Retra is a well-behaved girl, trapped in her ways of obedience, passivity and powerlessness. She does not crave the attention of males like the other girls. She is not even allowed to speak to others. This is her life as a Seal, which is why she forces herself to escape to Ixion, a place which preaches pleasure without consequences. Though she doesn't seek the fun, she can't take her life any longer and is desperate to join her older brother - her other half. One night, she narrowly escapes onto a barge which only comes to the island twice a year. Unhappy children go to Ixion to be free from life's rules, but what happens when they're too old? Is it worth it after all?
Retra is immediately scrutinised when she lands on the barge. Too modest. Too serious. Stiffy is what the others call her. She knows she doesn't fit in and on Ixion, that's deadly. Retra quickly meets many people who later end up being quite important and/or close to her. I really liked the personalities of all of the characters. They are so out of this world and different from what you usually see! The brilliant thing about Burn Bright is that you are never certain about which side a character is on. Are they genuine? Are they an enemy? Marianne keeps us in suspense and uncertainty until the very end!
Slowly but surely, Retra becomes a fierce heroine - someone who is willing to stand up for what she believes in, a stark contrast to the person she was previously. Mature audiences are recommended, as there are descriptions of violent and sexual acts which may take some out of their comfort zones. I personally like the genuine "creep factor" the book has because it makes everything more powerful and frightening.
There is never a moment when you understand everything. Burn Bright is the most unique and jarringly confusing thing I have ever read, which is amplified by Retra's complete lack of knowledge too. Essentially this novel is about self-discovery, combined with some mystery and thriller. Romance is not a large element of this novel, but things are set in place for the sequel, Angel Arias, which I'm very excited to read since there are many unanswered questions. Who is her love interest? What will happen to her brother? What darkness is about to fall over Ixion? Marianne has set the bar high to continue the journey in this vivid and exciting new world. Everything is intriguing and begging to be explored further! Disturbing and chilling, this novel is not to be missed!
Angel Arias is released at the end of this year. Perhaps November?
Another unique cover! :) Leave me your thoughts!