Mar 10, 2017

Recent Reads: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  September 20, 2016

Format: Ebook
Source: From Netgalley and Random House Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.



Goodreads Synopsis: 
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?
So you can burst into flames... the only problem is that it may kill you, but now how you would expect. Henrietta is constantly afraid for her life. Her ability means that she can catch on fire without hurting herself but it also means that she could be killed for being a witch. Lucky for her there was a prophecy about a girl sorcerer so she may be in the clear

This book was an emotional bouncy-house for me. First we are scared for Henrietta's secret being found out, then we are fine when she is taken on as a sorcerer's apprentice, then down again when we find out a bigger secret, then up then down... you get it right? It was crazy plot twisting every which way. It kept this long book (416 pages) feeling like it was flying by but there was a lot of gasping and relief.

Henrietta is overly defiant for her station in life and while that is refreshing it is also not at all typical of a female in this time period either, I know it was fantasy but I kept waiting for her to get smacked. She was strong and fierce and trying to make a better life for herself though so I commend her on that aspect. She was an interesting character to follow. 

What I would have liked more of was world building, the synopsis says it is in Victorian London but I never really got that feel. Otherwise I enjoyed how quickly the story moved along and I enjoyed the characters. I also liked that while this book was the start of a series it can pretty much be read by itself. It concludes pretty well and if you didn't love it, it ends on a decent enough note to not continue the series. At this point, I don't think I will pick up the next one - too many other reviews to write but maybe when I have a more open schedule. 

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