A Shadow Bright and Burning


A Shadow Bright and Burning. Jessica Cluess. YA/Fantasy. 2016. 416 pages. 3 stars.

Knowledge is as powerful as fire. The brighter it burns, the more it devours.


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?

my thoughts

I’m really disappointed because I really wanted to love this book. IT HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL OMG. It had magic, Victorian England, and cute boys. What could go wrong with that?? Apparently a lot.

What I liked about the book:

  • The writing style. The book is so easy to get into since it’s written in 1st person!! Henrietta’s voice is also very relatable cos tbh I’d think that way if I were 16 also.
  • Henrietta. She’s a YA fantasy heroine who acted her age (in a positive way) and it was hilarious and fun to read
  • Rook. His relationship with Henrietta reminded me of Alina and Mal’s in Shadow and Bone. (The books even have similar names omg) While I’m not a hardcore shipper of Alina and Mal, (#Team Darkling) I think Henrietta and Rook’s was done right!!
  • MAGNUS. HIS HUMOR IS 10/10. YESWe need more funny and supportive characters like him. He’s also a feminist. My baby :((
  • The magic system had no rules hehe it was fun
  • It was quick and enjoyable though. Each chapter kept me wanting more.

What I didn’t like about the book:

  • It was set in Victorian England, and I thought that I’d love that fact since The Infernal Devices was set there also. However, many males just ended up being really sexist.
  • I also didn’t feel like I was in Victorian England?? I think it’s the language used. It felt too informal to be set during that time. It just didn’t feel as if I were time traveling to that time ya know #ReaderProbs
  • The unnecessary love triangle!!!!
  • I loved Magnus but he also did something douchey :/
  • I felt as if the climax was rushed, and I feel like the book should have been longer.
  • There were 6 boys living in the same house and we only got to know 2 of them. Sad.

It feels as if the book deserves a lower rating, but for some strange reason I still found it enjoyable. I really think it’s the writing, so props to the author for her engaging style!! If you’re looking for a light fantasy, maybe this book is for you! I really hope you enjoy it more than I did.

3 Stars!

2 Replies to “A Shadow Bright and Burning”

  1. I agree with all of your points, and yet I couldn’t help but enjoy this book. I can’t wait to read the sequel here in a couple weeks.


  2. I have had this on my shelf for the longest time but I have a feeling I won’t enjoy it as much as I want to so I haven’t touched it. Sounds silly 😂 sorry you didn’t like it as much as you wanted to 🙁


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