A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

September 21, 2017     jennzahbooknut     Book review

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica CluessA Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1) by Jessica Cluess
on January 1st 1970

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?

5 Stars


this book is one of those rare gems that I couldn’t put down once I started reading it. I just stayed up half the night to finish it — and I LOVED it.

Henrietta Howell is just a teacher in a small Yorkshire town… who also has the ability to burst into flames and control them. One day, when faced with a dangerous situation, she’s forced to reveal her powers (girls are not allowed to be sorcerers), and suddenly finds herself taken off to London to train with Her Majesty’s Sorcerers. They believe she’s the “chosen one”, the one sorcerer destined to end the war between the Ancients and the Crown.

But, is she REALLY “chosen one”? Henrietta isn’t so sure. She struggles with learning how to wield powers properly. When a revelation finally comes to light, Henrietta is forced to keep all sorts of secrets to keep herself — and her friend Rook — safe in their place in London.

Ok, so first off – I absolutely loved Henrietta. She is fierce, driven, and even foolhardy at times. Her devotion to her friend Rook – her childhood friend — is one of the things that drives this book forward. I love how she progresses as a character.

The ensemble of sorcerers in London where Henrietta trains makes for a fun dynamic. Even though Blackwood is a bit of a prick (or is he?), and Magnus is a flirtatious git, there is ample room for ships of all kind! But which one of them will betray her, and which one of them will end up being the one who helps her?

My favourite character in the whole of the book was Hargrave. Who doesn’t love a snarky, self-absorbed magician? Henrietta learns much from him, and you can’t help but love him.

The magical battles were what made this book exciting for me.  They are beautifully scripted, and I could see them play out in my minds eye as I read. They are sweepingly epic and entertaining.

I cannot wait to read the second book in this series, A POISON DARK AND DROWNING, to see how Henrietta’s story progresses.  If you’re looking for a book akin to Harry Potter, but also kinda like Pride and Prejudice — you need to pick up this book!


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