{Leah Reviews} A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Posted November 6, 2017 by Leah in Reviews / 2 Comments

{Leah Reviews} A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica CluessA Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1) by Jessica Cluess
Pages: 416
Published on September 20th 2016
by Random House BFYR
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Also by this author: A Poison Dark and Drowning (Kingdom on Fire, #2)

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

3 Stars

I don’t usually use the term “guilty pleasure” when it comes to books. If you like a book, you should never feel guilty about it. But occasionally I have to use it when it comes to something I’ve read. Everyone, this is one of my guilty pleasure books.

Image result for pride and prejudice gif

A Shadow Bright and Burning tackles the “chosen one” trope in a reimagined Victorian England. While the book features a historical setting and even several appearances from Queen Victoria herself, there are fantasy elements, including magic and the constant threat of entities called the Ancients. These beings wreak havoc throughout Europe and it’s up to the sorcerers to stop them.

Our narrator is Henrietta Howell. At first, I was worried for her because she does a lot of cringing in the first two chapters: over people discovering her ability to burst into flames, her need to protect her friend Rook. When she’s taken to a sorcerer’s school to learn magic after said magical ability is revealed, her voice strengthens and she proves she’s stronger than even she thought she was. Her character development is key. It becomes a fun romp as Henrietta learns how to use her powers. There are elemental magics and staves (which are like staffs) that, like the wands in Harry Potter, bond to the user. I enjoyed seeing her get her stave until she names it…Porridge.

Image result for pride and prejudice gif

Then there are the boys. Since she’s the only female sorcerer in ages, Henrietta trains with several young men. Readers who are weary of love geometry of any sort might be weary of this subplot (I am), but the primary boys that Henrietta befriends are wonderfully different, each offering Henrietta, not romance, but friendship. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from wanting her to get together with the brooding, troubled boy.

The writing could have been stronger. Moments which should have been tense or scary weren’t. Some of the training scenes should have been described more; their pacing is along the lines of, “I did this and it happened.” Which brings me to another point: things happen easily for Henrietta. However, the reveal that she is, in fact, not the Chosen One, is fantastic. But this novel is so fun that I requested the ARC of its sequel; word is that the second book steps up the stakes, which is thrilling.

If you’re in the mood for a fantasy with a dash of history and some snappy dialogue, A Shadow Bright and Burning is a great pick.

Leah
Leah

Leah

Co-Blogger at Quite the Novel Idea
Leah has always been a bibliophile. An avid fantasy fan, she has spent many hours imagining magical worlds and wondering what it would be like to wield a sword. When she's not dreaming up her own standalone fantasy stories, she enjoys watching movies, traveling, and eating chocolate. She lives in California.
Leah

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2 responses to “{Leah Reviews} A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

  1. I really liked this review. I also have books that I label as guilty pleasures because they are just enjoyable fluff. I have been wanting one of those books to read recently, something I wouldn’t have to think about very much so I really will consider getting the ebook from the library. Thanks Leah!

    • Leah

      I love fluff. I’m aiming to to do more guilty pleasure reads reviews soon.

      Thank you for your kind words. Hope you like Shadow Bright and Burning!

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