About The Book:
Francis is determined to forge his own way in school and life despite his loony, awkward, broken family…and noticeable lack of friends. Then he is diagnosed with leukemia. It wasn’t part of his strategy, but there are moments when he can see the upside. After all, people are nice to you when you’re sick.
While in the hospital, Francis meets Amber. She’s outspoken and sarcastic, and Francis falls for her almost immediately. Hard. Together, they take on the other cancer ward patients, overbearing mothers, and treatments with lively wit.
But Francis’s recovery is taking a different path from Amber’s. He’s actually getting better. And although he knew who he was before cancer, before Amber, now he has no idea how to live—or how to let go…
Oh, I had such high hopes for this book. The cover! The premise! The characters! I desperately wanted to love it…but I didn’t.
The pacing at the beginning of the book really threw me off. We start with a lot of backstory about when Francis was 4 years old. We then skip forward to when Francis was 15 years old, which is when the majority of the book is set. A few pages later, the story jumps back a few years to when Francis first learned that he had cancer. There was a lot of back and forth at the start without explanation, but fortunately, the rest of the book wasn’t as bad in this aspect.
The writing itself was great! The description in The Brilliant Light Of Amber Sunrise was absolutely wonderful and there were more than a few parts I wanted to bookmark for reference later.
My main issue with this book was with Amber and Francis, and their romance. I really couldn’t connect with Amber at all; she was too rude and snarky for my taste. There were a few parts in which she was purposefully nasty towards Francis, and yet he still said that he was in love with her. At one point she says (and I quote):
” “What’s your problem anyways?” Amber said, turning her head and staring at me so coldly I felt myself shiver. “I’m sure if you try really hard someone else will be willing to overlook you being such a total creep. Do you really think I’d have given you the time of day if I wasn’t bald and rotten to the core?””
Needless to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of Amber and her romance with Francis. Francis kept calling their romance a huge, amazing love story and was constantly going on about how hopelessly Amber was in love with him. For example:
“Within minutes Amber had texted me back, saying that she was having a similar early night, in which I assumed would be an attempt to have extra-long dreams about her beloved (me).”
One of the things I did enjoy was the awesome family dynamics. I loved the way that Chris took care of his younger brother, and Francis’s mother felt very realistic. His grandmother was pretty funny too!
I couldn’t help but see the similarities to The Fault In Our Stars, though. Not only was there the “doomed lovers” concept but there’s also several other things that were just too close to TFIOS for my liking. There’s even a support group with a perky, overly upbeat leader who, as Amber said, “probably got his qualifications off the internet.” There’s also a supposed intelligent love interest (Francis/ Gus) and references to stars.
The ending, although not too surprising, was well done. I’m not usually a fan of epilogues, but I think that this one was written excellently. I can’t say much about the ending without spoiling anything, but I thought it was great! Overall through, I am very disappointed with The Brilliant Light Of Amber Sunrise. I wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t connect with Amber, and I didn’t like the romance at all. 2 stars!