A Shadow Bright and Burning


Written by Jessica Cluess

Published by Random House, September 20, 2016

My star rating: 3.5 stars


Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta is not the chosen one. As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves? Find it on Goodreads

spoiler free graphic


This is one of the books that was chosen for my TBR unhaul challenge and, let me tell you, it was a long time coming! I’ve had it on my shelf since the month it was released! Crazy! I was happy to finally get to it, but it ended up being a slight disappointment. I still enjoyed it but there was just something about it that didn’t click.

Henrietta was a fantastic character! She was so smart and strong, never allowing the men she was surrounded by to force her hand. Yet she was still a lady! She found herself with these powers in a time where those with powers were banned. She’s recruited due to a prophecy and brought to train to fulfill her destiny. But, as the synopsis mentions, she actually NOT the chosen one! She’s not perfect and finds herself in a bit of a tough situation. She knows that she’s strong but isn’t able to do the things they want her to do or in the way that they want her to do them in. She’s powerful, YES! But in a way that isn’t expected. I really enjoyed her!!

Along those line, the magic was so interesting! She is prophesied as being a destructive female sorcerer and trains to bring her powers to their highest strength. I absolutely loved the training and the displays of this power – what it does and how it works. But since she isn’t the chosen one, things don’t work for her as they should. She finds herself speaking with a magician, with powers that seem just as strong and useful, and she develops her powers using both techniques. I could have read about the magic all day – it was fantastic!!

As much as I liked Henrietta and the magic, there was something about this book that just didn’t click. It felt like something I’ve read before. The familiarity made me a little bored at times. There were quite a few tropes that have been done many times before. The author still found a way to make this tropes unique in their own way, but it still felt familiar enough that my mind wandered.

I also didn’t like the romance/love triangle. It felt as if it was just a side story put in place to create sexual tension and didn’t add as much to the story as a whole. I honestly don’t even remember who she ended up with because I stopped paying attention. I would have loved it if she kept with her strength and independence!! I understand that this was in a time and place where women were meant to take a husband, but she wasn’t your typical woman!

In the end it was an ok read. Not terrible but not great either. I’m undecided if I will continue the series. I think I’m ok with how it ended actually.

Until next time, happy reading!


12 Comments Add yours

  1. It sounds interesting… I think it’s a maybe for my TBR…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you like it if you end up picking it up! A friend of mine who has identical taste in books loved this one!


  2. Great review!! I’ve really been on the fence about this one, and I think maybe I’ll pass?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t say to pass. You might end up liking it! Maybe borrow from the library or do the audio. A friend of mine with reading tastes so close to mine really liked it

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, and agree with you, the love triangle would have left me a bit cold as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Great review but too bad for such a gorgeous cover that it was not better for you! And I hate love triangle!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a love hate relationship with them. I love them if done well, yet at the same time I can’t explain what constitutes as done well 😂


  5. I read this one about five months ago and I agree with everything you’ve said here. I was disappointed and really expected more out of the story. I won’t be picking up book 2. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This book sounds a bit too similar to the Grisha Trillogy by Leigh Bardugo to really peak my intreat but I’ve been eyeing the cover in my local book store for months

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never read the Grisha trilogy. Six Of Crows, yes. But the Grisha series never sounded interesting. Now I know why 😂


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