Monday, March 13, 2017

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning

A Shadow Bright and Burning By Jessica Cluess* 
Publisher: Random House Books
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Format: Hardback, 416 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
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?
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book, and I think that was why it took me so long to finish it. Every time I picked it up I just didn't have the motivation to read. This book wasn't terrible, but I also wasn't completely in awe of it. This might have just been a mood or "me" thing, because I do think there are several things that worked really well in this novel, and I definitely think other readers will like this one.

I think the main thing that I really liked about this novel was the world building. I think Cluess did a great job of dropping us into this victorian England time period where sorcerers fight for the Queen against these Ancient creatures that are terrorizing the country. That was so interesting to me, and I would have liked to see more of the Ancients that are mentioned in this book. This is going to be a series, so I believe that will happen down the line.

Another thing that I think worked for me is that this story tries to subvert the whole "chosen one" trope that has become commonplace in young adult fiction. Henrietta is not the chosen one that is called to this task, but she tries very hard to convince everyone else that she is.

There were some things that just didn't work for me in this novel, one of them being Rook. I just didn't care about him at all. He is supposed to mean a lot to Henrietta but I felt like throughout her time in London she forgot about him a lot. I also just didn't understand why he needed to come with her. I think his presence actually caused a lot of unnecessary subplots in this novel.

I really liked Magnus and Henrietta's friendship. Magnus made me laugh a lot and I really did like them, until we get to the scene after the ball. I really didn't like how all of a sudden they were interested in each other. I felt like it came out of nowhere. Like it was just an excuse to have some sort of love triangle in this novel (Between Magnus, Rook & Henrietta). It was just so unnecessary, that it really put me off.

I definitely think there are some things that need to be worked on in the next book, but I think this series does have a lot of potential. I think it's definitely for fans of fantasy that are sick of the "chosen one" trope and want to see it written differently.

*I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!