Book Reviews · Fantasy · Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

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

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess
Published January 3, 2017 by Random House Australia
RRP AUD $19.99

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 had really high expectations going into the book, because I had heard a lot about it and the cover looked absolutely stunning. Overall I really liked the book, although there were a few things that didn’t really sit well with me throughout, so it didn’t completely live up to my expectations. The pacing of the story is quite good, and even though at points a lot of characters were introduced, I didn’t get them mixed up. The story started out pretty good, and I was quite interested for about 10 chapters, but after that things went downhill fast.

When you have a story with a single female living among a group of boys, you’re bound to get a love triangle. Safe to say I’m not a fan of love triangles, this one not excepted. Because of this, the romantic aspect of the book occasionally got on my nerves, I wish Jessica would’ve just chosen the one guy!! For me, it’s kind of easy to see who she’s going to end up with, so the whole love triangle thing is completely unnecessary.

I was SO ANNOYED at the weird character changes throughout. One character personality revelation/change was so unexpected and it didn’t. ALSO as a female character in a mostly male-dominated environment, I would’ve expected Henrietta to be a much stronger character, and there was so much potential for that!!! But, as the story went on she changed for the worse (in my opinion), she was too trusting for my liking, and that kind of annoyed me throughout. So what if a guy tells you something???? Doesn’t always mean it’s true. Do what you feel is right!!

The thing I enjoyed was that the story gave me serious The Infernal Devices vibes, which is a series I adored, so I was happy in that sense. I may or may not continue this series, I’ll give it a think. OH but my ideal turnout? Henrietta says no to all men and just becomes a super strong badass heroine.




Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.


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