Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publication Date:  September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Source: from BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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?
This book took me a bit to get into. When I first started I really struggled to immerse myself in the world and really start to care about the story and the characters. I do not know if this was due to poor writing at first or just a general lack of interest on my part. But once the story started to unfold and I got further into the book, I really started to love this book and start to theorize about what was coming next.

This book has a very unique magic system that I really enjoyed learning about as Henrietta does. I personally tend to enjoy books more when I get to learn about magic at the same time as the protagonist rather than it being already established for them. The whole idea of controlling the elements with your stave (wooden wand-like object) and working to master those abilities to get approval by the queen was fascinating to me.

This book left me with many questions about Henrietta, the ancients, the Magicians versus the Sorcerers, and what is to come next. I have many theories about Henrietta's origin and what her connection to magic really is and I cannot wait for the series to continue to see what the truth is.

This book was definitely female empowerment even in a Victorian time period. Henrietta always stood up for herself and protected those under her even if she was told not to. I really enjoyed the banter she had with countless secondary characters who were trying to tell her what to do or how to behave. The many love interests kind of irked me especially given the time period and Henrietta's upbringing. Jessica Cluess definitely set it up that it could be one of at least three characters. But she did not make romance a huge part of this book, it was there but not a focus. This story was more about Henrietta's journey finding out about her abilities and planning her fight against the ancients.

I really enjoyed Jessica Cluess's take on the chosen one's story and am really intrigued by what is to come in future books!

*Copy provided by BloggingForBooks for review*

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