Cover Image: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)

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Member Reviews

Honestly my favorite part of the book was how well the side characters were developed. So often with YA fantasy you get a really strong main character and then very minimal presentation of the other characters, this time they were real additions to the story and not just your classic NPC
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Beginning of a fantasy series by Cluess.  Adventure, self-discovery, alliances, and so much more.  Recommended for teens, fans of series, fantasy, magical adventure.
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(posted on goodreads back in 6/1/17)
	I enjoyed this audiobook more than I thought I would. There isn't much new in this fantasy, but I enjoyed the ride and it kept me company on a drive to and from Tennessee!

Ancients and a magical main female character who can kick some ass aren't new to fantasy YA, but I still enjoyed the ride.
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I know this review is very late; I requested this one when I was still brand new to NetGalley, then ended up with a paper ARC at a conference and forgot it was also a NetGalley title - but I figured positive feedback never hurts! I adored this book and the follow-up, have pressed them into the hands of several of my teens at the library, and am beyond excited for the conclusion to the trilogy!
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I have to be honest. I didn’t like this book at first and considered DNFing it. The sentences were too short and the style was choppy. I like long, descriptive sentences, plenty of imagery, and a world I can get lost in. This wasn’t that at all, but something kept me reading.

Perhaps it was the delightful banter between characters, the shippy-ship goodness, the lovable protagonist who kept messing up (and owned her ineptness), the surprises that shocked even me, or this magical world that I wasn’t sure about at first but then bewitched me with its brilliance. It all felt sort of like it’d been done before and yet it was charming and felt new all at the same time.

So basically there’s this alternate, fantastical London. Once the book gets THERE, it picks up, but the beginning was a bit slow, opening up and setting the story at this school where the girls have a brutal headmaster, and Henrietta’s friendship with Rook, who’s a victim of one of the Ancients and suffering from severe pain as a result. When they leave to go to London and she starts her magical training, it became a book that I very much enjoyed. There’s a dome of magical energy over part of London, and this keeps the sorcerers safe from the Ancients, but at the expense of the rest of London including the poor and the Magicians and Witches who are at odds with the Sorcerers that control the country.

Henrietta begins to learn secrets about her background from a certain someone and the tension just builds and builds as we read about the kind of stress and pressure she truly is under to save the country from the Ancients.

Speaking of the Ancients, HOLY CRAP. Talk about some weird, freaky shit. I’m not sure that I am afraid of them yet because they are a bit on the cartoonish side, but they are certainly interesting. I need to know more of how they arrived in London and the rest of Europe, but so far I am on board with this world-building.

I tried to get the next book, because this is a trilogy and I wanted to read it ASAP, but I decided to wait until the third book comes out. I may or may not reread this book then–it just depends on how much of it I remember, but it’s pretty memorable so I am doubting I will have much trouble.

I recommend A Shadow Bright and Burning to anyone looking for a fun fantasy escape with delectable banter and relationships, and exciting twists and turns.
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I liked the plot. I love the cover. But the book just didn’t hold my attention or make me want to read it. I felt, like other reviews, that the story and characters were too close to other popular fantasy novels. I did not finish this book because life is too short to read books I don’t like.
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Intense action, mystery, suspense and magic!!

A Shadow Bright and Burning....IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I opened this book and literally did not put it down except to sleep and eat...literally...I was completely and utterly obsessed with every page in this amazing book.....and that cover?? Breath-taking...a perfect cover for a perfect book.

Jessica Cluess has written a phenomenal fantasy story that focuses on a KICK ASS female heroine who is the one and only female sorcerer in many years to appear and who is perceived to be the savior everyone needs to conquer the evil monsters in this thrilling young adult fantasy that reminds me so much of the Jane Austin era....with a twist of Harry Potter...yes I said it...Harry Potter...need I say more?? OBSESSED!!!!
One of my favorite parts of the story is the creatures...good and bad...and some oh so lovable...(remember Dobby)

I loved how this amazing heroine comes from a poor background and is just trying to survive in the world when her entire life changes and she is thrust into English society where women are expected to wear petticoats and be proper.....and Henrietta Howell is anything but proper....(*LOVE*)
Henrietta begins to train with a entire group of boys and has to prove she deserves to be a sorcerer as much as they do.

There are so many amazing characters in this story and I found myself equally enamored with each different character and couldn't wait to read more about them. SO much amazing character development throughout this book and it just keeps me begging to read more!

There are so many secrets to be revealed (some heartbreaking and some amazing) and twists that will make your jaw drop...When I say I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel....I MEAN IT!!!! If you are a fan of intense action, mystery, suspense, and fantasy then you HAVE to add this to your TBR list!!!! One of the best books I have read this year....just PHENOMENAL!!!!!
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Look, when the main character does pretty much nothing but run out of the room in tears, it's not gonna be a good time.
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Henrietta now teaches at the orphanage where she was raised along with her close friend Rook.  Despite poor treatment from the headmaster, Henrietta has been keeping her head down so that no one will notice that she is able to set things on fire, including herself.  Magical abilities are the quickest path to jail or death after a spell gone wrong opened a portal that allowed several Ancients - very evil creatures - to enter our world.  While magicians are considered dangerous, sorcerers are considered saviors.  When the powerful sorcerer Agrippa visits Henrietta's school, he discovers her power and takes her away to London to train as the first female sorcerer in ages who is prophesied to be The Chosen One. Henrietta only agrees to go if Rook can come along with her and soon she is thrust into a world entirely different from her upbringing.  But her magical powers don't seem to work the way the other young sorcerers' do which leads to a scary discovery.

I read this book months ago and gave it four stars but did not write a review of it at that time.  Recently, someone nominated it for a reading program and when I picked it up to read it, I thought "This book seems familiar" before I remembered I'd read it before.  So the fact that I'd forgotten I read it makes me question my initial rating...  But in reviewing the events of the book I do remember that I liked the world created here with the elemental Ancients and the Pride and Prejudice-esque sorcerers.  There are no unseen twists in the story in terms of Henrietta's powers, Rook's path, the male sorcerer students, or the Ancients, but the book is a fun ride anyway.
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An interesting premise, but ultimately falling short when competing with the hundreds of other YA fantasy novels that possess a similar plot.  Too many possible love interests spoil what could otherwise have saved this novel from its unoriginality.  If you're looking for a light fantasy that doesn't rely much in the way of world-building then this may be for you.
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A good start to a new YA fantasy series! I love all things YA fantasy, so this was a fun read for me.
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This book that pulled me out of a slump that lasted almost 15 days.  It. was. glorious.

A Shadow Bright And Burning is based in London at the time of the Victorian era.  Henrietta Howel discovers that the powers she has lived with all her life are in fact the powers of a sorcerer—that she is a sorcerer—and where she thought she’d be executed for being one, the young Queen Victoria needs her.  That is basically all you need to know about this book before you dive in, because trust you me, this book has some crazy twists and turns, and the lesser informed you are the better.

 One of the reasons I chose a fantasy book to help me out of a slump was singularly because for me, fantasy almost never disappoints.  This book was no different. It has a lot to bring to the table—Victorian London admits fantasy, and powerful political undertones, to name a few—but nothing impressed me more than the protagonist Nettie herself.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t the greatest fan of the girl in the beginning.  Her voice seemed a bit immature to me, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read an entire book based on a voice I wasn’t the greatest fan of.  But the book starts of with a bang and around the 10% mark, it really started to pick up.  I was hooked and found myself rooting for this badass albeit, not entirely flawless heroine.  In many ways I saw the spirit of Katniss and Feyre in Henrietta, and I was sold.

The men in the book however were…less stellar.  Where Henrietta was this living, breathing dynamo, I found the boys to be a little too immature for the responsibilities they had.  That being said, however, I did have favourites and I did have a ship.  Obviously.  Non-canon as fuck, and it had low-key Pride and Prejudice vibes, so he he he he.  However, there is nothing that;s been set in stone yet—and the most obvious ship in the book may not set sail at all because reasons.

The fantasy part of the story was very very well done.  No info dumps whatsoever—just pieces of information given to the readers when they should be, and not too much drama and clichéd situations.  Just the right amount of spice and action and backstory to keep you at the edge of the seat.  The whole deal with the “Ancients” having powers beyond the destroying capability of a single sorcerer, and curses and secrets and lies—it just made the story deeper, gave it more character and most definitely assured my return to its sequel 😃
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A Shadow Bright and Burning was not quite what I had been expecting.  Rather than provide a negative review, I have chosen not to publish a review.
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I give the book four stars. It has elements to other YA series that are already published. However, I did enjoy reading the story and the world the author created and characters she created.  I am excited in reading the next book in the series. I would definitely would recommend the book to others.
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Sadly I just couldn't get into this title. Perhaps younger/teen readers will delve into this book a bit better than I did. That being said, I think it would be a find addition to a young adult collection and could be suggested for readers who enjoy  Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare. Those looking for some magical realism and suspense might want to check this title out.
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So you can burst into flames... the only problem is that it may kill you, but now how you would expect. Henrietta is constantly afraid for her life. Her ability means that she can catch on fire without hurting herself but it also means that she could be killed for being a witch. Lucky for her there was a prophecy about a girl sorcerer so she may be in the clear. 

This book was an emotional bouncy-house for me. First we are scared for Henrietta's secret being found out, then we are fine when she is taken on as a sorcerer's apprentice, then down again when we find out a bigger secret, then up then down... you get it right? It was crazy plot twisting every which way. It kept this long book (416 pages) feeling like it was flying by but there was a lot of gasping and relief.

Henrietta is overly defiant for her station in life and while that is refreshing it is also not at all typical of a female in this time period either, I know it was fantasy but I kept waiting for her to get smacked. She was strong and fierce and trying to make a better life for herself though so I commend her on that aspect. She was an interesting character to follow. 

What I would have liked more of was world building, the synopsis says it is in Victorian London but I never really got that feel. Otherwise I enjoyed how quickly the story moved along and I enjoyed the characters. I also liked that while this book was the start of a series it can pretty much be read by itself. It concludes pretty well and if you didn't love it, it ends on a decent enough note to not continue the series. At this point, I don't think I will pick up the next one - too many other reviews to write but maybe when I have a more open schedule.
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Sorry, requested but did not find the time to review.
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I was completely hooked with the story at the very beginning, but it started to fall flat in the middle for me. I had to take a break from it for a few weeks because I felt like the book wasn't getting anywhere and I didn't want to not like it because I was forcing myself to read. I'm happy I continued because it was a great ending. The writing was ok. The characters were ok. Overall, it was just an ok book but I will be continuing with the series. All in all, it was a good debut.
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I kept feeling like I was re-reading A LOT of other fantasy stories. There was no originality and everything was predictable. I put it down about 1/4 of the way through.
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There were lots of really neat elements, like the magic and the fey. But the world building fell a little flat and the I wished that there were more female characters. I really loved the idea of this plot line I just want to see more doing with it than talking about it.
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