Posted by: Debbie Kahl | May 13, 2011

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres

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.

Welcome to Ixion … Island of ever-dark. Enter at your own risk. Stay, if you’re strong enough…

Not usually a fan of the speculative fiction genre, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the cover of Marianne de Pierres’ YA novel Burn Bright. Dark, magical, mystical, enthralling – it hooked me from the moment I saw it. And even though we’re always taught to ‘never judge a book by its cover’, let me tell you that with this one, I’m so glad I did. It’s brilliant! But don’t just take my word for it, read the blurb for yourself.

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.

And if you’re not hooked yet, let me tell you why you should be …

Well firstly, it’s a great narrative. The concept of an island where youth is worshipped and partying is mandatory sounds like the perfect place for the young, or the young at heart. But Marianne carefully weaves throughout the story a message that all youth should learn and remember – everything good comes at a price and nothing is ever as it appears. And just like the world these youth have tried so desperately to escape, there are rules to be obeyed and dire consequences for those who break them.

But it’s Retra’s journey; from overprotected innocent to self-assured rebel that is the most compelling for me. After running away from the only life she’s ever known and risking everything to find her brother, Retra becomes entranced with the pleasures Ixion is famous for. The pleasures she firmly believed would not consume her before her arrival at Ixion. But it’s the dark side of Ixion, and the pleasures sought by the youth there, that also strengthen Retra as a person and keep us turning the pages.  

From a reader’s perspective, this book really took off when Ruzalia and her band of renegades arrived and mixed things up for Retra. I can only hope that Ruzalia will feature more prominently in book two, Angel Arias, which is due for release in November.

This is an excellent book for the older readers in the YA market and I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone, who is interested in YA issues and speculative fiction.

Make sure you visit Marianne’s website for Burn Bright at and stay tuned for our interview with the author herself on the inspiration behind Burn Bright.




  1. That sounds brilliant and I agree the cover is suitably evocative.
    Great review – I’ll add it to the must read list (which is getting rather long!)

  2. Well, I bought ‘The Unidentified’ on the strength of a recommendation from here, and it is good, so another on to now add to the grab list! It also helps that I am a fan of the Parrish Plessis books.

  3. Yep it’s on my TBR pile, which as everyone knows is kind of like the Leaning Tower of Pisa right now, need to tackle it soon.

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