A Shadow Bright and Burning

Henrietta can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked whe instead of being executed she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta is not the chosen one.

As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?


4 Stars (4 / 5)

**This review will contain a small amount of spoilers to get my point across. Nothing big, just tiny details.**

I selected this book to review because of it’s beautiful cover and because the blurb said that it was for fans of Cassandra Clare, who is one of my favorites.

At first it was hard for me at first to get into. There were too many elements that I felt were shared with other books that are popular these days. For example, a parentless Mary Sue character, a “chosen one” prophecy, perhaps a love triangle, sorcerers, and a gloomy Victorian England setting. I feel like I pretty much did a Infernal Devices meets Harry Potter mash up.

While I’m not totally off base with that description, I’m glad I stuck with it because I still really liked the story the more it went on. It started to shake the wanna-be vibe and morph into its own story with its own elements. At least they come to the conclusion that the prophecy is a crock, and that’s a plus.

We learn at the beginning that Henrietta Howel, our parentless Mary Sue character, lives at a bleak and oppressive girls school in the country. She has the power to flame-on just like the Human Torch from Fantastic Four except for her it’s not-so-great. If she is found out as a witch then she will be executed, so she only confides in her super sexy yet extremely poor stable boy/friend that she has had since childhood, Rook. He is weird like her, so they are like peas in a pod, naturally.

Now weirdy gets into a situation right at the beginning and Henrietta has to use her powers to help him, outing herself and her abilities to everyone. By doing this she finds out that she is actually the “chosen one” in a prophecy to help them defeat the Ancients. She will go live in a big mansion with some other trainees to become the best sorcerer ever in a relatively small amount of time but she will be the key to destroying the baddies.

So the Ancients are the bad guys of the story, the ones that we are going to battle, just like Harry takes down Voldemort. There are seven of them, and aside from learning about their appearance and that they are giant and really bad, we don’t get many details on these monsters. We do know that a couple of magicians tore a rip in space time or some such ordeal that let in these huge horrible demons that are pretty much wrecking the world/humanity/everything.

The characters that she wrote are likable enough, I like that most of the guys aren’t tripping over themselves to get Henrietta to go out with them, it’s bad enough for the ones that are. I was surprised with what happened with the men in the end.

The love triangle is a love triangle in that there is one girl and several boys in the story, so your imagination can run as she is flirty with all of the ones that give her attention. She grew up in a girls school, can you blame her?? It is not a love triangle in that two guys are vying for her attention the whole time, going to fight each other and be the main plot of the story. That doesn’t happen in this story so you can breathe easy there, at least for this installment.

The details of the background of the story are very vague, I am guessing that is because she is going to stretch the story into a few more books, which I am OK with. This is a good storyline and I am intrigued, ready to read more. She left many loose ends when she wrote the first one.

I wish that this book would have come out like ten years ago. If it would have, then people would have given it more of a chance. I can see that she borrows many elements that already exist in other stories, so if you don’t like books that might remind you of another book you already read, this may not be the book for you. As for me, it entertained me. These kind of stories are like candy for me, a guilty pleasure that I could read several variations of, as long as they were written the right way. I give it a 4/5 stars, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Purchase on Amazon here

Author Homepage jessicacluess.com

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Sara is a book hobbit that lives in a house of all boys, located in the promised land. Books stack the walls to the ceiling in some places, and she just keeps adding more. She was raised on top of a mountain that is locked in the dead of winter ten months of the year. She wears a size eleven shoe and enjoys her chicken cooked on the BBQ grill. In addition to reading she enjoys pinning crafts on Pinterest that she will never make and watching movies about people with sad lives or documentaries about serial killers.

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