Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess - Review



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Henrietta Howel can catch fire, but she's had to keep that ability secret at the girls school where she works. That is until she is forced to reveal her power to save a friend's life. Instead of being executed as a witch, she's actually invited to train to become a royal sorcerer. The royal sorcerers claim that she is prophesied to defeat the Ancients, the demons terrorizing the world over. She and her fellow sorcerer trainees will train to defeat the demons and test each others powers. However, Henrietta isn't really the chosen one and she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game with sorcerers that have plenty to hide.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2016, and I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to listen to it on audiobook. The narration as performed by Fiona Hardingham is excellent - she really helps bring Henrietta's story to life. The story is engrossing. I loved learning about this alternate Victorian era featuring magicians, witches, and sorcerers (all are different types of magic users) - the world-building is great, if a little rushed at the beginning. One of my favorite aspects about this YA fantasy, a genre where you can hardly turn around without bumping into a chosen one, is that Henrietta learns that she is not actually the chosen one that the prophecy mentions. The prophecy in this story refers to a female sorcerer that will defeat the demons - let's just say that female sorcerers aren't exactly unheard of, they're just more rare than say female witches (which is the type of magic user who let the demons loose in the first place). By the way, the last really well-known female sorcerer in Henrietta's world was Joan of Arc. There is also a bit of a romance in the story, but it doesn't overwhelm the story at all - that being said Rook's my favorite.

Overall, Jess Cluess's debut, A Shadow Bright and Burning, is an engaging read and comes highly recommended from me. If you enjoy YA historical fantasy (steampunk or not - this one isn't), you'll definitely want to give this 2016 release a try. Like The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas? Then you might also enjoy this first book in the new Kingdom on Fire series. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, A Poison Dark and Drowning!



I listened to this audiobook from January 27 - February 1, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.

14 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting read. :)

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    1. Definitely worth trying if you're interested in YA historical fantasy. Thanks for visiting, Stormi!

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  2. Pretty cover and it does sound like a good one. Thanks for the recommendation.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. No problem! I'm glad I could pique your interest, Sherry!

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  3. Oh, how interesting -- I've just read a book with a girl who can conjure fire and had to hide it from people! This one sounds intriguing, and I like it that the main character isn't the chosen one. Like, how often have we had this trope? It's refereshing to see a different angle!

    Gemma
    http://thetravellingbibliophile.com

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  4. This sounds so good! I haven't read many steampunk novels but I've liked the ones I have read and, of course, I can't turn down a fantasy :) I'm so glad you liked it!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    1. It really is! I wouldn't say it's steampunk, but it is historical fantasy - and it's excellent!

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  5. I didn't like this quite as much as you did, but I'm glad you found it enjoyable! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

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    1. And thank you for checking out my review, Zoe! :)

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  6. I've been curious about this one for a while. I'm not really against the chosen one trope, but it can get a bit predictable when every fantasy series has one. Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for the review!

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    1. Thanks for coming over, Alicia! I have a feeling that you'd like this one! :)

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  7. I was pretty excited for this one and preordered it and everything and then just kinda ran out of time lol. I'm really glad you liked it, though! Gets me excited to read it again.

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    1. Thanks! I do know that feeling though... :D

      I hope you'll like it too!

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