Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
When I first opened up my January YA Chronicles box and discovered A Shadow Bright and Burning inside I was excited. A book, set in Victorian England, with magic and by the sounds of it several love interests? It sounded exactly like the sort of novel I was going to enjoy immensely.
Having now finished the book, I can tell you that it felt more like a guilty pleasure read to me. Like I liked it but I feel like I shouldn’t have.
There were so many things in it that had me comparing it to several other novels I had read. Throughout the novel I felt some serious Infernal Devices, Harry Potter and even some Pride and Prejudice vibes. However, this didn’t make me enjoy the novel any less. In fact, I found the book to be a real page turner. I found myself wanting to know more about these characters, I wanting to know more about this alternative London universe and wanting to know more about the witches, magicians and sorcerers hierarchy. Unfortunately, none of these wants to satiated by the end of the novel – probably because the overall length was too short to fully encapsulate the world the story is set in.
I also found the fact Henrietta had several love interests to be a little problematic. She has three guys all which seem to dote on her, and who fight for her despite the fact she seems to have done very little to earn their affection and respect (with one exception). And the one exception is kind of boring. He’s like a little kid for half the book who has been tucked into a corner for being naughty – and despite this Nettie still seems to like him and wants to defend him immensely. In this instance – he seems to have done very little to earn her affection and quite often it seemed to me that Rook was like a little chick and she was a mother hen trying to protect him.
I think more background into their relationship may have helped me better understand why she admired him so much. Unfortunately, most of the story focuses on Nettie learning how to control her powers and her getting acquainted with Lord Blackwood and Magnus.
With all that said one might ask why I even enjoyed this book. There are a few reasons.
I liked Magnus – his flirtations were amusing. I also liked brooding Lord Blackwood – who kind reminds me of Mr Darcy. I also thought the whole sorcery/magicians thing was really interesting. I also liked Nettie and how hot-headed she was. It was also a really easy book to devour, I had too many questions that needed answering for me to ever really grow bored with it.
If you’re looking for a quick, easy to read to satiate your need for more fantasy then I highly encourage you to pick up this book.
I’m rating this novel 3/5 stars.