A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

23203252I 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? Goodreads

I knew nothing about this book before requesting it. Sure, I read the description – but I’d never heard of the author, and I was a little bit nervous from reading the description.

No need to worry. This book was fabulous.

Henrietta can set herself on fire. That’s cool, but not in a time when witches are burned at the stake. She keeps her abilities a secret, until she is discovered — not as a witch, but as a sorcerer. She’s sent to study with Her Majesty’s sorcerers in an effort to destroy the Ancients, a group of magical creatures who slaughter people.

The worldbuilding was freakin’ awesome. I enjoyed the magic — it’s split between witches, sorcerers and magicians. There’s some history laid out in the book behind the three. London is surrounded by a ward which helps protect the people inside from the Ancients. The people in the slums outside of London are SOL, though.

The pacing was fantastic — I read this pretty quickly and stayed up late too many nights reading it.

I enjoyed Henrietta as a main character — she was strong, independent and didn’t rely on a man to get her out of any situation (I am slightly sad about the lack of romance, though).

There were lots of questions that were left unanswered at the end of the book. History of the Ancients, Henrietta’s father, the ivy on her stave, etc. I wished those had been answered, but hello, that’s the point of a series, amiright?

Overall, excellent read and I look forward to the second installment! 4/5 on Goodreads!

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review A Shadow Bright and Burning in exchange for an honest review. 

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