Sunday, January 1, 2017

Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1) by Jessica Cluess

Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Format: E-book
Published: September, 2016
Price: $10.03 -> Rp131.674 (Amazon)
Rating: 3½ / 5 stars

Date started: November 3, 2016 - Date finished: November 6, 2016

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?
Henrietta Howel is just an ordinary charity school teacher from a small village but what people don't know about her is that she can conjure up fire. One day, there was an attack on her village and in an attempt to save her friend Rook she revealed her powers in front of someone she shouldn't, Master Agrippa. She was sure she was going to be executed because women who can perform magic are witches and they must not be allowed to live. Fortunately, that didn't happen to Henrietta because of some prophecy, she is actually a sorcerer and a chosen one at that who is destined to save England from the Ancient Seven.

After her show of talent, Henrietta was taken to train with other sorcerers to become the Queen's royal sorcerers. People were suspicious of Henrietta because she doesn't have any sorcerer's blood, which is very unusual. During her training, she was having a hard time performing even the most simplest of sorcerer magic without screwing up. Besides that during her time in London, she ran into a mysterious magician, Hargrove who turned out to know some pointers on how to make her training run smoothly, knows about Henrietta's family history. Interestingly, Henrietta cannot be the chosen one because she cannot perform magic the way a sorcerer should instead she performs magic in a way that a magician does and no one can ever figure this out.
“Knowledge is as powerful as fire. The brighter it burns, the more it devours.”
I'm really glad that this book is going to be a trilogy because I was not all that impressed by this first book (I'm hoping the next two books get better). The magic system is a really cool with the division of sorcerers, magicians and witches and all that plus the villains history with the whole ancient seven things (which kind of confuses me on how they'll all get beaten in a three book series). The world building wasn't all that original because it was basically a spin on the Victorian era of England with magic and stuff so visualizing the setting wasn't a big problem. This might be a problem for some people but at the time I was reading this book I liked it.
“It sometimes feels as though young women are trained from birth never to contribute anything original to a conversation.”
There were A LOT of characters in this book and sometimes I was a little thrown off, I mean I can still keep up with the main characters because they appear frequently throughout the book but other supporting characters just didn't stick with me. Also, I don't know the romance direction of this book because throughout this book the author just teased and teased and teased on who's gonna be with Henrietta, there are three characters in this book who are written as her potential love interests. if you're wondering I haven't found an OTP yet in this book.
“I’ll never marry. No man could want me in battle, and I wouldn’t want anyone who might keep me away from my duty.”
“Don’t be so hasty to rule out gentlemen’s understanding,” Magnus said. “There are some who admire a capable girl. One of them might be closer than you think, if you’d take the time to notice what’s before you.”
The writing of this book was good, there weren't any specialness to it but the power in Jessica Clues's writing is in her action sequences, she's really great in writing very vivid and badass action scenes, which is one of the best qualities of this book. Although the writing was OK, it was really easy to read and keep up with (story-wise) hence people can easily get hooked on.

Some quick plus and minuses on the book. Pluses, a cool magic system, villain history, very atmospheric setting of victorian England with a dash of magic, easy to read writing and awesome action scenes. Minuses: OK writing, too many teasing of potential love interests, instant chemistry and a lot of side characters that weren't made distinct.

I would recommend this book to people looking for a light fantasy novel.

That's all for now!

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