Book Review: “A Shadow Bright and Burning” (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Clueless (2016)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction
Page Length: 416 pages (hardcover edition)
Henrietta can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.
Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves? (description from Goodreads)
Henrietta Howel is a prophesied female sorcerer (the first of her kind) and goes into training with Agrippa, a renowned sorcerer who becomes a father figure to father figure to Henrietta. Along the way she takes her best friend Rook (who deemed as an “unclean due” to his scars from Korozoth, an ancient) and meets all the male sorcerers in training. My two favorite sorcerers were Blackwood who is the brooding/serious type and Magnus, the playful flirt that makes everyone laugh.
Howel, unlike the other sorcerers, was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She fought for where she is today. She often feels like an outsider at Agrippa’s and struggles with learning to control her (awesome) fire magic. Overtime, she not only comes to learn about her past, but also becomes a more independent young woman.
Magic is revered in Henrietta’s world. Sorcerers are praised while magicians are shunned. while people praise sorcerers they also hate them because of their immense wealth. The impoverished suffer greatly from lack of necessities and attacks from the powerful ancients while sorcerers live in protected wards.
As for the story itself, the world building is a bit all over the place at times. It was hard to grasp the names of the head sorcerers and magical beings, on top of the world’s overall setting. I felt like too many facts and people were being thrown into the readers face at a rapid pace. I did enjoy the Victorian(?) setting in a dreary magic infused London. However, while the story strives to be original the story is a bit cliché for the genre because I just felt there weren’t enough elements to make this book stand out from others.
Though this book was predictable I did feel it redeemed itself in the second half. The character development was solid and everyone becomes more confident is their powers, while others end up revealing their true colors.
I’m torn on whether I’ll read the next installment in the series, since this book didn’t grab my full attention.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.