‘A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING’: A Dazzling Debut and a Fierce Female Protagonist

January 11, 2017 6 Comments


STORY: Making the best out of a bad situation is all that Henrietta Howel has ever known. She lives at a dark and dreadful school where the students are often mistreated, and even as a teacher, she is not immune from the terrible abuse. Her consolation is her best friend, Rook. A stable boy who’s scars label him one of the “unclear” that everyone fears and refuses to accept.

Everything spins on its axis when Nettie learns she’s the “chosen one,” the first female sorcerer in an ancient line.

A Shadow Bright and Burning, by Jessica Cluess | Book Review

From the first moment I saw its fierce cover art, I knew this was going to be a must read. The space between cover reveal and release date passed, and I forgot about its siren call. Never fear though, for this one kept cropping up in my Amazon shopping sprees (I cannot decide if it’s a good or creepy thing my shopping outlet knows me so well – sometimes better than myself), which kept this one firmly affixed in my mind. When I finally had the time to read them this one, I jumped at the chance.

Primarily, this is a book about magic and the sorcerers wielding power. As I’ve not read much in the genre, and my sorcerer novel count stands at zero (or that’s all that springs to mind), I can only judge this novel on its own merits. Put another way, using A Shadow Bright and Burning as contrast and compare isn’t something you’ll find in this review. Instead, inside these pages, there’s an entertaining world full of rebels, fierce protectors, epic descriptions and worlds, and plenty of historical fanciness. As a period drama aficionado, I was entranced by this world. Its Victorian London setting is magical with plenty of glimpses of the worlds sitting outside the safety of the glamorous London lifestyle.

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‘A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING’: A Dazzling Debut and a Fierce Female Protagonist Click To Tweet

The characters too are complex, and humanized. Sadly, I cannot say too much lest it give away key plot points, but in a nutshell, I will say this, Nettie is surrounded by men. Men who inspire her to be better, tease her, accept her, betray her, and another still will inevitably break her heart. Which man goes with what action is up to you to discover inside the pages of this adventure. There is one point I feel is contradictory – or perhaps it’s meant to confuse? – but again, expanding would be all spoiler-y. Here’s four reasons you might love this.

  • 1: If you like magical (realism) realms, you’re sure to find adventure in A Shadow Bright and Burning
  • 2: If you like strong emphasis on friendship, you’ll appreciate Nettie and Rook. 
  • 3: If you like a host of cute guys, you’re going to swoon. 
  • 4: If you like heroines with pluck, you’ll like Nettie. 

But enough with all the teasing when all there is to say is this. You’re sure to become lost (in good ways) inside the dazzling world of fire, magic and romance. It’s worth reading, and furthermore, leaves us curious for its sequel, but not dangling off a cliff. That alone is an incentive. ♥


Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Random House
Source: Blogging For Books (Publisher Provided)
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads
Shop the Book: Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Kingdom on Fire, 1
Rating: ★★★★

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book. Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com 

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • MWGerard January 11, 2017 at 7:28 PM

    That cover art IS fierce! Thanks.

    • Rissi January 15, 2017 at 9:42 PM

      Yes, yes it is. :)

  • Kara Lynn January 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    This looks good! Thanks for reviewing this Rissi!

    • Rissi January 15, 2017 at 9:42 PM

      Hi, Kara! Hope you enjoy if/when you do read this one – and it is good. I liked it more than I anticipated. :)

  • Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads January 12, 2017 at 2:06 PM

    So happy you enjoyed this one! It's been on my TBR for a while, but your review just bumped it up :)

    • Rissi January 15, 2017 at 9:43 PM

      *bites nails* I hope you end up enjoying this one, Lindsey. I thought it was really entertaining and well written. Let me know what you think. :)

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