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.
Burn Bright (Dark Star #2)FeaturedHot
While I wouldn’t quite say I was in a slump going into Burn Bright, I was definitely in a bit of malaise. In the week running up to it, I had a string of reads, of which a 3 star was the best rating and DNFed two books, one of which made me rage and the other of which literally gave me a headache. I needed something GOOD to pull me out of this, and Burn Bright was precisely the book I needed.
There are SO many wonderful things about this series. First of all, Audrey Whitticomb has a fabulous narrative voice. She’s funny, confident, and very much in her own skin. Then, there are her two best friends, Gideon and Tink. I love the friendships so much, because 1) they’re male/female friendships without any romantic drama, 2) they all really care about one another, and 3) though Tink is more popular with boys, Audrey isn’t jealous of her at all. Healthy friendships in YA! This is something to be treasured, yo.
Speaking of healthy relationships, can we talk about Audrey and her mom? Sure, Audrey’s down one parent, but she is not remotely neglected. Her mother may be busy being the superhero Morning Star, but she loves and parents her daughter. They have a really close relationship, though not quite Gilmore Girls close. Audrey jokes with her friends and family in this way that strikes me as incredibly realistic. In both books, the humor and affection in the dialog really jived with me.
On top of all that, the plot of Burn Bright is pretty fabulous. While I was caught off guard and unsure about the end of Dark Star, I’m totally on board now; my problem was more of expectation. Burn Bright is one of those books that manages to be both flufftastic and dark all at once. There’s an art to getting that sort of tone right, and Frenette totally owns it. Though at times Burn Bright reads like a fluffy romance, at others it’s dark and dangerous and I’m just saying you should maybe worry about the characters.
Perhaps my favorite thing here though is how trope-aware Frenette seems to be. The villain, Susannah, is super creepy. Not only that, but she actually thinks. Unlike a lot of superhero villains, she’s not going to stand around chatting with the heroes until they can come up with a plot. She’s crafty and plans. She makes use of any resources at her disposal. Unlike a lot of novels, the villain really does seem like a problem.
Also, on the trope-awareness scale is the treatment of the romance. Now, I totally shipped the couple in the previous book, but they definitely had some complications because of events. Certain paranormal factors in their relationship totally seem like they would skew the relationship to the whole “man must protect woman” caveman vibe that so many romance novels have. Let’s just say that, while this is dealt with head on, Audrey’s not the kind of girl to go for something like that. Frenette resolved that in the best possible way for the given situation.
What Left Me Wanting More:
As much as I loved this, I’m not quite going for the full rating here. For the most part, I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I think it’s that I wanted more. Maybe another fifty pages to delve further into the friendships? I love Gideon and Tink, and more of them would not have gone amiss. I’d also have liked a little bit more of a window into the burgeoning love life of Audrey’s mom, though this would admittedly be tricky through Audrey’s POV.
The Final Verdict:
Burn Bright blows Dark Star out of the water. This is without a doubt one of my favorite paranormal series. If you’re a reader who likes your books dark and bloody, all while retaining a sense of humor, Bethany Frenette’s Dark Star series is a must read. Could I please have book three immediately?
The major arc of the story is the mystery of the Remnant and how the Harrowers are trying to find that person. Audrey, equipped with her knowing, tries to find out before they can but sometimes Knowing itself is a curse, as evidenced by that amazing twist in the end. What I really liked was how the author had set up the twist from the first book itself – events that had been hinted at but not really pursued. The writing was smooth and well-detailed, with such depth and dimension given to each character, and voice through Audrey, a really perceptive individual. Even besides her Knowing, she herself is able to read people effortlessly, and how she empathizes with everyone is clearly a testament of her good heart. Her romance with Leon is delved into so beautifully – they are bonded but there is no co-dependence. It may seem like she has needed him to rescue her, but she is certainly not helpless. The dynamic of their relationship is quite interesting and I could go on and on about the other character relationships too. :)
My only disappointment was that the Calling of a Guardian and the inner working of the Kin are not so well-explained. Granted, the plotline’s narrative is from the point of view of a character who is brushed aside for most events, it would have been nice if the author would have manged to slip in some more details on that front. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely, even the way it was and hoping for another amazing sequel soon enough.
Received a copy from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley for a honest review