Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

“When I see a lady go up against a group of men who claim to know better than she does, I find I want her to succeed.”

This book has the typical YA storyline – orphaned young girl Henrietta is living a dull and occasionally tortured life until she is told by the sorcerer Agrippa that she is the Prophesied One who can destroy the Ancients and bring an end to the war. She travels with him and her childhood friend Rook to London Proper to train formally and receive a commendation from Queen Victoria. She joins with the other young boys under Agrippa’s tutelage and all of them train together. There are many who don’t like a woman with magical abilities and she has to fend off a lot of attacks – both physical and verbal. When she is rocked by the truth of her lineage and betrayal from unexpected quarters, she is forced to make choices that might change the fate of England forever.

“The most exceptional individuals are also the most necessary.”

The story was okay and I was able to get through the book. I didn’t really like Henrietta’s character because she I felt she was too selfish sometimes and would do anything for Rook, the whole world be damned. I think I expect a little more from the main protagonist. Rook was not a very steady presence in the book, so I don’t know if have formed any opinion bout him yet. I really liked the characters of Agrippa, Magnus and Blackwood. They are almost always there for her and are ever ready to fight to protect her. The loyalty of all the boys is commendable but I especially liked Magnus, the charming flirt and Blackwood, the eternal brooder. I think I will read the next book in the series for their sake. I am usually a big fan of fantasy world building and it was missing here, so I still don’t know a lot about the world and its villains. My final verdict – the book is fairly enjoyable due to some good characters.

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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