“Vermilion Sunrise” by Lydia P. Brownlow

“Vermilion Sunrise” by Lydia P. Brownlow 683 1024 Reader Views Kids

Vermilion Sunrise 

Lydia P. Brownlow 
Warren Publishing (2023)
ISBN: 978-1960146342
Reviewed by Chelsy Scherba for Reader Views (01/24)

 “Vermilion Sunrise” by Lydia P. Brownlow is a young adult sci-fi novel with a dash of romance and adventure mixed in. Leigh is just seventeen years old when she wakes up from cryosleep to find out she’s been traveling through space for thirteen years and has now arrived on a strange, watery planet. With no memories of volunteering to colonize a new planet, the only information she has is that individuals under eighteen have been the only ones able to survive the trip from Earth. Additionally, tensions run high as the other teenage colonists who inhabit the planet are less than welcoming. Lex, one of the handsome ringleaders, has decided Leigh and the others who came with her need to stay quarantined until it can be determined none of them are sick.

The island is full of unknown creatures, purple grass-like plants, and numerous dangers and threats to life. This only grows more unsettling when wreckage debris from one of the space crafts is found; questions arise over whether the youths will ever learn the circumstances back home that brought them here. With no working technology to communicate with Earth, the young colonists must decide how to survive in the form of their own society and learn about the planet’s threats themselves. Leigh knows there must be more to why each one of them was chosen to populate this otherwise uninhabited place and she is determined to find out the answers as to why they’re all here. What other dangers might be lurking on this mysterious planet somewhere in the galaxy far from home?

We’ve enjoyed such series as Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games; all young adult reads that crossed over into adult genres as well. Now we have “Vermilion Sunrise.” This is an exceptionally well-written novel for young adults that will capture your imagination with its well-crafted blend of mystery, romance, and multidimensional characters. Featuring a diverse cast from nearly everywhere on Earth you can think of, having a knack for accents will serve you well in immersing yourself in the lives of each of the teens featured in this book. I liked that all the kids felt like real teens from around the world who each brought their unique perspectives and skills to the table. Leigh gets to know each of them, and it was sometimes difficult to decide if I was more interested in the colony or the colonists, because practically all of them kept me hooked as they explored the planet and learned more about each other. 

Lex was an excellent antagonist to Leigh throughout the story, just as much as she was to him.  I enjoyed how their relationship developed throughout the book and slowly unrolled their backstories and complex feelings towards each other. If you’re a fan of romantic feelings that build over time, (known as a slow-burn romance) then you’ll enjoy this pair as much as I did. There was enough tension and drama throughout the story to keep me invested in their relationship and its conclusion. 

I enjoyed this story of survival and I felt satisfied by the end of it. There were some questions left unanswered which means there’s potential for a sequel, but as it stands, the book holds up entirely on its own with an emotional ending that I also enjoyed. The memorable characters, relationships, and meandering exploration of the planet and characters were worthwhile and enjoyable, creating an entertaining read. 

I highly recommend this book to older teens and young adults. There was no strong language or anything lewd or sexually inappropriate, but suggestive material such as violence, rape, and pregnancy were alluded to, so if you’re a concerned parent, some of that content might need to be taken into consideration if your teen is on the younger side. Overall, I definitely think fans of The Hunger Games will enjoy this book purely for the science fiction elements and complicated romantic relationships. 

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