Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne



Title: Brightly Burning

Author: Alexa Donne

Series Status: Standalone

# of pages: 391

My rating: 1/5 stars



From Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet


Be prepared for an inarticulate ranting review. You have been warned.

I didn’t go into this book expecting to love it since I have never readJane Eyre , but I expected that since it was still a Sci-Fi I would be able to get attached and still really enjoy it. That was not the case for me.

Instead I was met with what felt like an entirely underdeveloped, possibly under thought-out, story that made no sense and had absolutely nothing going on. It really started with the first couple pages which uses info dumping to give us about two sentences worth of world building along with the occasional thrown in “we are on rations” and “no one can go to Earth” type sentences to help us along in really understanding the world. Essentially the world went through another ice age and everyone had to abandon it while this happens and they are all in these nice convenient space ships that fit everyone (especially the rich who have their own individual space ships) but didn’t plan for population growth or actual means of living since everyone is kept on strict rations that are never explained. Also there is the occasional meal with meat (only for the uber rich) that is never explained since there is not one mention of animals housed anywhere and otherwise everyone is eating vegan meals. I think that’s the general feeling of the world since not much of anything was really explained to clear it up.

Then we move on to the characters, where I may fail on understanding since I haven’t read Jane Eyre , but they are completely one dimensional and so underdeveloped that I question how they can last the span of 300+ pages of storytelling. Our main character, Stella, is an engineer who hates it-but also kind of enjoys it? That part is still unclear to me since she is amazing at the job and takes pride in her work but is type cast as hating this job. Instead she wants to be governess and teach children (a job that she already possesses on the ship she starts out on in the book) but instead wants to transfer off so she no longer has to do any engineer work (which is funny because the ship she is hired onto gives her the EXACT same job: governess and engineer when needed). Oh and she likes to draw/read and is “nice”. That’s about all the development that she gets. We have Hugo, the 19-year-old captain, who is an alcoholic and seems to have other major issues that aren’t really delved into in the story (something that I don’t know is lack of on Donne’s part of or if it is something from Jane Eyre). His character is basically described as handsome alcoholic mysterious guy. Then every secondary character has one feature to define them, if that, and that’s it.

I expected this to be a heavy romance since the blurbs and summary mention “swoony” and “seducing” but instead the romance takes about 200+ pages to actually begin and the lead up consists of pretty normal conversations with the additional comments being “he gave me a deep smile” or “a knowing wink” even if there isn’t anything actually happening. Perhaps this made me more infuriated than anything else since I expected this to be pretty romance heavy but instead had 200 pages of dragging dialogue and little plot movement followed by what may be the most awkwardly described kiss scene ever and then some actual drama and resolution but by which point I no longer cared about so I couldn’t even say how well it was done.

Instead of a heart racing romantic retelling I found it dragging and boring with such poor development along with what I feel like was an unnecessary plot, but it could have been in the original. 

2 thoughts on “Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

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