A Shadow Bright and Burning – Jessica Cluess

a-shadow-bright-and-burningSet in an alternate Victorian England ravaged by Ancients, Henrietta is now a teacher at a charity boarding school where she was abandoned years before.  Around the time she was born, witches opened the portals to allow the Ancients to terrorize citizens with all manner of horror and death.  Sorcerers killed all known witches as punishment.  A sorcerer comes to the school seeking a rumored fire witch.  It’s Henrietta, who can create fires and fireballs at will, especially when upset, that they seek.  She is discovered and certain she will be killed but the sorcerer takes her into his home in London to train with his other protégés in the fight against the Ancients.

The familiar theme of the promised one saving humanity from evil unleashed upon the world is told once again.  I got the sense that bits and pieces of the story were taken from other stories I have read so that the book as a whole felt overly familiar.  Sorcerers = men = good.  Witches = mostly women = bad.  Henrietta is grudgingly accepted by some because of her powers to battle the Ancients but she is shunned by others.  All the while, she secretly knows she is not the promised one.  Tinged with romance and the mystery of Rook, teens new to the genre should enjoy the action, characters and story.

eGalley review                                         Publication date 9.20.16

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