Review: A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica CluessA Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 20th 2016
Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
eARC provided by Random House

AmazonBook Depository

"Vivid characters, terrifying monsters, and world building as deep and dark as the ocean." --Victoria Aveyard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Queen   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.
"Cluess gamely turns the chosen-one trope upside down in this smashing dark fantasy." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Unputdownable. I loved the monsters, the magic, and the teen warriors who are their world's best hope! Jessica Cluess is an awesome storyteller!" --Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author
"A fun, inventive fantasy. I totally have a book crush on Rook." --Sarah Rees Brennan, New York Times bestselling author
"Pure enchantment. I love how Cluess turned the 'chosen one' archetype on its head. With the emotional intensity of my favorite fantasy books, this is the kind of story that makes you forget yourself." --Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"A glorious, fast-paced romp of an adventure. Jessica Cluess has built her story out of my favorite ingredients: sorcery, demons, romance, and danger." --Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters
From the Hardcover edition.

Reading time 3 mins

This book was so fun! Jessica Cluess includes everything I love in a YA Fantasy in A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING.

Henrietta, (Nettie), is a teacher and a witch at a school for girls. Nettie just wants a safe life with her best friend Rook. When a sorcerer comes looking for a girl witch, Nettie is discovered as being a sorcerer and sent to London to train to become a defender of the city. She agrees to go and takes Rook with her. When she begins her training she discovers she may be the chosen one who was prophesied to bring the people to victory. If she can prove herself a good sorcerer she will be commended and get to live a free live with Rook.

Nettie was a well written character. She is stubborn and determined, but a little sad. I loved her and her powers. In the beginning she is protective of her students against a headmaster with roving hands. When she is asked to move to London she makes sure she can take Rook with her. Rook and her share a friendship but it is easy to see Rook would like a little more. She starts off in training not being able to do anything but start fires, but she ends up wielding a much greater power. Nettie faces so many obstacles as she moves to London to train…

  • She is a woman in world where woman have no rights
  • Her best friend is unclean (meaning he was scarred by the ancients) and she wants to keep him safe
  • She isn’t doing well as a sorcerer and so she takes a magician to help train her, and magicians are illegal
  • All of her peers are boys and some of them doesn’t want a girl sorcerer
  • She is a bleeding heart and so worried too much about the people outside the city that no one protects

In this story you will find betrayal, friendship, adventure, magic and a little romance. This story starts with a great pace and doesn’t let up. I really enjoyed that I couldn’t see what would happen for Nettie and the city. Among the boys she is training with include a charming boy named Magnus and a wealthy titled Blackwood. Between them and Rook, I wasn’t sure who the love interest would be.

The world building is good. The age of Queen Victoria is the perfect setting for this story. Through Nettie, this world comes to life. I especially loved the real threat from the seven ancients. All of the ancients are pure evil and a bit scary sounding. The reason the ancients now threaten this world creates even more conflict for Nettie. I really want to say more and can’t. But for those of you that have read this, just know that guy is my hope for Nettie.

This book is a great start to a series. I will definitely be reading the sequel. This was a great fantasy that kept me on my toes. I read this book in one day and highly recommend it!

My Rating


About Jessica Cluess

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.


This giveaway is open to US residents until 9/30/16 and is sponsored by the publisher.

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sunday-street-teamI received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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