Received from the Publisher
From the BLURB:
Retra doesn't want to go to Ixion, the island of ever-night. Retra is a Seal - sealed minds, sealed community. She doesn't crave parties and pleasure like all the others. But her brother left for Ixion two years ago, and Retra is determined to find him.
Braving the pain of her obedience strip to escape the only home she's ever known, 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.
Marianne de Pierres’s Young Adult sci-fi novel is the first in a new series called ‘The Night Creatures’.
Ixion is paradise for the young. It is a secret island, inhabited by wanton partiers whose only purpose in life is to burn bright and live free.
Young people escape to Ixion every day. On the back of a draculin bat or on the barge through Spiral. They come from far and wide to taste the sort of excess that Ixion demands.
Retra is amongst the newest crop of residents to Ixion. She is a Seal – from the Seal compound. Her life could not be more different from the endless nights of Ixion. Back at Seal, all women must wear veils. Men rule and punishments are handed out by the Wardens. Retra’s spirit was further broken when her beloved older brother, Joel, ran away from home to live on Ixion. When Joel left, Retra had only a heartbroken mother and tyrannical father keeping her in Seal . . . so she ran too. She ran to the island of revelry to find her brother . . .
But what Retra discovers is Ixion’s darkest secrets. The Ripers who control the island and dictate to its inhabitants. She finds Ixion segregated into gangs and groups who are becoming increasingly agitated by the violence of the Ripers. And worst of all, the Ixion natives are becoming restless about what will happen to them when they get too old for the revelry of the island and are 'withdrawn' . . . what happens when you get too old to burn bright?
‘Burn Bright’ is an epic and mystifying new novel from Australian writer, Marianne de Pierres. The novel is a cross between ‘Logan’s Run’, ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘The Beach’ with a healthy dose of sci-fi steampunk thrown in for good measure. It is incredible, and should most certainly be appearing on everyone’s ‘Must Read’ list for 2011!
Marianne de Pierres writes with an eclectic frenzy that is at once infectious and utterly unique. Yes, ‘Burn Bright’ is sci-fi, but de Pierres is drawing on so many fantastical genres and themes that the novel is as wonderfully haphazard as the island of Ixion. Back at the Seal compound Retra’s school teacher was a mechanical head in a box, but this alternate universe is also peppered with mystical flying bats and other creatures that lurk in dark places. These sorts of mishmashes are peppered throughout ‘Burn Bright’ – cable ‘kars’ carry party-goers to their clubbing destinations around the island, carriages sprout legs and the only places of rest on Ixion are the various chapels and churches specifically designed for partiers ‘come down’. I loved that Marianne de Pierres made the world of Ixion as diverse as the residents – a mixture of high-tech steampunk and animalism where residents are ruled by their base desires.
The silence became taut as if the crowd breathed in accord.Lenoir laughed, feeling it. Though many could not see him as well as she could, he mesmerised them with his voice alone.“Fear not. All we want . . . is for you to pleasure yourselves,” he said.A cheer went up, discharging the tension.He waved his hands once more for quiet. “In Ixion music and party are our only beliefs. Darkness is our comfort. . .”
Retra is a fantastic protagonist through which to experience the world of Ixion. She stands out amongst her fellow celebrators – she cannot shake the lessons that have been beaten into her since childhood. Retra cannot lose herself in the burn – both because she is hunting for her run-away brother, and because she can't help the perverse feeling that Ixion is wrong and something is looming above the merrymaking.
‘Burn Bright’ also features a cachet of wonderful secondary characters. The various gangs of Ixion read like Peter Pan’s lost boys – Kero, Clash and Krista-belle. Then there are those who are new to the island and become fast friends with Retra – Rollo, Suki and Markes. Retra forms the first friendships of her life on Ixion, at the same time that her loyalty and trust are put to the test by the island’s inhabitants. The secondary characters are made all the more fascinating for their quick bonding with Retra – it seems like the island of Ixion inspires heightened emotion and unions are formed quickly and intensely amongst friends and lovers.
‘Burn Bright’ is a novel of intriguing complications. Ixion seems like a haven for the young – where people are encouraged to burn bright, live free and be without consequence. But of course, freedom has a price. Marianne de Pierres is writing some subversive moral lessons for her characters – some are obvious, like the disastrous effects of eating the ‘pods’ that Ripers hand out like lollies to revellers. Other messages are murkier and will take more books to wade through and pick apart – like deciding what price you’re willing to pay for change and betterment.
‘Burn Bright’ is an epic new young adult sci-fi novel. Marianne de Pierres has written a beautifully frantic book that meshes sci-fi with fantasy and steampunk, while also exploring base human nature and the consequences of chasing the dream and living to burn. Impressive and addictive. I eagerly await second novel, ‘Angel Arias’.