A Shadow Bright and Burning [Book Review & Giveaway!]

A Shadow Bright and Burning [Book Review & Giveaway!]
Hello there!
Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Random House
Published Date: 20th September 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
*Thank you to the Sunday Street Team for the review copy*
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: I was
especially looking forward to A Shadow
Bright and Burning
because of that cover. It caught my eye so much. The
rose burning… and then the title itself. I felt like this could have the Girl
on Fire kind of effect from Hunger Games but then unique as it’s a fantasy
novel and magic is playing into things as well. And yes, this novel managed to
nail it and be a whole lot of fun to read.
What I liked most about this novel had to be Henrietta
herself. As the novel progresses we get to see her complete transformation into
who she is. In the beginning she is timid, she is shy and she is younger. Her
thoughts are less well shaped and she is more so impulsive. Even though the
book doesn’t stress her character development and growth, it was something I
could appreciate and see clearly as a reader.
As we all as the main character herself, the secondary characters
are done incredibly well in this novel. Perhaps it did bother me a little bit
that these were mostly males who were vying for her attention in one or another
(even if that wasn’t their initial goal in getting to know her), but Henrietta
ended up with more admirers than I was expecting her too. I did like how unique
they were though. I loved Magnus’s attitude and the playful banter-like manner
he had of speaking. I also, loved Blackwood’s uptightness because I felt like I
could relate to that too. The best thing was that because of the synopsis we
keep waiting for someone to betray her… and you’d think it is a spoiler but it
really isn’t. Because of course, Cluess was cleverer about it than that. That’s
all I’ll say on the matter!
As for the plot, this novel has a good plot going on
which carries through the whole novel. There is conflict and issues which need
to be overcome – which aren’t overcome too easily. But it does follow the
formula of a normal fantasy first book in a series. We’re given a bit of an
introduction into the new world, which is necessary as there are some creatures
that need explaining to the reader. It never gets info-dumpy. We also get the
taming or learning of her powers to a certain extent and then some conflict at
the end. A bit usual, but the formula is good and then in the second book
things usually become a bit more flexible.
The world building left me wanting a little bit. I
especially love this about fantasy novels and although this book was slightly
different from the usual England, it wasn’t as
far off as some fantasies can be. It didn’t take a lot of description for
me to figure out how things worked in the world, but I would have enjoyed a bit
more setting description and imagery. The novel wasn’t lacking in the
slightest! But it’s more so what I would have enjoyed.

Oh, and how could I almost forget? This novel deals with
the theme of feminism a lot! I loved that Henrietta was the only female and she
knew it. She wasn’t afraid to challenge those who decided to look down on her
because she was a woman. Women are generally not accepted as magicians in this
novel as well, so she has that issue to handle as well. I loved her sass and I
felt proud of some of her statements. Secondly, there is a lot of ‘being born
into a certain birthright’ in this novel. Henrietta constantly challenged the hierarchy
system and I couldn’t help loving her a little more for that too!
Overall, a brilliant beginning to a series and I’m so
excited to read book two as soon as it comes out!
Gif Summary:

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