Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1)

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)
About the Book:
Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Author: Jessica Cluess
Pub. Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 416
Rating: 3.5/5 stars



Synopsis:

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?

Review:

Jessica Cluess' debut novel features a unique spin on witches and Victorian England, and is sure to impress many readers who enjoy fantasy. While I did have some ups and downs with the book, I was still intrigued from the get go, and greatly enjoyed the story. The beginning sets up the story nicely, and the plot moves along at a fairly good pace (the middle being a bit slow). With thrilling displays of magic, dangerously terrifying creatures, and an interesting world, this book is sure to be a hit! 

The world building was fantastic in my opinion, and I loved the way that things were slowly revealed over the course of the story. We don't just get an info dump, which is one of my pet peeves when we're being introduced to a new world. Jessica Cluess weaves Victorian England elements into the story seamlessly, and it served as the perfect background to the plot. I loved learning about the different monsters that plagued the world, and there was so much more to the history that we first learn about early on. Jessica's writing is terrific and she has such a great talent. I was never confused while reading, and thought everything was very clear. In fact, everything was set up perfectly for future books in the series, and I'm excited to learn more about the world later on! 

Henrietta was a good main character to follow. She's stubborn and fiercely independent. I loved her strong, determined attitude. However, I didn't feel that instant connection with her like I usually would when a book is from only one character's perspective. I do think that due to the events at the end of this book, we'll get to know her much better in future books and see her potential recognized. The other characters in the book were great as well but I did think they were very one-dimensional. Magnus, Blackwood, and Rook were given more attention than others, but I did find myself wanting to learn more about them. Even though they played major roles in the story, I didn't feel like I knew that much about them or why they should be important. Nevertheless, Jessica does do a good job at making sure we don't know which characters are good or bad (in fact, none of these characters are strictly good or bad). In this way, every character was relatable because they had to make tough choices, some of which were not the best or smartest, but dealt with the consequences. It definitely made for some interesting twists later on in the story though to see which characters were ultimately the betrayers to Henrietta.

There is some romance in the story, but it definitely isn't the main focus. I wouldn't necessarily say that this book has a love triangle because feelings are kind of all over the place, but there are hints at a possible love triangle developing in the next book, so I'm kind of interested to see where this goes. Overall though, the romance is very light and very much in line with the time period I feel. Despite the romantic relationships that seem to be developing, I thought the standout part of this novel was the focus on friendship and working as a team. I loved not only the support certain characters gave to each other, but also how they cared deeply for each other. It was a true testament of friendship to stay by each other's sides despite everything that occurs in the climax and conclusion of this novel.

As I mentioned, there were some slow parts, but there were plenty of action scenes to make up for this. There were also plenty of twists and turns that I (and the characters) never saw coming, which kept the book plenty interesting. I would definitely recommend checking this book out as it is a promising start to a potentially excellent series. It might not be for everyone, but I am highly looking forward to reading the next book in the series!



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

6 comments:

  1. OOOh nice! I STILL need to read this one! I've had it since BEA last year! Sigh... It does sound like a pretty good read though! Glad to hear you enjoyed it despite a few things. Nice review!

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    1. Thanks! I really hope you get to check it out soon :)

      ~Cassie

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  2. I LOVE the cover. Nice review!! :)

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    1. Right?! I'm obsessed with it haha. Thanks :)

      ~Cassie

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  3. I personally HATED this book. It was a DNF for me and I only gave it a star because it was so uninteresting and everything was dragging. But glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

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    1. Ah! Sorry to hear that you didn't like it! I can definitely understand why it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea.

      ~Cassie

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