Read A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess Online

a-shadow-bright-and-burning

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I? Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secI am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I? Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?...

Title : A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553535914
Format Type : Library Binding
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Shadow Bright and Burning Reviews

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    2019-01-02 07:24

    (4.5) Full video book review here: https://youtu.be/TDJD6KBqHJk

  • Emily May
    2019-01-05 03:01

    “Now, listen, Miss Howel. I’ve never seen another girl who could do what you’ve done, and I’ve searched for four years. I’ve never met another sorcerer who could burn and walk away unscathed.”Maybe five or so years ago this book stood a chance. But, come on, there's not a single thing in A Shadow Bright and Burning that we haven't all seen before.Limited world-building and a plethora of potential love interests fuel this derivative Victorian fantasy. It begins with a familiar premise: an orphaned, mistreated girl called Henrietta lives a miserable existence until she is discovered by a sorcerer who claims she is a prophesied chosen one. He whisks her out of the life she has known and takes her to train her powers with other sorcerers.Almost everything is borrowed from other series. Harry Potter being the obvious example, but there's some Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices in there too, as well as others. The magically warded secret area of London called "London Proper" is reminiscent of Diagon Alley, and Rowling's influence rears its head again when Rook knows dark magic is coming because his scars hurt.The author could have avoided this by developing her own take on both of these, but everything is skimmed over. Very little is explained. Much of this world remains a mystery to me even after finishing the book. When we do get some background information on the world, its history, and its magic system, it comes in the form of forced, unnatural conversations. The characters are clearly only discussing it for the purpose of educating the reader and it feels so out of place.There's hints at attraction with at least three of the male characters. Though the Mary Sue heroine is adamant that she is unattractive and that everyone is DEFINITELY NOT in love with her, evidence abounds to the contrary. Other characters can see that Rook is in love with Henrietta but "Omigosh, no!! They're just friends!" even though she describes him like this:Granted, Rook was attractive, with sharp, elegant features and blue eyes. His hair was still the same flaxen down it had been when we were eight. He looked like a poet or a gentleman, I’d always thought, even if he was only a stable boy.The book just doesn't do anything new. Even the attempts to put a new spin on the super special "Chosen One" trope result in a spin we've seen several times already. And I simply couldn't find anything to read for. The book moves through a cycle of Henrietta practicing her magic in repetitive elemental displays, flirting with one of the boys, and doing something dumb. By the latter I mean that she always finds a way to rush into any magical attack, against the orders of the most powerful sorcerers. I guess if you're still not over the whole "special chosen girl fights monsters and flirts with boys" thing, then this could work more for you. Me? I'm tired of it.Also, one last minor thing: every sorcerer gets a stave, which is basically a big magic wand, and their magic is tied to it. Losing it is VERY BAD. However, if you want me to appreciate the seriousness of losing one's stave, don't name it Porridge.“The pain of losing Porridge, the mere idea of it, threatened to crush me."Ooh, that's very sad. But mostly funny.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  • Christine Riccio
    2018-12-31 23:13

    Fun, solid beginning to a new fantasy series! I'm fascinated by he magical hierarchy. Here's my full booktalk/discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkg7j...

  • LolaReviewer
    2019-01-05 07:28

    If you have little to no experience with fantasy novels, A Shadow Bright and Burning will shine like a star through your eyes.But if you do, its true nature will surface and you will see this book as what it actually is: a poorly written book that stands for the unique reason that it’s made of dozens of elements taken from dozens of different novels.If you’ve read The Infernal Devices, The Vampire Diaries, Grave Mercy or literally anything exceptional with magic or supernatural elements, don’t bother with this one.She’s trying, the author really is trying. But she’s playing it safe! She divulgates very little about the world-building and its history, the magic and its provenance, the Ancients and their reason for existing.So very little it’s a shame. And the writing… It isn’t bad, alright? It isn’t bad because, again, she’s playing it safe. The sentences are short, so very short, and she uses countless of idioms and commonly used expressions or even sentences in literature.It’s all too clean. There are no quotes to highlight because the author isn’t inventive. She just knows how to put words one after another to form a novel, but her words are not impressive or worth remembering.One thing that proves my argument is the amount of dialogs. To me, it seemed as if she didn’t describe characters, situations, buildings or emotions enough because she just didn’t want to. I get it, dialogs are more fun to write, but come on. What is more important is usually what isn’t being said, if you know what I mean.Could the characters’ names be more annoying? Dee, Blackwood, Henrietta aka Nettie, Agrippa, Magnus (TMI/TID, Magnus Chase, Falling Kingdoms anyone?), Cornelius, Palehook, Rook, Cellini, etc. Those were all men, by the way, except for Henrietta.The characters, too, are not original. They’re fine, but Jessica Cluess inspired herself a little too much of the memorable Tessa, Jem, Will and Magnus Bane from The Infernal Devices. It’s so obvious I feel angry at the lack of originality.I may finish this sometime if I ever find a reason to, but for now, it’s a ‘‘did not finish’’ at page 174, ladies and gents.Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
    2019-01-09 01:10

    This started off pretty strong, but then I quickly lost interest and it became just average. This reminded me of a lot of other books, including (but not limited to), Harry Potter, Jane Eyre, Mortal Instruments. It did have an interesting twist on those stories, especially concerning the whole flip on the typical 'chosen one' story. I liked the Victorian setting, but the world building was lacking, the MC made all decisions based on the character of Rook, a character that I felt like I never really got to know so their relationship never stood out to me. The writing was solid. I loved the setting of Victorian England, and the different magic systems colliding. It was good, I just was left wanting more.

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    2019-01-15 03:05

    Reviewed by: Rabid ReadsI began reading A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING with trepidation. I'd read the preview months prior, and at the time, I'd been greatly impressed, but since then I'd suffered numerous disappointments of the finished-product-not-remotely-living-up-its-promise variety.And initially, my inner cynic taunted me, pointing out perceived flaws, whispering to get it over with and DNF already . . . Then a hobgoblin unexpectedly appeared, and I told my inner cynic to shut its trap. B/c FAE. From there, the already interesting early Victorian England--this version plagued by seven Ancients that walk and talk and quack like demons--expanded into a spectacular alternate version of our own world with sharp-toothed faerie dressmakers, tricksy, not-to-be-trusted-but-oh-so-charming Magicians, estates gifted by fae royalty, yet still recognizable by the ugly, ugly prejudice. Henrietta Howel is a witch in a time when witches are burned. An orphan, she now teaches at the charity school where she was raised . . . The charity school currently being visited by a royal sorcerer . . . A royal sorcerer whom Henrietta fears was sent to investigate the rumors of mysterious fires. Mysterious fires that she herself is responsible for. But when she meets the man, she is surprised to discover a kindred spirit:“I find a dash of insolence to be quite enjoyable from time to time.”Then we discover that Henrietta is not a witch, and Agrippa (the royal sorcerer) not only believes that she is a rare female sorcerer, but also that she is the girl prophesied to take England back from its demonic invaders.Is Henrietta this so-called Chosen One?Maybe she is and maybe she isn't. After reading the last page, I was still undecided. The only thing I knew positively was that whatever the answer, it's not so simple. Also not so simple is the answer to the inevitable question: is there a love triangle?There are two definitive love interests (maybe a third, if you're a particularly contrary sort, who never goes for the obvious choices), but the way Cluess handles the situation . . . Honestly, neither are good candidates for our girl. And anyway, it's not one of those angsty, dueling for the lady's affection scenarios. Option 1 is a comfortable childhood friend, and option 2 is a flamboyant and hilarious blue blood you don't take seriously until option 1 starts to look like a Red Shirt, then you don't take him seriously b/c REASONS, then option 1 looks less and less like a Red Shirt . . . but still you can't help feeling like no good can come of it . . . Basically, I felt option 1 is only in the running b/c familiar, and option 2 made me swoon a time or two, but I never gave him my heart. *whispers* I may be the contrary sort I mentioned earlier. BOTTOM LINE: though Henrietta's future HEA may at this time be unclear, I didn't feel jerked around or manipulated like with so many other love quadrilles triangles.As for other typically YA aspects some of you try to avoid, there were surprisingly few. I felt the first few chapters were a bit rushed, the circumstances coming together far too serendipitously, but once we got to where we were going, things began to unfold more naturally, and often hilariously. Beyond that I had a couple of minor issues where Henrietta's not-so-simple situation and her fear of discovery were referenced a bit more than necessary, and a couple of times she was appallingly self-absorbed: (view spoiler)[like when she was newly arrived at Agrippa's home, and Rook was sent around back b/c "servants don't use the front door," and she, potentially the most celebrated discovery in years, comments on how she feels alone. *flares nostrils*(hide spoiler)]But those times are few and far between, and only warrant comment as explanation for my 4.0, not 5.0, star rating.Overall, A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica Cluess, the first installment of her KINGDOM ON FIRE YA fantasy series, was a delightful surprise, and I very much enjoyed this fantastical version of early Victorian (NOT steampunk) England. There are hideously beguiling Fae creatures, repulsive demons hellbent on England's destruction, rapscallion magicians in hiding, and a girl with a gift that terrifies her, who may or may not be her world's salvation. Among other things . . . Highly recommended.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    2019-01-23 06:21

    Forgive the length of this review but guess what else looks like this cover and perfectly summarizes how I feel:This book had SO MUCH POTENTIAL and I was absolutely thrilled with what felt like a certain 5 star read for the first half. But then it turned into 4 stars and I kept staring at it in confusion as it slowly dwindled down to a 1 star that I didn't even want to finish at the very end. Like I could see the star meter just slowly dying... and I am so very sad.The story starts with Henrietta living on the English moors at a miserable school with her best friend Rook. Henrietta has the ability to burst into flames (but her clothes don't burn off of her) and she's discovered by a sorcerer, who tells her she's the prophesied one to save them all. Henrietta is taken to London to train with six other sorcerer boys, but she demands that Rook come with so her love triangle/square can function properly. Meanwhile Henrietta needs to train to pass a test to be allowed to train as a sorcerer so that she can pass a test from Queen Victoria in order to... be a sorcerer. The Ancients are part of a potentially interesting history about the divide that resulted between sorcerers and magicians when they summoned those monster things (basically magicians are despised now and sorcerers are awesome). Plot twist in the middle: (view spoiler)[Henrietta is actually a magician (hide spoiler)]. The Ancients were explained as:Seven are the Ancients, seven are the days,Monday for R'hlem, the Skinless Man,On-Tez on Tuesday, the old Vulture Lady,Callax is Wednesday, the Child Eater,Zem the Great Serpent crisps Thursday with his breath,On Friday fear Korozoth, the Shadow and Fog,Never sail on Saturday says Nemneris the Water Spider,and rain on Sunday brings Molochoron the Pale Destroyer."But everything with these Ancients (and most major plot points) felt like it was casually dropped sideways into the story to the point where the story played it too safe. I wanted MORE. The plot danced around everything instead of going somewhere clear, so the weak execution made everything awesome hover just out of reach. (Plus, every time someone would be about to reveal their feelings or a crucial piece of information, there would be a knock on the door. Or someone would interrupt. Or the person would straight up vanish. This would've increased tension if I actually had something to care about or if it didn't happen every other freaking chapter).I absolutely love other stories about magicians/sorcerers that are also set in Victorian England (like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Amulet of Samarkand, The Infernal Devices, etc) and this really reminded me of those books plus Harry Potter. But that's the issue... it only vaguely reminded me of them and didn't really contribute anything original. There were casual mentions throughout the story of faerie kings, a hobgoblin who serves Queen Mab, and some random fun creatures with multiple arms and pointy ears, but they stuck out like a sore thumb and seemed thrown in just to emphasize that this is not the world you know. The author had some interesting ideas, but was SO incredibly cautious about the whole thing that it was like every fun part of the story hid in the background and timidly poked its head in every few chapters to politely apologize for existing. I don't know how to explain but it just didn't work for me.Henrietta herself was likable, but about halfway through she lost the strong character she had at the start... like there's not much reaction from her and she loses a lot of agency. And most of the story focused on the men in Henrietta's life telling her that women couldn't be sorcerers, that she'd never belong, and that it's not Biblical for women to have pride or power. It got to the point where I was like "I get that you're trailblazing here. I get that you're a girl and up against tons of odds... just GO DO IT or stop being the main character."If you're totally new to YA fantasy or haven't read many YA books published in the past decade, this could totally be a fun story. But I feel like pretty much every YA fantasy book these days is about a super tough girl assassin/magic princess... we do not need to be told over and over that girls can do things. I excused this for the first half of the book because maybe this story needed to establish the time period's social norms. But it seriously got so old. Just have the girl kick ass instead of spending 90% of the story telling her she can't in order to build some obstacle for her to overcome. The story almost took a backseat to this monotonous tirade of "girls can't do that," which was boring when the story had so many other neat ideas that weren't used.Ok and I need to talk about that Magnus guy because WHAT WAS THAT. He starts out the story as a cocky guy who reminded me a bit too much of Carswell Thorne or Will Herondale. Then Henrietta's good friend Magnus gets her drunk and tries to sleep with her, reveals he's actually engaged to someone else, and turns into a total ass. Then he confronts her later to say she was basically asking for it and can't say she didn't like it etc. He turns into a totally different person and spins a horrible story to everyone else which makes her apologize to him. BUT then a few chapters later Henrietta's kissing him on the cheek and telling him what a true friend he is and he's back to his cocky alternate personality?? And everything's good again? Is this supposed to be a character I like because NO. I was not moved when he finally accepted her as one of them.Honestly, most of this book felt like a series of disjointed scenes to the point where I was completely detached and just watching it fall apart like "what next." Without a clear direction, even relevant info felt like filler. I rolled with it in the first half because the world & idea of the story were so much fun, but the story was still trying to find its footing at 75%. This book mainly felt like it was setting up a bunch of sequels with all of these leads and hints about the identity of the guy who's training Henrietta and his connection with her dead parents, how Lord Blackwell's home at Sorrow-fell seemed familiar,the evil sorcerer and his minions, the Ancients visiting Henrietta in her dreams, the identity of the daughter of the main sorcerer guy, and all of the other stuff that didn't matter in this story. Basically, the author introduced a lot of cool things, but never fully used any of it. And there's a point where failing to give an explanation or follow through just loses my interest completely instead of creating suspense. I'm still giving it 2.5 stars because ENGLAND. MAGIC. MOORS. All of the elements I love. And I might still check out the sequel because there IS a ton of potential in this storyline and the author's writing style is good!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Rachel E. Carter
    2019-01-19 07:28

    How do I describe this book without breaking out into rabid fangirl status? UMMMM, how about THE INFERNAL DEVICES + THE BURNING SKY + PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (as in, Mr. Darcy). Yup, I went there. It's a Victorian England fantasy, and it was SOOOOO good.Now, I'll be honest. Usually I don't like Victorian settings for my reads, something about society being too proper and women being too demure and I just get bored. Take Clockwork Angel -while I *love* certain aspects of that series, there were parts that just dragged because of the time era and diction. In ASBAB? It never dragged. There were never any slow parts or mindless era-dropping paragraphs setting a scene with Victorian imagery/routine/etc. Every chapter felt important and no character too polite. It was still the Victorian era but it just felt modern and refreshing.The cast of characters was brilliant. No one can convince me that George Blackwell is not secretly a Mr. Darcy in disguise. His first condescending words describing Henrietta! Their argument at the dinner table over high vs lowborns! Their mutual (at first) animosity! His grudging respect of her as the book goes on! (view spoiler)[I believe Blackwell is end game. Rook is clearly meant for a dark path but while Henrietta has feelings for him, I think those are more as the brother she never had. And Magnus, well, Magnus I do like despite his situation/what he did, but he's not meant for Henrietta. Blackwell is that slow-burning fire filled with grudging respect and building tension. Mark my words, he is end game. I mean why else end the book on a chapter with Henrietta just talking with him? And she's going to stay at his manor now? SIGNS, I tell you! (hide spoiler)] Rook was more of a side-character -so while I felt pity, I recognize him more as what he will become (view spoiler)[a villain as the series progresses and he doesn't master his powers and Henrietta will find a way to save him (hide spoiler)] but Magnus was wonderfully charming (although he certainly had his faults). And I grew to love Agrippa (view spoiler)[his ending killed me (hide spoiler)] as the father Henrietta never had, and even the magician (forgot his fake name) who reminded me very strongly of Haymitch (not just the drinking, but also the desire to be good and still drive a bargain, not particularly cuddly but kind).The world-building with the different races between magicians, wizards, and witches was kind of awesome. And the Ancients? They totally remind me of the Titans in Greek Mythology, or at least the ones I used to watch on the animated Hercules with some other movie, I don't remember. But I love the concept of being trapped in another world and then released to wreak havoc.I have a theory who R'hlem really is, I had it about halfway through the book (view spoiler)[he's totally Henrietta's dad, which reminds me of Infernal Devices/Mortal Instruments if she's related to villain (hide spoiler)].5 amazing stars. I can't read to read the next in series!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Adam Silvera
    2019-01-21 05:09

    I want to read this book so badly I'd set myself aflame.

  • Nastassja
    2019-01-10 00:20

    Buddy-read with my special girls ( no pun here; they are really special and, though, they don't have magical powers, they'd kick any special snowflake's ass easily) Katerina & Vira. Also, please, go read my friend Mila's review to see a more positive and well-structured point of view on the book. “How I do what I do, but not how to do what I do? What if what I do has to do with my knowledge of what to do, and doing requires only the knowledge of doing? What would you do then?”I blinked. “I believe you hurt my brain.” I wouldn't say this book had hurt my brain, and there's no particular reason for displaying this quote above, I just liked it. That's it. Why can't I make something special, because I want to? I take an example from the author. Special snowflakes everywhere!Special snowflake fact one: gosh, why does this book reminded me so much of almost every fantasy book I've ever read or heard of? Two major deja vu: Shadow & Bone and Harry Potter. The book started very similar to the first one, and in the middle turned into the second one. Plus add to the list an Infernal Devices, The Burning Sky and even Angelfall! And it's not the whole list! If only I paid closer attention, I'd find more, but I started skipping pages after 30% and missed some important moments.Special snowflake fact two: the story in nothing new, though it filled with specialness (which I'll explain later). I wouldn't say the writing was bad - it was pretty decent; the story itself had some curious twists and turns, but somehow all this was annihilated by the heroine's dullness. I didn't feel life behind her voice. And to think about spending the whole book in her head, you'd hope there would be something to hold on to. But no such luck. It felt as if we were told about the world around in a mechanic manner: here we have magicians; they are bad guys. Here we have sorcerers; they are good guys. Here we have a special girl who will save the world. Here we have six guys and two of them will kiss the ground the heroine walks on. Here we have a childhood friend. She didn't have feelings for him before, except a sisterly bond, but now her heart flutters every time she sees him. Gosh, I wish you's just had a orgy, guys. But no, here we have a reputation to uphold. I need to stop doing such writing or I'll bore myself to sleep. The point is - scattered facts and underdeveloped pieces turned this book into a porridge (pun intended as the heroine's magical stave is called Porridge. The girl named it herself. Wanted to feel special). Special snowflake fact three: the author turned every potentially interesting character into a sniveling lot, and made the ones who were supposed to be unimportant into special snowflakes (view spoiler)[Magnus, he was such a flirt and a cheeky character! Why or why, that scene when he kisses Henrietta, and then turns out he was engaged, and acts like a boy who was caught pissing his pants. Pathetic! I expected him to be more solid and have some self-esteem. Moreover, later he begins to follow heroine like a puppy, and she takes him back (as a friend, of course) and everything is tip-top again. Meh. Then we have Agrippa, who's from a sane reasonable man turned into crazy lunatic and a betrayer! Double meh. And, oh, so special Rook, who was so timid and dull, but gained super cool powers and, attention, he can control them! No one could before him! tripple meh! (hide spoiler)]I wouldn't mind a change in characters if it was done gradually and properly, not because the author just wanted to move the plot forward at whatever cost.Special snowflake fact four: Did you read the annotation? Remember those words: As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. Maybe it's my fault, because I saw in these words what I wanted to see, and the more disappointed I was. I wanted a girl who was prophesied to be the one and only, but turned out the wrong person, and in order to prove herself she's worth something, she fights evil with ordinary magicians like herself, and on her path she makes mistakes, falls in love, develops friendships and so on. You can create an amazing character-development from such setting. But look what we've got in this book: a girl is prophesied to be the savior. She goes to train her specialness. Everyone strokes her ego - the girl can't go to toilet without anyone mentioning how important and special she is, even bathtubs sing serenades to her. Slowly she turns from pretty to beautiful, smart, brave, delicate, strong, powerful... Then turns out she's not the girl from the prophesy (here I almost exhaled in relief - almost). She's better. She has powers from both sides, and who needs a sorcerer savior when you can have a magician-sorcerer savior. Special offer: two for the cost of one. Even the skeptic ones bow to her now.“I'm a mix of both races, but I was born a magician. You have to know the truth." My heart pounded as I waited for his reply.He was silent a moment. Then he said, "We need you. That's what is important. The rest is titles." Gently, he took my hand in his own. It wasn't a romantic gesture; it was deeper than that. We sat side by side, our burdens eased, if not lifted.” Who cares about fucking titles, when there's such specialness involved! The years-long hatred toward magicians is forgotten, and even her Majesty Queen says the kingdom needs our special snowflake, and lets her decide which title to give herself: A special magician snowflake or a special sorcerer snowflake. Guess what the girl chose? Of course, the prophesy must be about her and if not, she'll make it about her, so we have a new sorcerer snowflake! I don't know about you, but all this special business is rather dull. Plus, I can predict which major events are going to happen in book two, and I don't even need special powers for it. The story tried to be as dodgy as possible, and every time someone tried to say something important, things happened: someone interrupted, or the one, who was supposed to say the thing, vanished, and so one. But these tricks were more annoying than intriguing, and felt like author's desperate attempt at preserving readers' interest at any cost. I didn't give a damn about any of them. I'll probably read the spoilers, shrug and move on to something more exciting.Special snowflake verdict: A Shadow Bright and Burning is not a bad book; if you haven's read thousands upon thousands of books about special girls and boys, you'll probably like this one. As for me, I am too jaded and too bored to buy something with words "special" in it. Just give me ordinary and make it unique, and I am yours for fangirling.

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    2018-12-30 00:21

    Well that was some fiery fun. But unfortunately nothing more?? I am a melon of high standards when it comes to epic fantasy, sadly, so it really takes a lot to snabble my heart. And like this had a LOT of cool elements but it just felt like a really cliche plot line. And I don't know if the book was, like, totally allergic to female characters, but there is literally ONE. (There's a few other women in the background, but like. That's it.) But ya know what? FIRE! MONSTERS! DARKNESS! SORCERERS! A MAGICAL STICK NAMED "PORRIDGE"! I'm really cool for all that stuff.Oh and random thought: I can always tell when it's an American author setting a book in England? It just never feels really authentically English? I think it's the dialect.I quite liked Henrietta! Except for her questionable judgement with kind of swooning at many available bachelors. Like, no, Henrietta. Pls be a your own person. But she still was pretty epic with her magic, she didn't like the patriarchy annoy her -- in fact, she set the patriarchy's hair on fire, WHICH WAS NICE. I also loved her friendship with her childhood BFF, Rook. He's in love with her, obviously. Because everyone in this book is in love with Henrietta. Which I guess is fair?? BECAUSE THERE ARE NO OTHER WOMEN IN ENGLAND EXCEPT HER APPARENTLY.Excuse me.Look the romance wasn't BAD because it was barely there. But Henrietta was sort of making eyes at 3 guys at once and 1/10 I am not a fan. I particularly got annoyed at like, everyone. But here's a breakdown:(A) Julian Magnus was sassy, sweet, self-depreciating, and raised by a single mother to be respectful and honouring of women...but then he went and was a jerk (view spoiler)[and turns out he just wanted to have sex with Hentrietta after kissing her once because lol @ her it wouldn't matter if they had a fling?? wft man (hide spoiler)].(B) Blackthorn was obviously the normal sexist, self-centred, snob of an sorcerer's apprentice BUT NOOOOO HE'S REALLY SWEET ON THE INSIDE; nah, I just wanted to punch him, mate.(C) Rook, the childhood BFF who was actually attacked as a child so he has horrific scaring and chronic pain and HE KIND OF CONTROLS SHADOWS AND STUFF AND IS FAN-FRIKKIN-TASTIC AWESOME. And I loved him. But he was also incredibly uncommunicative and had no backbone whatsoever.#1 plan -- Henrietta stays single, gets awesome at magic, takes over the country, rules world, punches evil with magic, need no man.(FYI my #1 plan is most likely going to fail.)But that all asiiiiiide, I always do like magical stories! Except that I do get really bored when there's pages and pages and pages of them all just being at magic school. Like, mate, I don't care. Wave your stick and be magical. BUT LET'S MOVE FORWARD. And I don't really understand what was going on with the Ancients. But I was also napping in the middle because #bored. And I felt Henrietta got less awesome with her personality as the book progressed. Why was the book not 100% about Rook.I LOVE ROOK.ALL IN ALL: the storyline failed to surprise me, and I was a bit nappish in the middle, but I still love sorcerers and admire Henrietta! I'm not totally sure if I'd pick up the next one, but this was a fun thing to read in a day. And I love how she called her dastardly black magic wand "Porridge". Like seriously. GIVE THIS GIRL AN AWARD. I still liked Rook the best. Lead me to the tragic cinnamon rolls and thereto shall I fall in love.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-01-18 05:08

    $1.99 Kindle sale, Sept. 7, 2017.The second book in this series will be published later this month. 3.5 stars. Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature.In this Victorian-era fantasy, sixteen year old Henrietta Howel, who is now a teacher at the Brimthorn orphanage in Yorkshire where she has spent the last eleven years, has developed an ability to magically set things on fire. She believes this marks her as a witch or magician, who are imprisoned or put to death in England since a horrific event eleven years earlier, when a magician’s spell misfired and opened a portal in our world from another dimension. Through this portal entered the Seven Ancients, magical demons who have been terrorizing England ever since, killing hundreds of people with the help of their Familiars, humans who have been turned into their evil servants.While magicians are vilified in British society as a result, sorcerers, on the other hand, are revered ― despite the fact that a sorcerer participated in the spell that released the Ancients. Additionally, the distinction between sorcerers and magicians is a rather fine one, based on certain techniques in their use of magic that have very little apparent practical effect. In any event, Henrietta fearfully hides her magical ability from Agrippa, a visiting sorcerer who has been called in to find the source of several mysterious fires … until she is forced to use her powers to save her close friend Rook, a stable boy, from being carried off by a demon’s Familiars. But when she is found out, rather than being executed or punished she is hailed as the first female sorcerer in ages, the one who, it is prophesied, will save England from the Ancients.Henrietta is whisked away by Agrippa to study sorcery at his London home along with six handsome (of course) young men. But sorcery just isn’t working for her the way it should, and she fears, for good reason, that she’s not actually the Chosen One, but merely an illegal magician. So Henrietta enters into a dangerous deception, sneaking away from Agrippa’s school to learn magic instead from Hargrove, a London magician living in hiding. She thinks, or at least hopes, that no one will notice that she’s using magicians' techniques rather than sorcerers'.The promotional description for A Shadow Bright and Burning proclaims that Henrietta “meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.” Your reaction to this blurb will be a major clue as to whether this book will be your type of a fantasy or not. If you are charmed by the notion of a teenage main character being the sole female in the company of a smorgasbord of cute teenage guys, several of whom are rather interested in her, then I highly recommend this book to you. If the idea caused you to roll your eyes, then you may want to give this book a pass. The plot is as much about Henrietta’s relationships with Blackwood and Magnus, two of the sorcerer students, and with her tortured friend Rook, who has come to London as well, as it is about the larger conflict with the Ancients. Some readers will appreciate the more relationship-oriented aspects of this book, while others are likely to be disappointed.The characters in A Shadow Bright and Burning tend to be stock characters, though a few show more depth. Some of their names are amusing, if heavy-handed, clues to their nature: The abusive Mr. Colegrind (who runs the aptly named Brimthorn School for Girls), the devious Master Palehook, the wealthy, distant (and distinctly Mr Darcy-like) Blackwood, the brave and dashing Magnus, and so forth.Jessica Cluess creates an intriguing world in A Shadow Bright and Burning, with Lovecraftian monsters running roughshod over Victorian society, but her writing style here, although smooth, is a little simplistic for older readers. In fairness, this is being marketed for ages 12-18, and there will be many in that age group ―I think it’s safe to say they’ll be primarily girls ― who will think this is a wonderful fantasy. There are a few elements in it that make me hesitate to recommend it to younger readers in that age range, including some nightmarish violence and a passionate make-out session that threatens to wind up in bed. To Cluess’ credit, in the latter scene Henrietta acts as I think a well-brought-up Victorian girl would. As it turns out, her caution is justified, which is a nice change of pace from some of the sexually explicit YA fantasies I’ve read recently.Henrietta and her friends learn some good life lessons, like accepting oneself and others, developing inner strength, and fighting against class prejudice. The NOT The Chosen One plot twist (which is not a spoiler; it’s revealed in the book blurb) does make Henrietta’s journey a more challenging one, and I’m interested to see how this will play out in this series. While A Shadow Bright and Burning doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger (for which I am devoutly grateful), it is rather open-ended, leaving much of the story to be resolved in the sequels. This isn’t a book for every fantasy fan, but I think it will appeal to many younger readers … as long as they’re not terrified by monsters.I received an ARC from the publisher, Random House, in exchange for a review. Thank you!

  • Ben Alderson
    2018-12-30 00:27

    Really good debut from Jessica! I love the more fantastical take on England. And obvs, anything with witches and soccerours I am going to love! A burning YA novel that stands for equality, inner strength and embracing your insecurities!

  • Joshua Gabriel (Ever Bookish Josh)
    2019-01-18 23:04

    I buddy read this book with the bookish king, Solomon, and the empowered fangirls, Cait and Ambs.I am quite disappointed in myself for delaying this review for one month. I have been in a "reviewing slump" lately, and I want to get out of it as soon as possible. It's a good thing I still remember the important events that happened in this book. I really enjoyed reading it with my friends, but the book itself did not entirely please me.A Shadow Bright and Burning is a new take on a beloved (or infamous) trope in YA: the Chosen One. The heroine, Henrietta Howell, is believed to be one who will save England from seven powerful monsters called the Ancients. When she discovers the falsity of her status, she struggles to keep her secret hidden in order to protect herself, as well as her best friend, Rook. Filled with political, magical, and romantic drama, this novel is fun to read, especially if you love fantasy.This book struck me as fascinating particularly because it enforced a dichotomy between magicians and sorcerers. The former were ostracized tricksters who belonged to the lower classes, while the latter were highly-esteemed masters of the elements who were tasked to eliminate the Ancients. Magicians and sorcerers are generally seen as one and the same in other narratives, so it was intriguing how the author challenged the status quo. :)Furthermore, I appreciated the author's implementation of diversity. Honestly, I was surprised that Henrietta was a person of color. Whether or not we care to admit it, YA fantasy predominantly revolves around Caucasian protagonists (and colored antagonists). Thus, I liked this book because it is a testament that change is happening in our bookish community. However, I must admit that Henrietta's skin tone was sometimes subtly made fun of. If the author merely wanted to reflect racism in Victorian England, I am willing to recant this criticism. ^^ Caitlin, Ambs, Solly, and I were not fans of the romance in this book. We already had a hard time memorizing the names of those six or seven boys, so we became more frustrated when Henrietta started to harbor feelings for more than one of them. In anime terms, Henrietta had her own reverse harem. I myself did not have an OTP to ship because she had no real chemistry with any of the love interests. :(Perhaps the most controversial thing in this book is Henrietta's magic staff/wand, Porridge. Yes. She named it FREAKIN' PORRIDGE. She did it to acknowledge her humble heritage, but my friends and I hated the name nonetheless. The action scenes in the book never failed to become corny and cringe-worthy whenever Henrietta spoke to her infamous weapon. I fervently wish that she would change its name in the sequel. :3In the end, I enjoyed this book mostly because I read it with my friends. Sharing my thoughts and feelings definitely gave me a better reading experience. Still, the book itself is worth your time because it has strengths in terms of plot and diversity. I'm curious enough to continue the series, so I really hope that book two is much better.

  • ☆☽Erica☾☆
    2018-12-26 23:10

    Dnf at 30%This was utterly unoriginal and boring. An assortment of love interests, bland writing, super special MC, and lack of world building. It's more of the same stuff we all know.One extra star because I liked how she named her magic wand "porridge."

  • Stacee
    2019-01-16 05:28

    Fantasy and magic are always hit or miss with me, but I was excited about the synopsis and couldn't wait to get it in my handsI love love loved Henrietta. She's smart and strong and stands up for what's right, even if society thinks it's wrong. I enjoyed being in her head and was rooting for her from the very beginning. There's a good cast of characters here and I'm eager to see how they show up in future books. There were sections that did drag a bit, but for the most part I was captivated. I loved the world building and all of the magic. The Ancients are super creepy and the fight scenes were some of the best. I can't wait to see what's next. **Huge thanks to Random House for giving me a copy at SDCC**

  • Katerina Kondrenko
    2019-01-05 00:12

    4.5 out of 10Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blogLiving A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)Short-Soundtrack:L.M. - Bright ShadowGenre: historical fantasy, YAStuff: magic, creepy beasts, superpowersFail: writing style, romance in generalWOW: hot scene with one of LI, a few twistsPOV: 1st-person, femaleLove-Geometry: hardQuote-Core: “Knowledge is as powerful as fire. The brighter it burns, the more it devours.”Buddy-read with Vira the Sorcerer and Nastassja the Magician. And now Katerina the Witch would curse and burn and muahaha. Let's go...This is a story about a very special and still generic Mary Snowflake called Henrietta Howel. She lives during Victorian Era, not far away from London. One already dead bitch unleashed seven deadly creatures upon the world, but they decided to focus on England. Because of reasons. We have a house full of boys who'd become commended by the Queen and go to war. MC will live in this house. We also have Rook who's a childhood friend of our dear Howel, he's Unclean aka has a few scars those are hidden under his clothes but somehow disgust people. Except Henrietta, of course. She's a saint and will take him with her to the house of Master Agrippa who already trains six boys (With funny names, we have Clarence Lambe and Isaac Wolff. Where am I? In The Government Inspector or Dead Souls by Gogol?), but can't resist to shape a chosen one too. Yeah, MC is a chosen one who isn't chosen one, but still is a chosen one. In fact, she's even better. Try not to die from adoration. Still shocked and don't know how I managed.Okay, let's start with the writing which is rather boring. I mean, there are interesting moments, but it's action which makes it shine, not the wording itself. You know that you found a good book when even walls' description is spellbinding and meaningful. A Shadow Bright and Burning isn't the case. That's why I was bored between dynamic scenes and felt nothing toward the story and its heroes. World-building isn't complete: we know about London and magic structure, but we know nothing about the rest of the world and even the rest of England. I liked how the author separate magicians, witches and sorcerers, minding nature of their powers. But I disliked staves stuff. When I see 'stave' I imagine:Why not canes? Or anything else, huh? Plus it's so Harry Potter-ish. Speaking of which, I need to warn you this book is a mix of stories you've already read. Remember Red Queen?Here is the same grab bag. A Shadow Bright and Burning starts with Shadow and Bone vibes, super strong ones! Then you'll see Infernal Devices, Angelfall, Potter, The Burning Sky and all. And I speak not of inspiration, but of exact scenes. For example, MC speaks with a red-haired boy about her stave, he asks how she'd name it and she answers with the first thought that did cross her mind: Porridge, and he reacts as a hero from Angelfall with almost the same joke. Hello, next Pooky Bear. That's how similar things are. The plot has some interesting turns, but in general is rather cliched:— Wow I have a power. — Let's train me ASAP. — Oops, something is wrong. — New fashion of training.— Yay, I'm the best. — Oh no, people are mean to me. — I'm angry and ready to strike. — People see how amazing I am. And don't forget about romance with three love-interests! Yeah, three. But you'll know from the first pages who is end game. I enjoyed Magnus's flirtations, and the scene with (view spoiler)[him kissing Howel was extremely hot, but right after the author made an idiot of this characters only to be back for his old self in a matter of one chapter. Thanks for screwing this boy, now I see him as a total cretin no matter what he does or says. (hide spoiler)] Of course, the other sweetheart of MC is Rook who is a bit delusional, passive much and end up as a special creature. Remember Mal from Shadow and Bone? Mal was better. The last suitor of Howel is Blacky. Brooding and lonely and titled. The Earl of Sorrow-Fell (if I remember right). He was (view spoiler)[her enemy, became her friend and got ready for ooh-la-la. (hide spoiler)] Nice trope, but Blacky is boring.Funny thing is, MC's was average at the start of the novel, but in a while became the most beautiful chick of London (the world?) and everyone got under her spell. Even old men. One of them considered her his daughter. The other - his jeweled apprentice. The third is (view spoiler)[her real father. I suspect him to be one of the deadly creatures (my theory is they all used to be humans). (hide spoiler)] And Queen is in awe too. Henrietta is LIFE! Me rolling my eyes.Until the ending came, I was sure about giving the book 3 out of 5 stars, 'cause some twists were nice, but the final part of the story shattered my hopes for the best. It was so far-fetched, I can't even. (view spoiler)[For one, how about the stupidest Guard ever? Or "You're one of us" after years of hate for magicians? (hide spoiler)]All in all, please be ready for really generic read, Mary Snowflake and complex love-geometry with borrowed tricks from other YA books.PS: Sorry, I wanted to nail it all, but got new project at work which takes a lot of my time =((Kingdom on Fire (Пылающее королевство):— A Shadow Bright and Burning (Ярко горящая тень) #1/3— Untitled (Без названия) #2/3— Untitled (Без названия) #3/3["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Rachel(APCB Reviews)
    2019-01-17 00:03

    ASBAB is one of those books that I eagerly anticipated from the very first pitch. My excitement grew to a feverish pitch that led up to that final moment, holding a physical ARC in my hands!! I tore through this book; I laughed, I gasped, I frantically messaged Jessica with emojis and thoughts and theories. I couldn't help myself! This book plagued my thoughts and emotions the second I started. At first glance ASBAB plays off of all the normal tropes, but what it really does is turn the tropes on their sides and then punts them across the field for good measure. Jessica Cluess's debut novel, A Shadow Bright and Burning, will definitely burn brightly and capture the attention of the bookish world. With enchanting displays of magic, complex and untrustworthy characters, terrifying beasts, brooding love interests, and a lovely time period, this book has so much going for it.England is plagued by Ancients, horrifying beasts that plot to lay waste to all of England and wreak havoc on the people. Jessica created such an intricate web of villains with extensive history and elements to back it up. I really enjoyed learning about these monsters and their eerie ways. Jessica also creates a fascinating magical world, which I loved learning about. There is definitely more to it than what meets the eye.Our main character Henrietta Howel is a stubborn and determined young lady. I liked her well enough as a main character, but I genuinely felt more emotion towards many of the other characters. There's charming Magnus, brooding Blackwood, loyal Rook, shy and gentle Dee, kindhearted Agrippa, hilarious Hargrove, and more. I love that Jessica doesn't paint any of these characters as all good or all bad. Each character makes tough choices that sometimes surprise both the characters and the readers and definitely alter our perception of them. I feel like it's a great way to build character. This book hooked me in from the very beginning, and I was so into the story that I flew through it. I did feel that the book slowed a bit in the middle, but I hardly minded at all. Interspersed with action scenes every so often, this book entertained for sure and kept my heart racing. Jessica's writing is addictive and easy to follow. She also naturally blends in her sense of humor, which was a definite plus for this book. What I also love about ASBAB is the twists and turns. Shocking moments abound! The deceptions and betrayal run deeply in the veins of this story, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The setting is also beautiful, and I love the witty manner in which everyone converses. Also this book gives off some slight Pride and Prejudice vibes! I'll admit that the romance in this book is light and mostly a tease; everything is still up in the air. I see so many ships forming and sinking, and my heart is just confused! I won't say it is a love triangle exactly, everyone's feelings are all tossed about. Either way it's entertaining, and I can't wait to see where Jessica takes it. As great as romance is though, the real winner is the friendship and camaraderie in this book. I love how the Sorcerers that Henrietta trains with stand with and support one another. Jessica casts so many tendrils and plants so many clues that will grow in the following books. I can't wait for the next installment in this enticing fantasy series, and I'll spend my time alternately pining for the next book and theorizing until I can read it.

  • Candace Robinson
    2019-01-19 03:23

    At first the first few chapters were a struggle, and I kind of wanted to put it down. I am extremely glad I didn't do this! I feel like this is Pride and Prejudice mixed with Harry Potter! It was exciting for most of the book, and Henrietta is a great character. The magic was a-a-amazing, and the romance in the book has not really taken form yet, but there are definitely 2 possibilities, but I am actually hoping for one of the other boys who is very Mr. Darcy like!!! Full review on my blog https://literarydust.wordpress.com/20...

  • Amber Robertson
    2019-01-20 03:06

    BUDDY READING WITH:my favourite person in the world the one who can read like 10 books at a time and the one who shares a name with my ex-boyfriend DNF @ 25%I'm sorry guys. I can't. This could single handily be one of the worst books I've read this year. I was rolling my eyes at every paragraph and honestly wishing someone would punch every single character. Caitlin also supported this DNF so I love Caitlin. So, to continue my lazy review format, here's some points;- oh the tropes - so many tropes - ONE POWERFUL GIRL - SEVERAL POWERFUL BOYS - GASP - where's the girl power???- why is this such a male orientated world??- also what was the setting - it was like victorian london? - it was weird and didn't work tbh - she literally blushed at seeing a guys elbow - S C A N D E L O U S- I literally hated the main character - she's the cliche "i'm not pretty but every boy finds me pretty" - there's a character named after a guy i'm crushing on so like that's the only thing i liked????- I really just wanted to punch everyone- I N F O D U M P - It was at the info dumb i was done, so done - she also named her magical weapon porridge?- i wish i was kidding - literally porridge - yeah, I don't really remember anything else do this story just that i really didn't want to read it today - like to the point i drank 4 cups of tea to avoid it - if someone would like to donate their physical copy of this book so i can burn it, i would kiss your feet - thank you So, to summarise. This book and I will never be friends. I hated everything to the point I read. Caitlin says it doesn't get better either, which just fills me with the utmost confidence in my DNF.

  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    2019-01-24 02:08

    "I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer in ages. The girl who can control flames. The one who will defeat the ancients. The prophesied one. Or am I?"A highly addicting, victorian fantasy. This book has all the classic elements one has come to expect from magic, fantasy books but is also sprinkled with delightful surprises. I loving all the books I am reading lately about strong, independent woman thinking outside the box and being far ahead of their time. And I love seeing confident, intelligent young men realizing that a woman has no issues being any mans equal. Henrietta is a kind, smart, curious, beautiful and powerful young woman. Pulled from her rather difficult, but otherwise uncomplicated life, she is thus into a world of magical power, politics, secrets and deception. However, she does not give in to the pressures around her despite how easy it would be. Because beyond just protecting herself and her childhood friend, she truly does want to help people."I am not interested in what is pleasant. I'm interested in what's useful."Magnus: A handsome, charming, confident, strong young man. Rook: Henrietta’s childhood friend. Loyal, patient, kind, handsome and cursed he is one of the Unclean. Blackwood: Cold, distant, practical, powerful and undeniably lonely, he is the benefactor behind the school Henrietta and Rook worked at prior to arriving in London. Note: Henrietta, Howel and Nettie are all the same person. I just use a different name based on her relationship with said individual Howel & Magnus: From the get-go, these two had a gather easy-going camaraderie. Magnus was Howel’s first friend within the house. As she said, he was the first one to make her feel welcome. They have near instant chemistry as well. And what starts out as a simple flirtation easily becomes something more, putting our heroine’s heart into question. These had such lighthearted scenes and such lovely chemistry. It was easy to enjoy them together, but then of course they were too good to be true. And shit hit the fan. (view spoiler)[ With Magnus failing to mention that he was in fact engaged the entire time they’ve known each other. It annoyed me to no end that he just assumed Howel was so attracted/attached to him that she would be alright with just being his mistress. Like are you kidding? Who in the hell wants that sort of relationship? Asshole.(hide spoiler)]Nettie & Rook: Childhood friends, these two have unwavering loyalty to each other. Rook’s feelings for Nettie are undoubtedly clear. What is not clear is how exactly she feels about him. He is important to her, no doubt, but how so? Only time will tell. Howel & Blackwood: These two got off on the wrong foot basically from the moment they met, given how that usually works in YA, I really thought he would be one of her primary love interests. However, that was not the case, at least not in this book. Instead, we got to see two young people, who were rather wary of each other, grow to understand each other and realize that they have more in common than they could’ve imagined. They became each other’s confidante. With Howel, Blackwood was able to confess a secret that could threaten to destroy his family name. He trusts her, and she makes him feel less alone."I didn't know how lonely I was," he said as we bowed, "until I had you on my side."And Blackwood becomes the first and only person with whom Howel herself reveals her true nature to. As Howel said, what they have is not love. It is something deeper. "I'm a mix of both races, but I was born a magician. You have to know the truth." My heart pounded as I waited for his reply.He was silent a moment. Then he said, "We need you. That's what is important. The rest is titles." Gently, he took my hand in his own. It wasn't a romantic gesture; it was deeper than that. We sat side by side, our burdens eased, if not lifted.And by book's end, he became the one person she knew, without a doubt, that she could count on.There had been many parties and celebrations lately, what with Korozoth's destruction, but I couldn't enjoy any of them. The Queen was taking more an interest in sorcerer affairs. And I was responsible. People who had claimed to be my allies snubbed me. I often felt alone when I went out in public. There was one friend, however, I could always rely upon. "Howel, wait," Blackwood called as he came over to me. I smiled to hear my plain surname from his lips at last.Not going to lie, despite myself, I could not help quietly shipping these two. I know the whole heroine + quiet brooding hero been done before, but I just want this to happen. And honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion that in the long-term it will. Howel and Magus are like fire, two flames burning hot and quick. But never meant to last long. With Nettie and Rook I see two people who have grown up together, who love and are loyal to each other. It had always been them against the world. But that is not the case anymore. While I do believe Henrietta loves Rook, I am not certain that she is in love with Rook. But with Blackwood, I see a connection. One that may take time and effort to grow and maintain but I do believe there is great potential here. Henrietta & Agrippa: I really enjoyed their father-daughter-like relationship. Agrippa became quickly became the father Henrietta never had, and Henrietta in some ways filled the void of the daughter Agrippa had lost. It was such a good, sweet relationship and I was quite sad when it ended the way it did. All-in-all I really liked this book. It was just a fun read. I love tales of magic, war, and redemption. Is it the most original thing? No, but it is an entertaining story; it is worth checking out if you like magic, fantasy, and romance.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Rebekah
    2019-01-21 07:03

    I read this book in one sitting, no joke. one sitting! WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO PICK UP THIS BOOK! I LOVED IT!First off, I love the setting of this book. I love the era. I love the dresses the balls, societies decorum, the maids, the manners, the curtesy. So overall I enjoyed the world building. This is set in England...if magic existed back then...This story is about a girl who thought herself to be a witch, witches are hunted and executed due to something one did long ago that has recked havoc on England. The Ancients have entered our realm and the humans are in a constant war to keep them back. They are evil and there are so many of them. Each Ancient is unique and grotesque, each so different from the next but are taking and destroying lives. So this girl named Henrietta has kept her powers hidden, but when a sorcerer sees her light herself up on fire without being singed to save her childhood friend Rook, the sorcerer thinks she is the prophesied one. Henrietta can control fire and all the other elements that would make her a sorcerer.Henrietta leaves to become a sorcerer and takes Rook with her to keep him safe as he is Unclean due to an Ancient attack when he was a boy that left him terribly scarred.When she arrives in London she meets other boys who are also training to be sorcerers and she has to try and make herself fit in.I LOVE that Henrietta is her own. She's smart and strong and stands up for what's right, even if society thinks it's wrong. I enjoyed being in her head and was rooting for her from the very beginning. She's a wonderful strong female character and I liked her throughout the whole book.I absolutely loved the boys at school, each it's own character that plays a part in the story. I loved each of their voices and what-not.There is so much to this story that I'm sorry I didn't pick this book up sooner! I can't wait for book two and can't wait to read more about each of these characters.I was pleased at the twist and turns of the story I totally didn't see coming, I so appreciate the romance, it is so complicated that I'm so unsure of where it's going to go with whom and how it's all going to unfold. I loved that the romance did NOT overwhelm the story and take away from the overall plot.Overall I couldn't put it down, everything about it was perfect, the pace, the world building, the character development, the imagination, the creepiness of the Ancients and their history and story I loved it, I loved it all!Sexual Content: mildLanguage: mildViolence: moderateDrugs/Alcohol: mild*A HUGE Thank you to Random House/Blogging for Books for this book, which I got in exchange for an honest review*

  • syd
    2019-01-07 02:04

    DNF @ around the 60-page markSorry not sorry, this book was shit.You know how most classics are terrifyingly boring in the way that they take like six pages to describe what a goddamn pillow feels like? Like, I slowly stroll down the hallway, into my bedroom, and in the corner, there it is - my bed. I then proceed to notice something atop the sheets, atop the blankets atop the sheets - a pillow. And I feel some sort of...comfort, per se, when I think of, when I see that pillow. One foot in front of the other...just a few more steps...and, ah, I've arrived. I've arrived at not the foot of the bed, but the head of the bed. And on the head of that bed, I spot that pillow again. That same nostalgic pillow. It feels like just yesterday I had seen that pillow last, and then I remember, I saw it one second ago when I was walking toward my bed. I immerse my hand into the cold, cold air, out from my pocket.There's nothing left to do now.But one thing.Touch. The. Pillow.My hand drops.It feels like it is dropping from my heart; but no, it is but falling down from my arm and down onto none other but that pillow.My hand gently caresses it, that smooth, yet wrinkly, downright amazing feeling of touching a pillow. And...wow. I truly have no words to describe the beauty of how soft this pillow is. This is...the most speechless I've ever been.ANYWAY, I'll stop now wow that thing I just wrote^^ is extremely hypocritical of me lmaooBut seriously, that's exactly what this book was. It also had stupid characters, shit writing, and an unoriginal plot. Like, it tried to have an original plot by trying to take a trope and do a 180, but it completely and utterly failed at that.And on the shit writing, besides taking four pages to describe one thing that could take half a sentence, it was also so extremely immature and it sounded like the book was meant for two-year-olds, not, y'know, teenagers. For example, an exact quote from this book is, "I thought of freezing things, like snow and ice." Like, it's great and all that homegirl Jessica got some self esteem and thinking she's smart and everyone else is stupid so she needs to write shit like this, but sorry honey, it ain't like that. I appreciate your self confidence and all but for christ's sake hon, we know what some goddamn freezing things are. But thanks anyways, Captain Obvious.Well, that's all for the mini-rant. Hope you enjoyed. Don't read this shit though. I'm glad I got crap book at the library.

  • Allison
    2019-01-04 03:06

    What is it with all these historical fantasy novels trying to ruin my life over the past year??????Henrietta is amazing, ballsy, clever, and imperfect. She's pretty much a VICTORIAN LADY HUMAN TORCH. And wait til you see the adorable name she gives her stave (like a Harry Potter wand, but much cooler and really cute in a weird mostly inanimate magical object way). She wears pretty dresses, battles otherworldly demons, and isn't afraid to put a man firmly in his place. Or several men. Which leads me to the fact that there are a ****ton of menfolk. Forget love triangles. It's not that. I hope people don't say that (even though there's nothing wrong with a well-done love triangle, lbr). It's not even a quadrangle. IT'S JUST SO WELL-DONE. THERE'S FRIENDSHIP W MENFOLK AND BROODY MENFOLK AND ANNOYINGLY CHEEKY MENFOLK AND MENFOLK WITH DARK TERRIBLE DEMON-Y POWERS AND MENFOLK I SHIPPED WITH EACH OTHER. There's set-up for future shenanigans and goodness and THERE'S ONE ULTIMATE SHIP but I can possibly forgive you if you don't agree with me. There are too many men and it's pretty much totally ok for once. I'm a sucker for historical fantasy of any kind, but sometimes the world-building is a little lazy and/or haphazard. (I love the Lovegrove books but I always felt there was too much magical folk **** going on. Like yes, we get it, this isn't a Care of Magical Creatures course curriculum.) The ANCIENTS ARE....I want fanart. I'm untalented at anything besides yelling so someone else can do it, but I'd love if we got some quality artwork of them. Or maybe it's better to just kinda let your brain do its worst. I mean, one of them is a skinless man. And he isn't even the worst. Bruh. If I have one qualm it's the inclusion of the Fae? But I feel like that will be a bigger deal later? Or have something to do with the Ancients? Or maybe I missed something in the novel and I'm an idiot.There's tons of action and twists. There are quite a few "OH ****" moments. The dialogue between characters is witty and clever and a few times *clutches chest*. Basically...get this book. I mean also Tamora Pierce gave it a blurb so why are you even reading MY review.

  • Sandra
    2019-01-08 06:15

    Sounds like thisbut in a female version set in Victorian London with sorcerers.HELL. YEAH.

  • Brittany (Brittany's Book Rambles)
    2018-12-30 03:28

    4.5/5 StarsRead my full ARC Review + Enter the Giveaway!A Shadow Bright and Burning personifies why I love the fantasy genre so much. It is exactly what it promises its readers—a powerful female MC, swoony boys, and fantastical magic—all set in Victorian London. Sounds amazing, right? This book gave me so many Howl's Moving Castle feels with its steampunky and enchanted world. The writing has an old world charm with magic laced throughout the words. Can you tell the magic was my favorite part of this book? xDThere are multiple ship options in this book and it makes my heart a little wary. Especially since I like two of the possible options! Despite there being multiple ship choices, romance is definitely on the backburner in this story. The book mainly focuses on Henrietta—our heroine—learning more about herself and her powers. I did want a little bit more from the plot and think some things could be better defined but all in all, I truly enjoyed this book and hope you guys will check this one out!

  • Suzanne
    2019-01-09 02:17

    Got distracted with my literature review so didn't get to read this book at the pace I wanted. This was a very entertaining book and a great start to the series. I found the characters very enjoyable. Looking forward to see how the story continues and the characters develop.

  • Eilonwy
    2019-01-17 04:12

    Orphaned Henrietta Howel has a gift: the ability to light herself on fire. In an alternate Victorian England where men can be magicians and sorcerers but women shouldn’t be, her gift must be kept hidden. But one day a sorcerer comes to the school where she grew up and now teaches, discovers her ability, and tells her of a prophecy that says a magical girl will save England from the Ancients, seven demons that hold the land and coastal seas under their malevolent power. He takes Henrietta to London to study with the boys he’s training. But is she really the prophesied one … or is she just a fluke and a fraud?This book starts out feeling a bit bog-standard. Magical orphan? Yeah, been there, done that. Henrietta’s friend Rook, whose scars twinge when the Ancient who caused them is near? Also a bit familiar. A magical Victorian England -- seems like I’ve been there before, too. So at the beginning of the story, I was not that into it, and if I’d been carrying around any other book at the time, I might have DNF’d this one. But at about the 150-page mark, things took a turn for the different and better, and I was completely hooked. I even nearly missed my subway station one morning because I was so absorbed, and that almost never happens. So, what did I enjoy so much about this book? I really like that it seems almost deliberately set up to feel derivative, but then turns some of that on its head. For instance, Henrietta is placed in a household of hot boys in London, making it seem possible that the book would turn into an obsessive romance/triangle, but that doesn’t happen. Yes, she’s physically attracted to a couple of her classmates, but the attraction and associated feelings are not exactly welcome to her, and highlight what a restrictive society she’s living in rather than going in a romance direction. I was intrigued by how the status of magic users in this world is not determined by their power, but is a class thing: Sorcerers are all landed gentry, people with long pedigrees, the Top 1% of society, and because of their wealth and status, they get to lord it over magicians, who are hoi polloi. The tensions between the two groups are high, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about this dynamic in the next two volumes. I really enjoyed the writing. Other reviewers have complained that it’s awful, but while I found it a bit heavy on tell-not-show, I also found it vivid and descriptive, so I was completely immersed in Henrietta’s experiences and reactions. The pacing was great, as there were very few easy places to set this book down after those first 150 pages. New information and reveals were tantalizingly sprinkled through the story, and often perfectly placed so that just as I was starting to grumble, “But what about __________?”, the requisite information or follow-up would appear. I also appreciated that some of this book does feel like shout-outs to other fantasy books. Sorceress Howel is surely an homage to Wizard Howl! Or at least, I hope so. There’s also a very sexy character called Magnus. The seven Ancients reminded me a little of the Ten Who Were Taken in the Black Company books. I’m sure I’m missing some other nods of the head. I also like how perfect the title turns out to be! I do have a couple weaknesses to grouse about. First, I would personally have liked this world better if it were just a straightforward fantasy world, rather than being actual Victorian England. I’m not sure how the Ancients fit into our real world, no matter how alternate a universe it is; that just feels muddy to me. I found it jarring when Queen Victoria makes an appearance in the book. It just doesn’t quite fit. Second, while Henrietta’s fellow-orphan friend Rook is a major character and probably the ultimate love interest, I never felt any real connection between them. I can’t exactly pinpoint what was missing or should have been done better, but it just wasn’t there for me. Third, it shouldn’t have had to take 150 pages to get me committed to this story. But overall, this was a solidly enjoyable read for me, and I am actually looking forward to the continuation of this series. For a really glowing review, let me steer you to Celeste Pewter’s review. She points out some really admirable aspects of the book that I don’t have time to mention.

  • Michael
    2019-01-25 03:12

    THIS WAS SO GOOD HOLY COW.This book was like Avatar the last Airbender if it was set in 1700's London AND I DIDNT KNOW HOW MUCH I NEEDED IT.I can't remember the last time I gasped out loud so many times while reading a book. Honestly though.The story was action packed and engaging right from the start and somehow managed to keep up the pace throughout the entire book. Cluess built such an interesting world, I was blown away by it all. I have so many unanswered questions and SO much excitement for the rest of this series. Easily one of my favorites for the year.

  • Alyssa
    2019-01-02 05:17

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica CluessBook One of the Kingdom on Fire seriesPublisher: Random House Books for Young ReadersPublication Date: September 20, 2016Rating: 4 starsSource: ARC sent by the publisherSummary (from Goodreads):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.What I Liked:I actually didn't know much about this book before reading it. I'd seen many positive early reviews for the book, and usually hype turns me off. But I decided to give this book a shot anyway, because, well, fantasy. I love fantasy, and YA fantasy tends to be good. I'm pleased to say that I did enjoy this book, and I look forward to reading book two.Henrietta Howel can set herself on fire. But females with any sort of magical power are executed, typically. When she is discovered one day, she is taken from the school she teaches at, and brought to study and learn her power. There are six young men also in training to be sorcerers. Henrietta is told that she is the chosen one, the girl-child of sorcerer stock. But Henrietta is not the chosen one. She discovers this, but cannot risk the sorcerers finding out. But the war with the Ancients (monsters) is even more dangerous than her secrets.What an intriguing, engaging story. I had no trouble reading this book, and I practically flew through the 400+ pages. Once I started the book, I was hooked. There are no lag at any point, no spots of boredom. I couldn't read it fast enough, to be honest! The author got the pacing right, perfect for the story.I really love that Henrietta isn't the "chosen one". I'm kind of sick of prophecies and chosen ones and such, and so it was kind of relief to be told upfront that she wouldn't be the chosen one. It takes a while, until the end of the story, for everyone else to learn of this. But we're still not aware of who the girl in the prophecy actually is. Fascinating!The story is brilliantly played out. Henrietta goes to Master Agrippa's home, and begins to learn how to control and wield her powers with Agrippa, as well as six boys also in training. Time goes on, and Henrietta is utterly failing at lessons. Why? She finds out, in a rather surprising way, that she isn't what they want her to be. She's not the chosen one. And so she begins to try and hone her power, with the help of an unexpected ally, to try and pass as a sorcerer and get the commendation from the Queen. All the while Ancients are flooding the city and killing people everywhere they go. And Henrietta's friend Rook is suffering at the hands of darkness.So there are seven important young men in the story. The six sorcerers, Blackwood, Magnus, Dee, Cellini, Wolff, and Lambe, are all very different, yet interesting in their own ways. Blackwood is a brooding, sullen young earl. Magnus is a shameless flirt. Dee is a playful student. Cellini is the foreigner, and Italian. Wolff and Lambe (hehe) are quiet and a little recluse, and tend to stick to themselves. And then there is Rook, Henrietta's friend from the school. She insisted that he come with her to Agrippa's mansion, as the pair do not separate. They've been friends since they were little, and are very close.I guess it's time for me to talk about the romance... whatever shape the publisher is trying to sell (love triangle, square, heptagon), it's wrong. There is no love triangle in this book. Really, there isn't concrete romance at all. Of the six boys, only two, in my opinion, COULD be love interests. Rook, Magnus, and Blackwood COULD be love interests. Rook, I'm ruling out because of reasons. Magnus, I'm also ruling out, though he is the one that presents the strongest case. Blackwood is the one I hope to be an actual love interest. He has the Darcy archetype going on, and he definitely has the Darcy effect. I really, really like Blackwood. Not that I don't like the others. But as a love interest, I'm all for Blackwood. But then, there was nothing romantic between Blackwood and Henrietta. So me hoping that Blackwood will be a love interest could be wishful thinking. I have a feeling that there will be development with Blackwood though. The seeds were definitely planted in this book, in a subtle manner. *crosses fingers*So far, no love interest has strongly presented himself. There are a lot of boys, and I personally think one of three of the seven boys COULD be a love interest, but none of them are presenting a strong case to me at the moment. I do have a favorite though.And in the end, Henrietta doesn't really need a love interest to define her. At the moment, she's doing just fine on her own. I want to see a strong romantic relationship with one of those boys develop (just one, though), but that can happen later in the series. I like that it didn't happen in book one.No cliffhanger ending in this book, but things definitely aren't resolved. And we know that this is book one of a series. The story ended a little... cliche, in my opinion. I know there are books to follow, but I expected a different ending. It was a good ending, and it fit the story just fine, I just expected something else. I'm excited to see where book two takes us!What I Did Not Like:I can't think of anything specific at the moment, though I'm sure there are little things that stuck out to me while I was reading the book. I don't dislike the romance, but I hope to see a stronger and more clear romance in the next books. And more about Henrietta's father, and the chosen one. And the bit about the ivy (read the book and you'll know what I mean). All in good time, I'm sure!Would I Recommend It:I do recommend this book - I see why it's so hyped and why so many people have loved it already. I would caution those who are wary of the love triangle (or square or whatever). There is none right now, but I suppose there could be (especially with the sheer number of boys who are in the story -- though, like I said, most of them are not love interests or even potential love interests). Maybe wait until book two publishes to see how the romance goes. Typically by the end of book two, you have a clear idea of exactly where the romance is going. Usually, but not always. Nevertheless, this IS a great fantasy story. Rating: 4 stars. A well-written, enjoyable fantasy debut that is every bit as adventurous and magical as I expected. I am looking forward to reading the next book!