Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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

From Goodreads:

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 freely admit the cover was the draw to this book for me, isn't it beautiful? I had had my eye on this for awhile, so when I saw it available on Blogging for Books last fall I grabbed it! Luckily, it was not just a pretty cover, but also a fun story! It's a little bit Harry Potter, a little bit Oliver Twist, and a little bit Cthulu all rolled into one. There's magic wands (staves), a magician who is taking care of orphaned children who isn't quite what he seems, and ancient monsters that have been let loose on the world, though they seem particularly interested in England for the most part.

I did enjoy Henrietta as a character and some of the young men, I just couldn't get on board with Rook, though he's still in the story, so maybe I'll come around to liking him more later on.  Henrietta is constantly under a lot of pressure because of her abilities, from hiding them, to honing them, to using them differently to appear as if she's doing things a certain way. It all sounds exhausting to me, and all while dealing with the fact that she's a woman, in fact the only woman, practicing to be a sorcerer, and not being taken as seriously by her compatriots as she would like. 

There are secrets and betrayals and enemies becoming friends and friends becoming enemies, and it's overall a fun and exciting story of magic, coming of age, and finding true friends.  The next book in the Kingdom on Fire series is A Poison Dark and Drowning will be out September 19th and I'm looking forward to it!

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