A Shadow Bright and Burning, Jessica Cluess

Publication date: September 20, 2016
Price- paper or e-book $10.99

This is the first book by Jessica Cluess and happy to say I was not disappointed. Most first time published authors have an issue with over-indulging in back story, but not Ms. Cluess. Her writing was that of an accomplished author who has written dozens of books.

A Shadow Bright and Burning takes place in an alternate historical England, where magic and monsters exist. The main character, Miss Henrietta Howell, is a younger female orphan whom takes responsibility for those younger than she and those who are worse off economically than herself; unique in her ability to create fire, but unable to control it, she, with the help of her friend, Rook, an outcast, look out for each other.

Interwoven into the story is a prophecy about a special ‘girl-child’ who rises to fight the seven evils so England can be set free. The story unfolds once Henrietta’s gift is discovered by a Sorcerer and taken to a school which teaches other young sorcerer’s how to control and use their powers to fight the evil forces which roam the Earth.  Well, that’s an awful lot for a young girl of 16 to take on, but Cluess weaves a believable tale of doubt and courage with-in this girl; a character young females readers of this book to look up to, which I applaud.

It’s at this school that mysteries and secrets are uncovered and the truth of her parentage discovered. Cluess has created an action packed story that could be considered a blending of Harry Potter and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, which equals a thoroughly entertaining book geared toward tween and teen females–not that a boy may not like this, but this is definitely girl-empowered!

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