A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)
"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.
"The magic! The intrigue! The guys! We were sucked into this monster-ridden, alternative England from page one. Henrietta is literally a 'girl on fire' and this team of sorcerers training for battle had a pinch of Potter blended with a drop of [Cassandra Clare's] Infernal Devices."
"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, #1 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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jessica Cluess’ debut novel—the first book in a planned series—imagines Victorian England terrorized by seven monsters. Henrietta is a teacher in a rural girls’ boarding school when a sorcerer recruits her to help in the battle against this supernatural evil. A Shadow Bright and Burning is a treat for readers who love stories of magic—and a great heroine. With crisp writing and vivid imagery, Cluess had us hooked from the get-go.
Sixteen-year-old Henrietta Howel can start fires with a thought, but because women aren't permitted to practice magic, she must keeps her power under wraps at the Brimthorn School for Girls, where she teaches in a magical version of Victorian London. After a sorcerer, Master Agrippa, visits the school, an attack by a "Familiar" of the (decidedly Lovecraftian) Ancients forces Henrietta's hand. Agrippa believes that Henrietta is integral to fighting the Ancients, offering to train her for eventual commendation by a young Queen Victoria and a place among the royal sorcerers. She agrees, on the condition that her childhood friend Rook comes along. In a strong opening to the Kingdom on Fire trilogy, debut author Cluess makes the most of her setting, never shying from gritty details, such as the "burned and ravaged" London outside the wards that protect the sorcerers; the contentious history between sorcerers and magicians adds heft. Henrietta is pragmatic and bitingly funny, and she more than holds her own in a man's world. Cluess gamely turns the chosen-one trope upside down in this smashing dark fantasy. Ages 12 up.
Slow start but takes off running after the first few chapters!
Storyline is so unique. So glad I stuck it out on the first few chapters. One of the fastest trilogy series that I have read in awhile. This is just me coming back to say that I was impressed with the character development and the unpredictable nature of these books. Usually the first book is the best but I think the epic ending is too hard to beat so only 4 stars on this book when compared to the other two.
A Great YA Story
I voluntarily received an ARC of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess in exchange for an honest review.
I was very excited when I received my ARC of A Shadow Bright and Burning in the mail, because one, the book is absolutely beautiful and two, the summary sounding like a great fantasy story. I was also a little hesitant after reading several reviews complaining about it being too similar to Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices series. Yes there were some similarities, but A Shadow Bright and Burning is still an different, independent, and well told story.
Henrietta sometimes made me very frustrated, but I loved her strength and determination to fight for everyone no matter where they are in the social hierarchy. Even in the frustrating moments of this book, I seriously enjoyed every moment of it. I read the 400 page story in two days because I could not put it down and kept wanting to know what happened next. And now I can't wait to find out what happens in book 2.
It was eh.
I’m not one to hate on a book but I just couldn’t get into it. I also didn’t like how it was written. It has a good storyline but just not my thing I guess.