So after a month or so of having this book on my TBR, I was finally able to finish it! And let me tell you it was great!
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
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 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?
I honestly thought that this was going to be like every other YA fantasy book filled with clichés here and there, and it was but it was also more.
What I liked
Characters: Henrietta Howel is a great character and I really enjoyed reading her story. She was caring, feisty and funny. She is always looking out for her friend, Rook and the children she cares for. But she is also flawed, she’s selfish at times and doesn’t always think things the whole way through. What I liked most about her was her fierce behaviour in a world ruled by men. Her rebellion against those who try to oppress her and define her actions because of her gender. She also deals with being judged on her birth class and the struggles that people in poverty are seen as *inferior* to the rich. I really liked her in those parts.
The gentlemen of the book. There are many! They are pretty! *cough* Magnus *cough* Rook *cough* All of them *cough* Asides from looks, they also vary in personality and development. Magnus is flirty, gorgeous and funny but also very sweet. I had mixed feelings about him. I liked him, then I didn’t, then I did. Rook is sweet and sensitive always looking after Henrietta and obviously in love with her. Half the time I was like “Girl get a clue, the boy is in love with you” Blackwood’s relationship with Henrietta was nice to see. It went from enemies to frienemies to best buds. I don’t think anything romantic is going to happen there and considering there is already a blooming triangle I don’t want this to become a quadrangle! (But I also wouldn’t mind…)
There aren’t many other female characters apart from Henrietta because this is set in a male dominated magic system. But those that were there I enjoyed, like Eliza and Lilly. Even the short appearance made by Queen Victoria was pleasant!
I have to say my favourite character is Hargrove! He’s funny and spunky and absolutely fantastic. A different kind of loving father figure, that I enjoyed very much!
The Magic: I love magical books. This one is all about magic and I loved every aspect of it. It was a bit confusing at first figuring out how the Sorcerer’s magic worked because they had staves and worked both independently and together in certain situations. Fun fact–it took me five minutes to figure out that staves were not glowing balls but sticks 😆! Also let’s appreciate the name Porridge because it’s very powerful in this book!
The Plot: Henrietta’s journey is fantastical in more than just the magical aspects. There’s the political part about the position of women fighting for their society. Which I thought was dealt with nicely considering Henrietta put down all those sexist and offensive views against women. It also showed how not all men are against the idea of equality of sexes. There is also the struggle between classes, rich vs poor, sorcerers vs magicians. Then there is the prophetic aspect. I love a good prophecy, I also like a good prophecy gone wrong. In this book fulfilling the prophecy is just as important as debating and believing whether it is true and if so how to interpret it.
The Final Chapters: The ending was the most suspenseful part of them book. It’s the type of ending when everything is going smoothly but then goes downhill within three sentences. Well, it happens in this book. I was biting my nails and cried out at one point because of the pain it brought to read such a horrible scene.
Hargrove: Just because I have to pay tribute to my favourite magician.
What I disliked
The Slow Beginning: It was a a good beginning but it took a while before things started picking up! Most of it was just Henrietta training, flirting with Magnus , fighting with Blackwood, tension with Rook, training, flirting, fighting, tension, RANDOM ATTACK, training……you get my point.
Too Many Ancients…Little Explanation: The history of ancients was not as deeply explained as much as I wanted it to be. There are seven in total and I only remembered two and got those confused as well. I hope in the coming books the ancients and their stories are further defined and developed.
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Rating: 4.5/5 stars!
Recommend: Yes, if you’re looking for a great magical read!
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely. I was slightly put off by the love triangle aspects. But the romance is not as big a factor as I thought it would be. However, the romantic tension is always a great aspect! (In my opinion) There are still amazing plot twists and crazy action parts that are awesome! Definitely pick this book up!
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Up next I’ll be reading Crystal Storm and continuing Certain Dark Things!
What are you reading on this last week of 2016?