Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres - Perfect Gothic Sci-Fi Fantasy
If you've got a young Goth in the house I'm hear to tell you I've found the perfect gift for them!
Australian sci-fi legend Marianne de Pierres has written an engaging and perfectly conceived Gothic sci-fi fantasy YA novel called Burn Bright, and I absolutely loved it.
Naturally, I am somewhat above the age of the novel's intended audience, but if you do a Google search you will see plenty of young people who have posted enthusiastic reviews already about Burn Bright.
The book tells the stry of Retra, a beautiful but horribly oppressed young woman who has been brought up in a stifling religious community in some dystopian future world. She has learned to manage pain, to repress desire and to resign herself to her humble lot, until a family scandal causes her to flee to Ixion, an island devoted entirely to youth, beauty and constant pleasure. The only problem is, at the heart of Ixion lies a dark and troubled wasteland populated by terrifying creatures, and no-one is very sure what happens to you when you get too old to enjoy the endless fun demanded of its residents. The mysterious Retra is about to find out...
This book is just so much fun. All the Goth frills all there - the fashion, the make-up, the drugs, even the weird sex, or at least a strange substitution for it that leaves the novel's heroine mysteriously infused with ecstasy, not understanding the source of her elation. Young female readers will identify like crazy with the outcast but secretly beautiful and constantly strong Retra, and the hot young men she can't help but attract.
The vampire-like Ripers who police the island of Ixion are the ultimate in less-than-trustworthy authority figures. Ageless, hip and strangely attractive, they are concealing a brutish strength and a secret unpleasantness that Retra sets out to expose.
All the action takes place in vast, darkened nightclubs and in even vaster churches that serve as the administrative centres of Ixion, and the source of the inhabitants' renewal. Ample setting, then, for all manner of Gothic goings-on, and de Pierres' wonderfully empathetic mind brings her teenaged characters fully to life, making the most of a seemingly perfect world that may, in fact, be truly terrible.
Grab this one for the young adult in your life. I can guarantee they will be absorbed in its story and delighted by its settings, ideas and seemingly dangerous sophistication.