I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s 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?
Description taken from Goodreads.
I’ve heard that this book is brilliant, and that’s not entirely false. There were some truly amazing parts to A Shadow Bright and Burning, but in the end, it wasn’t truly the right story for me. Or maybe it came at a bad time. I can feel a book slump coming on.
Whatever the case, my big issue with the story was Henrietta. The story wasn’t quite Mary Sue, but the focus was on her all the time. One or two people oppose her, but everyone else adores her and regards her as the greatest. Sure, I get that she’s the newest female sorcerer. I get girl power, and I’m all for that, but I don’t want a heroine who is completely unrealistic. The world doesn’t revolve around her, and I wish we had more girl-power books along the lines of Graceling and The Winner’s Curse.
Part of it was that this book struck me as a reverse harem. There are very few female characters, and Henrietta is surrounded by guys 99% of the time. I suspected that already from the blurb, but it wasn’t what I was looking for in this story.
Not considering the characters, the writing and premise of A Shadow Bright and Burning were excellent. Everything was set up very well, and I loved exploring the world that Cluess created. The demons were surprisingly great, and I was craving more about the world-building by the end. A lot of this has been done before, but Cluess managed to spin it in a way I was excited to learn about.
And then there was the plot. For all my qualms about the characters, the plot was what drove me forward. There were a few twists near the end that went south of what I was expecting in the best way possible. I loved the other elements of this story and the way Cluess executed it.
I would recommend this one because it’s not a bad book, and it’ll appeal to people who don’t mind harem-like character structures and speshul main characters. The plot is brilliant, and the world was great. All in all, not a bad story. I’ll be looking forward to more from Jessica Cluess. 3 stars.
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1