Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres

Published Date: March 1st, 2011
Finished Date: July 21st, 2011
Publishers: Random House Australia
Format: Paperback
Pages: 316
Series: Night Creatures Book 1

Blurb from Goodreads: Into a world of wild secrets and deadly pleasures comes a girl whose innocence may be her greatest strength.

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

Retra doesn’t want to go to Ixion, the island of ever-night, ever-youth and never-sleep. Retra is a Seal – sealed minds, sealed community. She doesn’t crave parties and pleasure, experience and freedom.

But her brother Joel left for Ixion two years ago, and Retra is determined to find him. Braving the intense pain of her obedience strip to escape the only home she’s ever known, Retra stows away on the barge that will take her to her brother.

When she can’t find Joel, Retra finds herself drawn deeper into the intoxicating world of Ixion. Come to me, whispers a voice in her head. Who are the Ripers, the mysterious guardians of Ixion? What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? And what happens to those who grow too old for Ixion?

Retra will find that Ixion has its pleasures, but its secrets are deadly. Will friendship, and the creation of an eternal bond with a Riper, be enough to save her from the darkness?

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.

My Review: I am disappointed with this book. There, i said it.

Retra lives in a conservative society that restricts and stifles the people's movements, creativity, and education. Everything and everyone is constantly monitored. Retra's brother, Joel, hates it all, says he is a natural born rebel(or something the likes), so he ran away to Ixion, the land of freedom and blahs.

Retra has been dependent on her brother on lots of levels - mainly the emotional level. She doesnt have any friends cause the Elders(the ruling body) do no permit the people to interact much and so, has always just talked and played with her brother. So after Joel left, she suddenly felt lost, bereft, and lonely, so much so that she willingly self-inflicted pain, to train herself to withstand everything with a cool head and a poker face, and to ultimately escape.

In Ixion, she meets all sorts of young people(old people are "withdrawn") - snobby, crazy, handsome, pretty, kind, cool, authoratative, so on. But her journey to find her brother is so fraught with perils and obstacles that more often than not, she finds that the only way to survive Ixion, is to forsake her own identity. And AFTER she finds her brother, she isnt gonna like her situation/predicament any better.

Yep that's about it.

Now on to thoughts and feelings... I know one thing's for sure: I am way disappointed. Firstly, you would expect a book with an average rating of 4.26 to be a hell of a good book. That's the first thing that came to my head when i saw the stars. I was like 'oh wow, that's very high.' Considering that other good books usually get a 3.9 rating or something(like GRACELING got a 4.14). But oh no, i was sorely disappointed.

Secondly, when an emo book cover gets a good rating, it means that the author managed to balance out everything so the negative emotions never gets too overwhelming right? But she did not really.. Some parts(i feel) are...how do i say this..got all doom and gloom, then i feel all detached, then it all becomes too surreal. I dont know, it just didnt feel right to me. So no, i didnt enjoy the atmosphere created.

Let's get on to the protagonists.
I didnt feel the connection to ANY of them. Which made the whole reading process even more boring on top of the (kinda) uneventful plot. One example is, in the middle of the story after chapter 18, Retra changed her name, but not only that, she almost-completely changed who she really was. Like, she was actually a very conservative person who wears a veil over her face and has to constantly tie up her hair and to do so otherwise would be considered an obscenity or something(hey this kinda reminds me of the middle east..maybe that's where she got her idea from?maybe maybe. the world is full of possibilities.haha), yeah she suddenly wasnt shy to lift up her skirt to expose part of her thigh to show her scar. The change was instantaneous. After this particular event, it was like BAM! Here, i'll lift my skirt up for you because after i changed my name, i'm no longer who i used to be. Yeah ok i get it that you've been thru some tough times, but the basis of a person's character cannot be remodelled so thoroughly overnight. So yeah it got unreal and unbelievable that it really turned me off. And what's more, after Retra have her 180 degrees personality change, de Pierre didnt really develop on Retra's inner take on everything, which left me feeling so un-connected to her! Which is bad since this is written in the first person perspective(mostly).

The other protagonists would be her friends and the love interests. Her friends werent VERY prominent so i'll just move on to the love interests. One of them, Marke, as some reviewers have said and i totally agreed, did not do much to actually win Retra's love. So when she started to feel something for him, i was like 'whaat?'.

The other love interest, Lenoir, head of the Guardians that rule Ixion, was, in my opinion, also rather passive when it came to wooing Retra. I dont know what's wrong with them.. On top of that, they(meaning Lenoir and Markes) didnt get a lot of airtime with Retra, which equates to some serious un-development of the relationship. No chemistry, no connection = what the heck.

There are things like the creepy "come to me" whispers in her head problem that de Pierre did not answer. So was it the Night Creatures in the lesser paths that said it? Or was it the Ripers? If she did answer them, then sorry, it wasnt explicit enough.

The main conflict was written quite messily too. Im kinda tired of slamming this book already, so i'll just leave it at that.

There was one thing that de Pierre did good - the world-building. I have to admit that she did the scenic descriptions in wonderful detail, every color(even tho they're all mostly dark, black or gray or the likes)was painted, every shape was illustrated. That was a job well done. Tho it did tend to the over-desciptive side for some parts, which tend to kill the thrill that had built up.

The whole thing tho, was sort of uneventful and just..wrong. To me. I just felt this constant detachment that made the whole reading process un-enjoyable. Truly disappointed. It had so much potential.

My Rating 


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Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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