Thursday 2 April 2015

Book Review - Burn Bright

Dark Star
Author: Bethany Frenette
Series: Dark Star #2
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 3rd September 2013
Publishers: Disney Hyperion
No. Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon - Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous.. and frustrating - maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey - the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of 'dating' Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face, but knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

I can't for the life of me understand why I left reading Burn Bright for as long as I did, not only when you consider that I really really enjoyed Dark Star, but that the series is a definite 'Amanda' series. It's character's have depth, feel real and are juicy and squishy, and it's plot is brilliant, twisting and full of reveals. It's world is.. a little lacking, but almost dismissible. It literally is a book that you could read and know, just know that I would like, and nothing makes me happier than to know I certainly did more than just like it.

It's easier if I just get the tiniest, almost, insignificant issue out of the way now, and that's the same issue I had previously, the world. I feel exactly the same about the world as I did over a year ago when I read Dark Star, it's not fantastically explored, but I didn't feel as though this was a.. bad thing? Confusing as it may sound, there is a lot more going for this book and eventually, it's strength, or lack of strength in world building does fizzle out and, I, personally, did start to almost forget I had an issue with it, because the rest of the book was that good. It's urban fantasy focusing a lot on the urban and expecting you to forge your own world a lot of the time, I can't say that this is a bad thing, some people like the little and make a lot on their own, other's, expect a stage, something to set the scene all the time. Burn Bright doesn't do this, but it, surprisingly, doesn't hinder the book all that much.

What makes this book stand on it's own two feet, amidst the many urban fantasy, paranormal and magical-esk young adult reads out in the genre? Its's its character's and it's plot, both of which are some of the best I've ever read. Ever. It doesn't take writing that sounds like mythical poetry, it doesn't take character's that have many many layers of subtext, secrets and hidden emotions, it doesn't magic or power systems that are detailed and have travelled through history for millions of years to win me over, I like simple. Simple, but impressive, and this series, and this installment especially, was exactly that. The characters, Audrey, Lucy, Leon, Drew, Tink, Gideon, damn, even Shane, all of these characters feel real to me, as do their relationships with one another, and it's beautiful. Some relationships stand out more than others; Audrey and Lucy's relationship is just - it reminds me so much of my relationship with my Mother, a mutual care and protective stance over one another, a feeling of being more like friends than family, a feel of just, trusting, and having that mother/daughter relationship in a book that just matters, that's involved, that plays a big part in, not only how the character's grow and develop, but in the plot too. It's definitely my favourite mother/daughter relationship, and it really highlights how more authors can and should involve parents more, (in fact, just involve family, this book is full to the brim with active familie characters and relationships; grandparents, cousins, older characters in relationships that aren't marriage, dating while middle aged, adoption and adoptive parents and, father figures) in all stories, never mind those more action-packed and fantastical ones; Audrey and Lucy just make my heart smile.

What makes my heart flutter is Audrey and Leon's relationship, which really, along with that with her mother, really shapes Audrey into not just a realistic heroine, but a strong heroine, one that believes she's capable and believes in herself, and wants to be involved, wants to help people, wants to be the important character that she is in the series, and Leon is just the perfect love interest for her, and their relationship is - I hate to use beautiful again, but it is, it's so swoony, so sexy, so so damn adorable, my feels literally cannot take the cute. These two, their struggles, their personal battles, their respect and loyalty to one another, their protectiveness, their need, and want, to look after the other, their honest and realistic romance, it's just really rather perfect, and how they explore their feelings, and how things get pretty darn hot every now and then, and then switch to cheesy, happy smiles and holding hands, I just - I love them.

In fact, I just love pretty much everything about Burn Bright. It's brilliant plot and dark, eerie feel was the right direction to take for the sequel, and it's new enemies, new characters and it's interesting twist on previous characters we already knew and their relationships with one another, it was everything I thought I wanted from Burn Bright and more, Frenette is just a genius, and is not appreciated more for her work. She writes such entertaining and enthralling action scenes and she has such clear, yet detailed plots woven throughout her books, she creates the perfect amount of questions and answers and throughout her work, and she makes me cringe (but in a very good way), laugh, cry, howl and breakdown. I don't mind that I knew were most of the story was going and that I'd worked out a lot of what was to come, and I really don't think I mind the world not being as strong as it could be, because this series, and Frenette, deserve more notice, and deserved a chance to feel complete. Knowing that this series didn't get the love, or the attention it deserved when it was released breaks my heart, because it's such a good series, with so many brilliant characters and relationships and unanswered questions, and I feel so angry knowing that the final installment is going to be so difficult to find, but I love this series too much to let it go unfinished, and I will do anything within my power to get my hands on Fire Fall. In between my heartbreak over this series lack of love, I could not have wished for a better sequel, and this series definitely has a place in my heart.


  1. I read Dark Star SO LONG ago and loved it and kind of just forgot about the sequel :( I need to make sure to pick it up this summer at the library! It was such a fun book. I love how you describe the characters as "juicy and squishy," I'm actually still laughing out loud about that. And I totally agree that it's soooo easy to overlook the worldbuilding in this series, because everything else is just SO GOOD. I'll have to reread Dark Stark, though, because I can honestly barely remember anything, especially Leon? OOPS. Love your review, Amanda :)

    1. Aw, the characters are juicy and squishy though, they're just so real, you know? How can you forget Leon though, he's so wonderful in this installment, everything is! Thanks Zoey! :)<3

  2. Ah yay! I really enjoyed this book, too, although not as much as book 1! Its interesting the point you bring up about world building and what different people want from it. I never seem to mind a story that gives a little staging but still leaves alot to my own imagination, but i often notice that stories that i thought were great get a lot of comments like "lack of world building" . Lol so i completely agree, its definitely a personal preference! Love Leon and Audrey , too! All the tension in their relationship this time around definitely rang true! Hope to read book three sometime soon.

    1. World building is always a personal thing, some people struggle, others are okay with it.. Personally, I'm kind of okay with it, it's Urban Fantasy, so I just put our world there you know? Hopefully book three becomes easier to get hold of! Thanks for stopping by Becky!<3


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