A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on September 20, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romantic, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex
Reviewed by: Kate
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.
Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.
A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING was one of my most anticipated books of the fall. I've been looking forward to it since March. So you can imagine how happy I was that it lived up to my high expectations. Honestly, this book just killed me. There were moments that were like a kick to the stomach. There were moments where I was so happy for Henrietta. It was an up and down rollercoaster of emotions that I loved every second of.
First of all, A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING is original. It's clever, and the world building is slyly done, almost so well you can't tell it's happening. This is one of those books where you open it and fall into it, as if it's second nature. The monsters are creepy, oh so creepy, and even the good guys are questionable at times. It makes it all the more wonderful when you realize that, by the end, Henrietta has a circle of friends she can trust and who respect her.
Henrietta, by the way, is wonderful. She's young and impulsive, and frequently scared, but she's got a sharp tongue and a fierce loyalty, and she knows what she wants. She can stand up for herself, and she does, something I like in my heroines. And there's this thing she says to her teacher at the end (you'll know it when you get to it) that was so impactful to me that I even dog-eared the page so I wouldn't lose it!
Overall, A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING is an amazing read, and I cannot wait to see where Cluess takes this world next!Series Titles:
- A Shadow Bright and Burning
- For more from the same time period, try A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray.
Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.