Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning [Book Review & Giveaway!]

Hello there!

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Random House
Published Date: 20th September 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to the Sunday Street Team for the review copy*


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Synopsis: 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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Review: I was especially looking forward to A Shadow Bright and Burning because of that cover. It caught my eye so much. The rose burning… and then the title itself. I felt like this could have the Girl on Fire kind of effect from Hunger Games but then unique as it’s a fantasy novel and magic is playing into things as well. And yes, this novel managed to nail it and be a whole lot of fun to read.

What I liked most about this novel had to be Henrietta herself. As the novel progresses we get to see her complete transformation into who she is. In the beginning she is timid, she is shy and she is younger. Her thoughts are less well shaped and she is more so impulsive. Even though the book doesn’t stress her character development and growth, it was something I could appreciate and see clearly as a reader.


As we all as the main character herself, the secondary characters are done incredibly well in this novel. Perhaps it did bother me a little bit that these were mostly males who were vying for her attention in one or another (even if that wasn’t their initial goal in getting to know her), but Henrietta ended up with more admirers than I was expecting her too. I did like how unique they were though. I loved Magnus’s attitude and the playful banter-like manner he had of speaking. I also, loved Blackwood’s uptightness because I felt like I could relate to that too. The best thing was that because of the synopsis we keep waiting for someone to betray her… and you’d think it is a spoiler but it really isn’t. Because of course, Cluess was cleverer about it than that. That’s all I’ll say on the matter!

As for the plot, this novel has a good plot going on which carries through the whole novel. There is conflict and issues which need to be overcome – which aren’t overcome too easily. But it does follow the formula of a normal fantasy first book in a series. We’re given a bit of an introduction into the new world, which is necessary as there are some creatures that need explaining to the reader. It never gets info-dumpy. We also get the taming or learning of her powers to a certain extent and then some conflict at the end. A bit usual, but the formula is good and then in the second book things usually become a bit more flexible.


The world building left me wanting a little bit. I especially love this about fantasy novels and although this book was slightly different from the usual England, it wasn’t as far off as some fantasies can be. It didn’t take a lot of description for me to figure out how things worked in the world, but I would have enjoyed a bit more setting description and imagery. The novel wasn’t lacking in the slightest! But it’s more so what I would have enjoyed.




Oh, and how could I almost forget? This novel deals with the theme of feminism a lot! I loved that Henrietta was the only female and she knew it. She wasn’t afraid to challenge those who decided to look down on her because she was a woman. Women are generally not accepted as magicians in this novel as well, so she has that issue to handle as well. I loved her sass and I felt proud of some of her statements. Secondly, there is a lot of ‘being born into a certain birthright’ in this novel. Henrietta constantly challenged the hierarchy system and I couldn’t help loving her a little more for that too!


Overall, a brilliant beginning to a series and I’m so excited to read book two as soon as it comes out!

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Gif Summary:


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Giveaway! Enter to win an ARC copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning, for US entries only. 


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What makes you feel most at home?


Olivia-Savannah x       

40 comments:

  1. Glad you really enjoyed the read. Your enthusiasm for the next book shines throughout the review

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    1. I'm glad it does :3 It was one that had me captivated!

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  2. You really did enjoy it. It's the best gift an author can give. This doesn't sound like the type of book I'd read, but I LOVE, LOVE the cover. A great way to capture an audiences attention.

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    1. Shame it isn't one for you but I am glad you can appreciate the cover. It's gorgeous D:

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  3. A lot of people seem to love this book - I might have to give it a try, maybe there's more to it than there seems from the synopsis ;)

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    1. The synopsis seems like it gives everything away, but in truth it really doesn't :)

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  4. Since you seem to like this book I definitely can't wait to read it myself! :)

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    1. I think you'd love this one, Stephanie ;)

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  5. I've not heard of this book yet, but it sounds like a wonderful read! I'll add it to my list. :)

    As for your question: reading nooks, books, and fairy lights (particularly accompanied with winter weather) make me feel at home. ^_^

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    1. I'm glad you're going to be keeping tabs on it. I hope you do pick it up :3 I hope you can bring all those things to your new place, in that case. So then you'll feel perfectly at home there ^.^

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  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I have been looking forward to reading it, but the hype may just kill that feeling if I don't read it soon. Reading will always make me feel right at home. Also, good food. Can't forget the food!

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    1. I know what you mean about hype kind of over selling books, so you should either read it real soon or wait a bit and then get to reading it!

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  7. This sounds SO. GOOD. I am really excited to read it myself! I mean, it doesn't hurt that the cover is freaking GORGEOUS too hahh, but I am really glad that there is a great story to back it up ;) ANd Henrietta sounds like a really great character- I love that you can already see her growth. And the feminism stuff sounds fabulous too! Great review, you have me VERY anxious to read this one!

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    1. Gorgeous covers always help that extra bit, but it always turns out to be the story that matters! And this one definitely has it. Oh yes, the feminism made me so happy. Go for it, Shannon :D

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  8. This sounds really good -- a strong female character is always a plus. I want to try this one!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  9. Despite the world building, I'm glad you enjoyed the book overall. Sorcery is always really fun to read for me, and Henrietta seems like a witty character that will charm the socks off readers.

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    1. You've got to enjoy a bit of magic in a novel. And witty characters give me life. I think you'd like this one :c

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  10. I'm always looking for a good fantasy. Especially when it features a strong heroine. I also like when the world building and descriptions are done so well I can almost believe it's real. Just might add this to my ever growing TBR list.

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    1. I hope you did end up adding it to your list ;) This was a good fantasy and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!

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  11. Yay, I'm glad this one had a strong vein of feminism running through it, I'm glad there was great character development for Henrietta. Lovely review!

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    1. This was one of those novels which almost had it all! Thanks for stopping by :3

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  12. The cover is pretty awesome. I so want to read this book. heard only good things so far.

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  13. Heard some good reviews about this book. But my reading list is killing me. Haha.

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  14. CAN I JUST SAY THAT IM DYING FOR THIS BOOK?!?! Plus your review has tempted me more as it's slaying! :) <3
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. YAS, Haniya, YAS go fourth and read this one :D

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  15. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book Olivia. A fantasy with themes of feminism? Yes, please! I've had this book on my radar for a long but wasn't sure if it would be as good as it sounded. So I guess I'll be buying myself a copy of this one soon ^^

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    1. You should go for it. Your eye was set on the right book to watch ;)

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  16. Character development? YES. Feminism? YES. I THINK THIS CHECKS ALL THE BOXES FOR ME - super excited to read it someday! Thanks for sharing, Olivia! :)

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    1. Yes it's so good! You gotta read it girl!

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  17. Wonderful review...and now I'm intrigued in this book.

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  18. Oh glad to see you enjoyed this! I've been hearing so many good things and I'm definitely intrigued. I think I'll have to move this up on the TBR! Great review!

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    1. You'll have to try this one out! It's too good to miss on it :)

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  19. I've been seeing this book a lot lately and it sounds really amazing!!! You make it sound even better, although it's a shame about the world building, I do love that in a book as well. But everything else seems to be great! :D Can't wait to read this!

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. Everything else was great! The little blip pales in comparison to the rest of the novels greatness ^^

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  20. This books sounds great! I love fantasy and the feminism theme is a bonus!

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    1. Yes, the feminism theme was woven in so well :D

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