So I haven’t read Jane Eyre, and I’m only vaguely familiar with the story, but either way, I was excited to dive into this book
Overall: 3/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 3.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 3/5
My Review in a Nutshell: Brightly Burning was an interesting and quick sci-fi read, but the characters felt a little lacking.
Brightly Burning is a sci-fi Jane Eyre retelling, something I would have never thought of, following Stella Ainsley as she gets a new job as a governess on the mysterious ship, the Rochester. Since I haven’t read Jane Eyre, I can’t tell you how accurate or different it is, but it did inspire me to actually read the book, so that’s nice. Maybe after I read it I’ll come back and edit this review, but since I still have yet to pick it up I’ll just leave it at that.
Okay, now about the Brightly Burning itself and not what it’s based on. I admit, I had high hopes for this book, and it did kinda disappoint me. But that doesn’t mean it was bad. The setting was very interesting. In order to try to escape a brutal Ice Age, humanity has created huge spaceships that will orbit the Earth for centuries until it is safe to go back down. Its been 200 years and the average lifespan on the ships is at around 34 years old, and most people are married and working by 18. Also, not all ships have been handling the centuries-long orbit well and may not be able to survive much longer. I found this universe one of the most interesting parts of the book, and I heard Alexa Donne will be writing a companion book in this universe so I’m excited to see where that goes.
The plot of this book goes by fast, with a mystery underlying all of it. From what I know of Jane Eyre, I will say that there are some differences in the mystery here that will still surprise Jane Eyre fans. While the fast-pace is nice, it does seem to go by a little bit too fast, not really giving enough time to really get to know the characters.
Speaking of characters, I wanted to talk about them in more detail. I just didn’t really connect to any of them? Maybe it’s because I haven’t read Jane Eyre, but that shouldn’t make a difference. Hugo Fairfax was probably the worst one (if you are a Jane Eyre fan- he’s the Mr. Rochester character). He was constantly drunk, and I feel like while you get to know his tragic backstory you don’t really know anything about him as a person. And the relationship in this book is definitely a little insta-lovey. Again, this may be due to the source material, I don’t know, but if they can change so much from Jane Eyre they can at least give these kids some time to fall in love and give the reader a reason to believe it. I can see why Hugo falls for Stella, but I don’t get why she falls for him except for the fact that he was there? The only characters I enjoyed and felt some connection to were Jessa and Jon. They were great.
Pros- Interesting setting
Cons- I didn’t really feel anything for the characters
Overall- 3/5 stars.
Brightly Burning is a fun, quick Jane Eyre retelling that’s something to read if your craving an interesting sci-fi, but it’s nothing spectacular.