Monday, July 18, 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess ARC Review

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Published by Random House BFYR
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Pre-Order: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen 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 Howel 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, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces Henrietta Howel, a powerful, unforgettable heroine, and an entertaining world filled with magic, monsters, and mayhem.



A Shadow Bright and Burning personifies why I love the fantasy genre so much. It is exactly what it promises its readers—a powerful female MC, swoony boys, and fantastical magic—all set in Victorian London. Sounds amazing, right? This book gave me so many Howl's Moving Castle feels with its steampunky and enchanted world. The writing has an old world charm with magic laced throughout the words. Can you tell the magic was my favorite part of this book? xD


There are multiple ship options in this book and it makes my heart a little wary. Especially since I like two of the possible options! Despite there being multiple ship choices, romance is definitely on the backburner in this story. The book mainly focuses on Henrietta—our heroine—learning more about herself and her powers. I did want a little bit more from the plot and think some things could be better defined but all in all, I truly enjoyed this book and hope you guys will check this one out!


1) A Shadow Bright and Burning reminds me so much of Howl's Moving Castle in all the best ways. The writing style, the magic, and even Henrietta reminds me of Sophie a lot.


So, if you love Howl's Moving Castle book, movie, or both—you need this book. Trust me!

2) The world building is phenomenal! With Jessica's words, the setting flows off the pages. Obviously, I love books that are set in Victorian London but Jessica adds magic to this inspirational setting. Though not all of it is puppies and rainbows, you have a clear picture of what everything looks like. 

3) All of the magical elements are extremely unique! We have all seen characters with elemental powers but we haven't seen them fight against Ancients—beings that seem to come from the depths of hell. The magical battles are so intense and vivid. Those scenes had my heart racing and adrenaline coursing through my veins. This book has everything I love about the fantasy genre, and it's fantastic!


4) Sassy, independent, female main character. Henrietta doesn't sit around and wait for things to happen, she makes plans and she takes care of her loved ones, all while being a total bad-ass. No matter what the men in her life tell her to do, she stays true to herself and makes the choices that are best for her.

*BAMF*

5) Just as the synopsis promises, there are multiple swoony guys in this book! My personal favorites are Blackwood and Rook. I would love to add these two to my personal harem xD. Obviously I have a thing for brooding men because both of these characters have dark clouds that hang over them, but you won't see them whining about it! Either way, both are in desperate need of a hug.

Ah, Blackwood and Rook... *swoons*



1) I don't quite understand the difference between sorcerers and magicians. It doesn't seem that the characters themselves understand the divide either, so I think this confusion is intentional. However, it didn't make sense to me how someone could really tell the difference between the two when comparing their magical abilities. It seemed more like a difference in social status.

2) I wanted more from the plot. A Shadow Bright and Burning has a lot of setup, and we get to follow Henrietta as she trains and gains more control over her power, plus we get some background on the other characters. However, I would have liked a bit more action to push the plot forward.










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46 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I'm SO excited for this book! It's one of my most anticipated books this year. And your review just made me even more excited so... am very hoping to be randomly chosen and win this ARC ;)
    Good luck to everyone!
    And thank you for this amazing giveaway (:

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    1. I'm glad you're excited and that my review helped haha.

      You're welcome and good luck on the giveaway! ^_^

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed A Shadow Bright & Burning so much! I'm really excited for this one. Great review and I love your quote graphics!

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    1. Me too! It was a great book, if you couldn't tell from my review. I hope that you enjoy it.

      Thank you *blushes* I'm still so nervous when it comes to making the quote graphics. I had them made for when I hosted A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING on my Twitter Chat feature. You can check that out by clicking the button on the right sidebar.

      Thanks for stopping by, good luck on the giveaway!

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  3. I"m SOO EXcited for this book. Ever since i read the summary weeks ago.

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    1. It's just as amazing as the synopsis indicates ^_^

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  4. I haven't read ASBAB yet but man oh man do I want to! One of my most anticipated September reads. And you saying it reminds you of Howl's makes me need this book that much more!!

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    1. Yay, that makes me so happy! I hope it exceeds all of your expectations ^_^

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  5. Ah, I've been SO excited for this one! I can't wait for it to come out, and your review has only made me more excited!

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    1. That was my goal ^_^ It'll be out very soon, thankfully!

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  6. So want to read this book! It sounds fantastic! So excited!

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    1. I'm excited for you and everyone else to read it! Thanks for stopping by =)

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  7. Awesome review, Brittany!!! I am so so so excited for this book and am so happy to hear you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. Thank you! I think you're going to love this one, so I can't wait to see what you think.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I've heard some rumblings about this book in the past, and I think it would be an excellent read for my honeymoon!

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    1. There's been talk about this book for quite some time, and now it's closing in to it's release date. I hope you enjoy the book and have a great honeymoon!

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  9. yeh that cover always have me stopping to look each time i see someone walking about the book, it's on my wishlist!

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    1. The cover is so gorgeous, I can't even. I can't help staring at it either. The HC is going to be beautiful.

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  10. I am super excited for this book! I don't think I've ever read a book that tells you the heroine isn't "the chosen one" and it's a refreshing change! I also love that her power is to burst into flames. Totally badass!

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    1. It's definitely refreshing! I can't think of any other book that says that. I hope A Shadow Bright and Burning is on your TBR ^_^

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  11. I'm super excited to read this book as it's one of my most anticipated for this year! Lovely review, Brittany!!

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    1. As you should be, it's a great book!

      Thank you <3

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  12. I had a chance to read an ARC of this and I loved it!

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    1. It's fantastic, isn't it? AHH so much to love ^__^

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  13. I'm so excited about the world-building and the characters!

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  14. I keep seeing this book around Twitter. I cannot wait to read it. It really sounds fabulous!!!

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    1. The people are buzzing and rightfully so, believe me!

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  15. It's one of my most anticipated reads and this review got me even more excited!

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    1. Aw thank you! I hope you love it as much as I do ^_^

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  16. Yes. Yeees. Yeeeeees! Ever since I found out about this book I've been dying for someone to read it early and review it and oh God, I am so happy about finally finding one! I seriously cannot wait for this book and oh God, Victorian London you said? HOW DID I MISS THAT ON THE SUMMARY? I NEED THIS EVEN MORE NOW!

    Seriously, great review! I'm really glad you got to enjoy this one and shared your thoughts with us, now you got me all hyped up for this! Also, thanks for the intl giveaway ♥

    ~L. Leeve Reads

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    1. I'm happy you found my review! I try to get my ARC reviews out as early as I can so you guys know if you should add it to your TBR.

      The setting is fabulous, you're going to LOVE it!

      Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Good luck on the giveaway <3

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  17. I am sooooo excited for this one! I really love the cover as well, it's so gorgeous! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Denise | Dandelionn Wine Book Blog

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    1. I absolutely adore the cover! I hope A Shadow Bright and Burning exceeds all of your expectations.

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck on the giveaway!

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  18. I've seen a lot of chatter about this book and now I know why! Thanks for the recommendations, and I love Hayao Miyazaki so I'll definitely give it a whirl when I can!

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    1. My pleasure! I hope you do give it a try, you won't regret it! ^_^

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. Super excited for this one, heard great things about it. Also that cover is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win it! :)

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    1. Believe what you've heard! The cover is gorgeous and it's a great read.

      Good luck on the giveaway!

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  20. Yes, I'm so excited about this book!!! It has been on my TBR since like forever LOL. I love stories with magic and unique worlds, with a strong main character and... swoony guys, of course! Plus I love fire powers :D
    And that cover is so beautiful! Can't wait to read this book, especially after your review! Loved the quotes! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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    1. I know how you feel! I almost died of happiness when I got my ARC, so I'm really happy to be able to share my love for this book with all of you. I'm glad that my review helped reaffirm your want of this amazing book!

      Good luck on the giveaway!

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  21. I've been looking forward to read this books for ages! I immediately fell in love with the summary and THAT COVERR!! <3
    I still haven't read it yet, but I hope to read it when it's released! Thank you so much for this giveaway!

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    1. There is so much to love when it comes to this book! As soon as you get your hands on it, you should read it immediately!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. I loved this book too! I really love the characters, and Magnus made me laugh so much. I think it's the way that magicians and sorcerers hone the music that is different. Sorcerers have a procedural approach while magicians are like the hippies of magic, they use their ~feelings and find and connect with the music in their own way. I love the magical use in this book, and some seriously crazy things happened in this book! I can't wait to read the next one. Great review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. I loved Magnus to begin with but I'm not sure how I feel about him now. I understand that it's a procedural thing but I don't know how someone would be able to look at a magician or a sorcerer and be able to say, say: "*gasp* YOU'RE NOT A SORCERER, YOU'RE A MAGICIAN!" It just doesn't seem like something you'd be able to physically see.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  23. Gorgeous review Brittany :D Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about this book. <3 So glad you enjoyed it :) Yay! But uuugh. Many boy choices? So not for me, haha :) But it do look so pretty.

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    1. Thank you! I think that the romantic aspects don't play a huge role in the story even though there are a lot of boy choices so maybe you'll still like it? Give it a chance and let me know ^_^

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