Review--A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Henrietta can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied 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 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, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?


I FINALLY read Jessica Cluess' debut, A Shadow Bright and Burning and I must say it was quite enjoyable. It was different than what I was expecting, but still, that can be a good thing! I found the world Jessica built to be very interesting, filled with magic of all sorts and I am excited to see where this series will go!

Henrietta has fire magic, she can wield flames and control the flames. But she has to keep it secret, for in her line of work, a teacher, having magic can be a quick way to die. But when she reveals her powers in order to save her best friend, Rook, the secret is out. But instead of death, a man named Agrippa offers to take her away and allow her to harness her powers, for he believes she the female sorcerer from the prophecy that says a female sorcerer will help out an end to the Ancients. The Ancients are basically a group of old, powerful people, and they are dangerous.

Taking Rook along with her, for he is an untouchable one for he was scarred by a magical attack when he was young, Henrietta sets out on her new life determined to make a difference. But then she learns shocking news, she isn't the chosen one. If anyone knew her secret, she would truly be in danger, not only from the Queen, but her newfound friends as well.

Which brings me to the boys! The boys are basically a group of teenagers who are also sorcerers. They are all training to one day help fight the evil of the world and keep their country safe. And goodness me, are these guys quite the characters! Though it seems we are partial to two in particular. First there's Magnus, who's the carefree and generally nice guy! He's a shameless flirt but seems genuine in his kindness. Then there's Blackwood who is nearly the complete opposite. He's a bit cold and aloof and filled with mystery. You're thinking we're entering a love triangle, right? Well, it isn't as simple as that, because there's also Rook we need to factor in, Henrietta's childhood best friend. Now I'm sort of a sucker for that long time childhood friendships that turn into something more, but alas, I wasn't really feeling Rook. That's largely due to the fact that he doesn't get a lot of page time. I felt like we only saw him so briefly, and while those moments were charged with intensity, it was fleeting. 

Though I will happily say that the romance isn't a large part of the story. It's simply there. Also it doesn't really feel like so much of a huge love confliction (yes I'm making up a word since spell check isn't liking it!). Blackwood doesn't even seem like a huge contender for Henrietta's heart. It's possible he could truly just be new friend territory. The love triangle seems to involve Rook and Magnus more than anything!

Parts of this book felt really dark. I can't quite get into those details, but know that there does seem to be some darkness to everything. Some of it is a little hard to understand at this time as well. But thankfully, I have the sequel at the ready! I like what I've read so far! Henrietta is definitely my kind of heroine! She's strong, yet not unstoppable. She's fiercely devoted to her friend Rook and gets along rather well with most of the new guys. And as I said, I can't wait to see where this story will go! Filled with magic and a good dose of suspense coupled with a sprinkling of romance and bouts of laughter, A Shadow Bright and Burning is a purely magical read!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars




2 comments:

  1. Great review! I really enjoyed this one too. :)

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  2. I really liked this book too, it was a good mix of tropes and twists on said tropes. And I loved the characters! Excited to see where the sequel goes :)

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