“I am Henrietta Howel.

The first female sorcerer in ages.

The prophesied one.

Or am I?”

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is a cool new twist on the chosen one story.

Henrietta can burst into flames. Forced to reveal her powers 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 girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorising humanity. Her fellow trainees are 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 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?

Usually I don’t like Victorian settings for my reads, something about society being too proper and women being too demure and I just get bored. But A Shadow Bright and Burning never dragged. There were never any slow parts or mindless era-dropping paragraphs setting a scene with Victorian imagery/routine/etc. Every chapter felt important and no character too polite. It was still the Victorian era but it just felt modern and refreshing. The writing style was simple which I liked and made the story easy to read and hard to put down.

All the characters were interesting and I loved learning about them. The boys training with Henrietta brought in new, different dynamics to the story and added vast amounts of personality.
Henrietta is an amazing strong lead in a world were women are looked down upon and she always manages to pick herself up and defend others which is something I greatly admire.

The action was amazing, I could just dive into it and play it out like a movie.
One of my favorite parts was learning how the magic worked and about the witches, magicians and sorcerers who all had magic but in different ways.

The storyline was intricate with many things woven together that ended beautifully and surprisingly. A Shadow Bright and Burning sets up well for a second book and I hope it does not disappoint.

A Shadow Bright and Burning is YA novel that stands for equality, inner strength and embracing your insecurities. Which I give a well deserved 5 stars.