Monday, September 19, 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Series: Kingdom on Fire (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Fantasy/Alternate-history

Subjects: sorcerers, magicians, magic, supernatural, abilities

Setting: London, England in Victorian times

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Henrietta Howel

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 404 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Random House

Summary/ product description: “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.”

My Review:  A Shadow Bright and Burning is an alternative-history fantasy set in Victorian London. Henrietta Howel has the ability to light herself on fire. She is a teacher and previous student of an all-girls school. She has a friend who is and Unclean (scarred by an Ancient) named Rook. Over a decade ago the Ancients were summoned and a great war began. The seven Ancients, include R’helm the Skinless Man, Korozoth the Shadow and Fog, On-Tez the Vulture Lady, Nemneris, the Water Spider, Zem the Great Serpent, Molochoron the Pale Destroyer, Callax the Child Eater.

A sorcerer named Cornelius Agrippa comes to the girl school that Henrietta lives at and now teaches at and he believes she might be the prophesized one. He says she’s the first female sorcerer in a long time and that she could be the key to defeating the ancients. He bring her to London to meet the other sorcerer apprentices who are all male. He has to train her by the commendation on Midsummer’s eve, the summer solstice.

The other sorcerers are all males and including the charming and flirty Julian Magnus, the brooding George Blackwood, and Arthur, Clarence, Cellini, Isaac, and Dee. She stays in the room that used to be Agrippa’s daughter Gwendolyn’s room. She’s been dead for the past years. She meets a Hobgoblin doctor named Fenswick. He maid’s named is Lilly. There’s also a magician named Hargrove who recognizes Henrietta somehow. Magicians’ magic is outlawed, but they are allowed to live, unlike the witches who used to be around.

Henrietta’s powers grow with the training, but they aren’t reliable like the other sorceress. They seem to be tied to her emotions. Henrietta may not be what she was told that she was. She feels out of place, but will do anything to be commended by the Queen and help defeat the ancients. With some romance, action and magic, a Shadow Bright and Burning is an exciting tales of dark fantasy.

I recommend this book to fans of Red Queen by Victria Aveyard, the Young Elites by Marie Lu, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Aheirs, and The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows.

Cover Art Review: I love the burning rose image, but it reminds me off the book series False Memory. I like the paper used for the cover too.

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