A Shadow Bright and Burning

Kingdom on Fire, Book 1
Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
Series: Kingdom on Fire, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (374 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Vivid characters, terrifying monsters, and world building as deep and dark as the ocean." (Victoria Aveyard, number one New York Times best-selling author of Red Queen

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? 

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess' spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettable heroine and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. For fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.  

"The magic! The intrigue! The guys! We were sucked into this monster-ridden, alternative England from page one. Henrietta is literally a 'girl on fire' and this team of sorcerers training for battle had a pinch of Potter blended with a drop of [Cassandra Clare's] Infernal Devices." (Justine Magazine)

"Cluess gamely turns the chosen-one trope upside down in this smashing dark fantasy." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"Unputdownable. I loved the monsters, the magic, and the teen warriors who are their world's best hope! Jessica Cluess is an awesome storyteller!" (Tamora Pierce, number one New York Times best-selling author)

"A fun, inventive fantasy. I totally have a book crush on Rook." (Sarah Rees Brennan, New York Times best-selling author)

"Pure enchantment. I love how Cluess turned the 'chosen one' archetype on its head. With the emotional intensity of my favorite fantasy books, this is the kind of story that makes you forget yourself." (Roshani Chokshi, New York Times best-selling author of The Star-Touched Queen)

"A glorious, fast-paced romp of an adventure. Jessica Cluess has built her story out of my favorite ingredients: sorcery, demons, romance, and danger." (Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters)

©2016 Jessica Cluess (P)2016 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Henrietta is pragmatic and bitingly funny, and she more than holds her own in a man's world. Cluess gamely turns the chosen-one trope upside down in this smashing dark fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about A Shadow Bright and Burning

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

perfect for this time of year

This book is a perfect mix of magic, mystery, friendship (just thinking about what Rook and Henrietta have gives me all the warm feels) and creepiness (I say this as someone who absolutely can't handle horror so some people probably won't find this all that creepy but there was one sentence that really creeped me out, just thinking about the words and the way the narrator said them gives me chills). If people are looking for romance they really aren't gonna find any here, I mean there is kind of romance but also not, it can easily be dismissed and I liked it like that. I liked the fact that in my opinion it was all about friendship, the friendship between Rook and Henrietta but also the friendship between Henrietta and the other sorcerers. I did have some problems with Henrietta, but nobody is perfect. Overall I really liked it and recommend it to everyone!

8 people found this helpful

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Definitely has potential...

Any additional comments?

I liked the overall concept of this story although sometimes the characters annoyed me. I think I like one of them and then they go and do something stupid and have to redeem themselves. It was really up and down throughout the entire book but I think it has a lot of potential to become a great series.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Meh. Pride and prejudice meets Harry Potter? Not really

The story started off great. But it ended up dragging. I actually skipped through the last 1.5. The story has promise, and might come together next book. But I hate when a mystery drags on too long. The relationships didn't develop enough and romance some what flat. I'm shocked I'm not really giving it a good review. Because I love Fiona Hardingham. I could try to rethink k this book. It just seemed like they had a great idea but then met writers block and we had to sit through it too.

4 people found this helpful

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I love this story

I am never disappointed by this narrator she is wonderful. Thank you audible for this lovely addition

1 person found this helpful

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So glad I found this book!

I looked for a new book for months and just stumbled across this one and hands down is now a top favorite. I’ve always love the whole magic scene like Harry Potter and such and this one created a strong female character whose not so washed up in a love story that it ruins the action and heroism! This felt like a compilation of all my favorite bits and pieces from large iconic movies such as Harry Potter magic, hunger games action, and a little pride and prejudice character development. Can not wait to listen the second book, will be dying for the third!

1 person found this helpful

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A surprisingly refreshing read

The Victorian England backdrop and the interesting dynamics of the sorcerer/magician/witch hierarchy made this book feel very different and new compared to other YA books out there. I loved it and am immediately going to read the sequel.

1 person found this helpful

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enjoyable listen for those who love magic

A very interesting story - a nice new creative take on magic. The narrator was good - did a great job with the characters. If you like Victorian England with magic, this is the story for you. My only negative is the series isn't complete so you have to wait for the books to be released.

1 person found this helpful

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A Mysterious and Magical Novel

Where does A Shadow Bright and Burning rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

A Shadow Bright and Burning ranks in the definite Top, 5-star ratings.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was, after Henrietta Howel of course, Magnus. I thought he'd be the one to betray her, but he was so darned likable and funny.

What does Fiona Hardingham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Other than her lovely accent, she brought the characters to life. She didn't just read the story, she gave each character personality and realism. Not many readers do that.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I absolutely could have listened to this novel in one sitting. Sadly, I am a homeschool teacher and housewife, so I listen when I'm doing chores, or in between lessons.

Any additional comments?

Cluess wrote with a sort of webbing, where I saw nothing coming. What I thought was to happen didn't, but something greater occurred that blew me away. She wrote with a descriptive style that was truly Victorian and English and fabulous. I don't know anyone who could pick this book up and not find themselves captivated. A Shadow Bright and Burning is also book one of the Kingdom of Fire series. Book two, A Poison Dark and Drowning released September of this year. I'll be sure to read that one as well and share

1 person found this helpful

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Don't listen to negative reviews

After reading several negative reviews about how this book was boring, hard to get through, or predictable, I almost did not use a credit on it. I am really glad I did.

First off, the performance of the narrator was incredible. Her voices were quite good, and her accents were nice to listen to. She was great witn dramatic pauses and voices, and added plenty of emotion to different characters. I am going to find other books she has narrated, because she seems really talented.

The story was really interesting. I found that I didn't know who to trust or distrust, and I was surprised by the final twists. I didn't necessarily find this book to be predictable. I didn't guess some of the twists and turns, but, then again, I'm not a picky reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the character developments throughout the book, especially that of Lord Blackwood. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book, how it is almost like an alternate reality where magic exists. The setting was enjoyable, and so was the dialogue. I found myself amused at multiple points throughout the book.

Overall, a really good listen. Definitely worth the credit, and I will be buying the next two books.

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Story is ok. The performance...UHG!!

Story was ok. Not to give much away but I’ll say a bit predictable. The performance was painful. Sometimes she sounded like an automation, sometimes British and every so often I thought of French. I think I need to read the book for myself to see if it was actually written in the weird, choppy way it was read. So many pauses and the main character always sounded exhausted. I almost didn’t finish the book. Would I recommend? Not so much.