Retra lives in Grave as part of the Seal community, a patriarchal society where technology is shunned – minus the obedience strip implanted in Retra’s thigh when her older brother Joel flew the coop. (Yes, Joel has a nice normal name, but because Retra is the protag she has a super-special name – which is changed later to another super-special name.)
Retra practises enduring pain, and then she’s off on a barge to Ixion, a land (island?) of freedom without rules, to where Joel has fled. The basic story is to find Joel, which is done within the first 150 pages. The rest involves Retra nearly dying, but is saved by being bonded to a gang leader who sucks her thigh wound. Enlightenment is an orgasmic experience of sorts, and upon regaining consciousness, Retra renames herself Naif. (Remember what I said about protags having super-special names?) Now people want to own or kill her, and not just people but also the Night Creatures… Okay, I don’t get what goes on.
Ixion is open to those of a certain age-bracket, and its new residents don’t have to pay for anything: food, clothing, accommodation, public transport, club entrance fees. WHY NOT? When characters don’t ask my questions, are we just supposed to read and not think? That should be easy, considering I’m an eejit whose brain hurts when pondering. I can’t really connect with any of the characters, though I like Dark Eve, who doesn’t get enough page-time. Burn Bright explores the world, without a concrete storyline. We already know there’re another two books coming in the series, so maybe the plot comes later, but even within series I expect each book to have a self-contained story, and not just night-in-the-life vignettes.
So without some kind of focal point, the world of Ixion is basically just weird shiz for the sake of weird shiz. An acid trip of some sorts, but I’m sober and thus can’t appreciate its genius. A lot of world-building and vivid images, but no soul. The age level is young adult, but the genre itself is harder to determine. There are shades of dystopian, sci-fi, paranormal and cults, but overall it seems like the novel doesn’t know what it wants to be, and so I don’t, either.
Will I try Book 2, Angel Arias? Only if it’s gifted to me, or I borrow it from the library. I prefer to spend money on books with more than just abstract colourful shinies.