Kingdom on Fire #1
Available September 20th
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power 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 chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, 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 that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
A Shadow Bright and Burning is a deeply satisfying start to this series, giving us a world full of monstrous beings and a rag tag group of young people doing everything in their power–magical and otherwise–to defeat them.
Henrietta's story is a triumphant rags to riches one in the beginning, her time at a miserable and abusive home for girls coming to an end in a literal blaze of glory before she's whisked off to train among the elite in sorcery as the Chosen One. It's not long however before we learn she's not in fact the Chosen One (though of course if you read the synopsis you'd know that already), but is instead something that could see her head removed from her shoulders on the Queen's orders. While the fact that she keeps the secret of who and what she is from those around her is a source of stress, as all life-changing secrets tend to be, it's more than understandable as to why she does so.
Though the synopsis suggests the existence of a love triangle or possibly even a square, no such romantic geometrical shape truly exists, and the fact that she's surrounded by young men is not due to her sparkling personality or good looks (though she does have a sharp wit and a highly enjoyable sense of humor) but rather to the fact that sorcerers are almost always men. There are two strong candidates for a relationship, but the romance overall is a background element (and Henrietta is not the type of girl to spend her days tripping all over herself in the presence of cute boys), Henrietta's training, the increasing attacks of the Ancients, and a dark conspiracy within the ranks of the sorcerers themselves all taking precedence.
The world itself is an intriguing one, enough background on the Ancients and how they came to be provided so that we can easily orient ourselves, but it's also a vast enough tapestry that we've clearly only scratched the surface in this first installment. We're left with a solid conclusion and no cliffhanger, an epic battle waged and won but a greater war on the horizon as we look forward to book two.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.