Urban Fantasy, Dystopian
Published March 1st 2011
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Retra braves the intense pain of her obedience strip, and stows away to seek her brother Joel, gone two years for Ixion, island of ever night, ever youth and never sleep. Retra is a Seal, sealed minds, sealed community, no craving for parties or pleasure.What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? What happens to those who grow too old for Ixion? Without Joel, is her eternal bond with a Riper guardian enough to save her?Listen well, baby bats. Burn bright, but do not stray from the paths. Remember, when you live in a place of darkness you also live with creatures of the dark.
Retra isn't looking for pleasure or the ultimate high, she's escaping a life of oppression under her fathers rule. The South Seal district resides within a compound, where those wanting more are punished, abused and kept complacent. Since her older brother Joel escaped to Ixion a year prior, Retra has been punished for his crimes. So on a barge that only leaves for the part island twice a year, Retra finds herself on board and sailing towards Joel and more importantly, her freedom. With Rippers as guardians, the only rule on Ixion is to seek pleasure. Self indulgence is rewarded and inhabitants are encouraged to burn bright in their youth, with gangs who roam freely and take comfort in the darkness that threatens to consume them all.
Ixion is clouded in darkness but only for illuminated pathways that connect clubs to temples and sleeping quarters, which are rarely used. Citizens are injected with a serum to ensure they burn bright with little rest and no longer crave the sunlight. But within the darkness lurk creatures of the night, whispers that only Retra can hear and with over a thousand party goers on Ixion, Retra's chances of finding her brother are diminishing by the day.
But as Retra is about to discover, Ixion isn't what it seems.
Burn Bright was incredible. A blend of dystopian and urban fantasy woven through a unique storyline that left me breathless. Following the storyline of Retra, readers are introduced to Ixion through the young and sheltered eyes of a sixteen year old girl who's searching for her brother. I loved Retra's character. She had a quiet determination and although having grown up in a community who punished free thought, she wasn't afraid to stand up for injustice in Ixion.
The island is only for the young. Once inhabitants reach their adult years, they are withdrawn from society while the party continues on the island. Fearing her brother may have fallen victim to the age restrictions, Retra is desperate to find him and tries to embed herself within the island culture. New residents are simply referred to as Baby Bats, an endearing term given to the youngest members by the guardian Rippers, those who ensure the safety of pleasure seekers. But there's a stirring among those placed in power. The rules are simple, Rippers are not to involve themselves with the community but a rogue band are praying on who they see as the weak, taking what they want by force. It may be a party nation, but Retra refuses to stand by and watch others be placed in a position of abuse and now becomes a target due to her actions.
What surprised me with Burn Bright was how dark and delicious the storyline was. As a reader, you're eased into the world of Ixion which reminded me of Ibiza, only shrouded in darkness. The inhabitants need not sleep, only rest to continue their new lifestyles or risk burning too quickly and ending their lives prematurely.
Imagine a place where there are no Elders. No rules. No punishment. Only music and laughter and freedom.
Burn Bright is phenomenal. Beautifully written and a rare darkness in young adult that left me breathless and needing more. Words cannot do justice to how brilliant it truly is. Buy it. Love it. Or I'm afraid we just can't be friends anymore.
The Final Verdict
You've been warned.