Monday, 22 May 2017

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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?

-- description --

I read this book last year, and I had most of this review written back then but I forgot to post it. Since I now have the opportunity to read the sequel from Netgalley, I decided to post this review after all. I quite enjoyed A Shadow Bright and Burning, however I do have some remarks.

Things I liked:

I definitely need to mention the stunning cover! It's one of my favourite young adult covers of last year!

I really enjoyed how quick this book read, if I had the time I would have finished it in a day!

I thought the monsters in this book were original and quite fun to read about! R'hlem was my favourite!

My absolute favourite character, though, was Fenswick, I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just say I hope to see more of him in the next books!

Things I didn't like: 

First of all, there is nothing innovating about this book. In fact, I would say it draws too heavily on other books (like The Mortal Instruments) to be anything new. In other words, A Shadow Bright and Burning feels like a mix of different books instead of an original story. You can even find Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in there, as Blackwood can be compared to Mr. Darcy quite well. Blackwood has a lovely younger sister, called Elizabeth, and he even mentions he does not have a talent to talk to people his own age. Strangely, though, this character based on Mr. Darcy, is not a real love interest for the main character (I suspect it he will in the second book, though).

Magnus on the other, is more difficult to pin down, but you wish, you could say he is Wickham in some ways. Because of this, I feel that the male characters are not in any way original. Henrietta, on the other hand, I could never compare to Elizabeth Bennet. Needless to say, I did not get attached to any of these characters as they heavily resemble characters from other books and barely get any character development at all.

Another thing I would like to mention is the lack of world building. This is a weakness is lots of other young adult novels which can annoy me to no end.
Furthermore, I thought the writing was very simplistic but this may be improved in the sequel.

All in all, I gave this book 3 stars! If I didn't read so many young adult books, I probably would have enjoyed it much more, but now it just felt flat and generic to me.

Have you read this book or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

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