Friday, October 28, 2016

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

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?” - taken from

On this fantastical twist on Victorian England, the country is at war with the Ancients. Who they are, where and how they came to be is really unknown but sorcerers are unable to defeat them. They are barely able to protect the crown of England and the sorcerer families. Female magic or witchcraft is criminal and punishable by death since it is believed that a witch named Mary Willoughby brought the Ancients to the world. Henrietta Howel, an orphan and teacher at the Brimthorn School for Girls can call forth fire, a fact she tries to keep hidden except from her friend, Rook. Rook is one of the Unclean and feared by society. He bears the scars of being attacked by
Korozoth. When Cornelius Agrippa comes to Brimthorn to see if one of the girls there is the prophesied female sorcerer, Henrietta’s cover is blown when she and Rook are attacked by Familiars. Agrippa sees her burst into flames and attack the Familiars. Henrietta is brought to London by Agrippa to train and she convinces him to take Rook along as a servant.

In London, Henrietta is dropped into the world of high society and sorcerer training along with several boys, who have been training for a couple years already. She is more readily accepted by some but Lord Blackwell is reserving judgement. Unable to perform magic in the beginning, Henrietta begins to doubt herself when she learns of Lord Agrippa’s dead daughter Gwen. Many believed that Gwen was the prophesied one until her death. Now, Henrietta begins to doubt herself.

Is she the prophesied one? Where does Henrietta’s ability come from? Is she a sorcerer or a witch? Which boys will accept her? Does she get commended?

I loved this book which I compared to a female Harry Potter in a magical Victorian England. I cannot wait to see how this story continues.

Visit Jessica Cluess’ website.

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