ixion holds a great many secrets. If Retra can’t figure out how to fit in, she may never live to learn them.

Ending

As with many of Marianne’s novels, it was not what I was expecting. It leaves the scene wide open for an explosive book two.

Thoughts

This is a unique kind of world; complex and nuanced and far too much for one book. I’m kind of wondering how it fits into three.

Grave, Ixion and the Sealed community work well as an alternative reality. They stand on their own without coming across as a slightly altered Earth.

I can’t wait to find out more about some of the characters that we’ve only met briefly. With those who have gone to Ixion, what it was they were running from initially. How those who joined Dark Eve started to think of the future rather than the ever-present raves of the present. And what the Ripers – or Ixion for that matter – are and how they came to be.

Quote

In Ixion music and party are our only beliefs. Darkness is our comfort. We have few rules but they are absolute.

 

Discussion Topics

Sealed compounds stipulate that their people suppress emotion, deny themselves company aside from close family, and live a life of abstinence. Ixion is the polar opposite, expecting its wards to party en masse, take capsules to accentuate emotions, and only pause for sleep. Which of the existences would you prefer?


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