A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom of Fire #1)
By Jessica Cluess
Summary: 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?
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Source: I purchased a hardcover.
A Shadow Bright and Burning was full of magic and adventure. Henrietta possessed the power to use fire and it often ignited out of anger. Reports of the frequent fires led a sorcerer to check out her school to find the witch. She thought, based on the history of magical women, it was to execute or imprison the culprit for possessing magic. But it turned out to be about a prophecy of a young female sorcerer and she was the Chosen One. Or was she?
Henrietta struggled to fit in and train as a sorcerer and her life got pretty complicated as a result.
I wish the story was as gorgeous as the cover, but for me, it fell short. It sounds so amazing and it’s one of those books that I didn’t enjoy, can’t really figure out why, and when I reread the synopsis, it makes me want to read the book, so what went wrong? I felt off for the entire story. I never really connected with Henrietta and so many of the scene changes just felt abrupt. So much happened and I never felt like I was fully introduced to everything. Henrietta was off doing lessons, exploring London on her own, making friends, making enemies, becoming an apprentice, and yet I felt bored and disconnected somehow.
I think I expected a different style of writing to accompany the magic and setting and I just didn’t get it. It read more like a boarding school book than one of magic and London and wonder.
I have an ARC of the sequel, so I’m likely to continue the story, but I’m not sure that I would if I didn’t feel obligated to.