A Shadow Bright and Burning: Jessica Cluess *Review*

Paperback copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is being held up in the left hand of a Caucasian female, in front of a white bookshelf with polymer clay creatures on it.

Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Fantasy | Release Date: 30 October 2016 | Series: Kingdom on Fire | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 416 | Publisher: Random House Australia | Review

“When this generation of magicians dies, their magic will end in England forever.”

Jessica Cluess


I have a confession to make: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess has been waiting in my TBR fort for *years*. Do I feel a bit guilty over that? Absolutely. Does it mean I’ll stop buying books and just read what’s in the fort? Of course not! But this YA historical fantasy is such an enchanting and wonderful read, so make sure to put it on your own list if you haven’t read it yet!

Henrietta Howel has been trying to hide her magical powers from the world all of her life. But when she must use the flames to save a friend? Everything changes. Women aren’t meant to wield magic, but it seems like Henrietta is the first female sorcerer in ages. Whisked away to Victorian London to train with other sorcerers, everyone believes Henrietta will be the one to defeat the Ancients, the seven bloodthirsty demons who are wreaking havoc across the land. But some don’t want her to succeed. And others will betray her. Can Henrietta become Queen Victoria’s next royal sorcerer? What will become of her best friend Rook, with a darkness spreading across London? And what happens when Henrietta discovers she isn’t the chosen one?

Paperback of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is on a white bookshelf, surrounded by books by Lexi Ryan and Rae Else. An autumn polymer clay dragon by Dirty Paws Australia sits to the right of the book.
A Shadow Bright and Burning is such a phenomenal historical fantasy!
The autumn dragon by Dirty Paws Australia loved reading this adventure…

Happiness Boost:

Within A Shadow Bright and Burning, Jessica has created a number of quirky characters for us to love! All of the sorcerers have their own unique characteristics, but there’s even a hobgoblin to adore. For those who’ve read this YA fantasy, did you almost get teary about the onion scene? Because I sure did!

Let’s talk about tropes, shall we? Specifically the master/apprentice dynamic, because I’ve been missing this for a long time! Maybe I need to read more… But Henrietta’s secretive apprenticeship with the magician Hargrove is such a delight to read. Hargrove is an entertaining and witty character, and I kept chuckling to myself whenever he graced a page. I don’t know why exactly, but I was reminded of Belgarath, from David Eddings’ Belgariad series. And yes, that’s a huge positive!

Historical fantasy, or gaslamp fantasy, is a beautiful and enchanting genre when it’s done right. And A Shadow Bright and Burning delivers everything I could wish for in a tale of magic within Victorian London! Not to mention, this industrial age really speaks to the darkness of the Ancients, and their stranglehold over various areas. This really is a gem of a read, and I was so sad to get to the end of this book!


I have no downside with this YA fantasy, it’s been amazing from beginning to end!

Final Thoughts:

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is an enchanting YA historical fantasy, full of magic and terror within Victorian London. This story’s plot will keep you glued to the pages in suspense, even as you laugh over the antics of certain characters. If you love the sound of this story from my review? Just click on any of the links below to order a copy! Happy reading, glitterbugs!

You can order A Shadow Bright and Burning via these links:

Amazon | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Fishpond

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