A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Book Review)

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Publisher: Random House
Page Count
: 407

The first time I set eyes upon the cover of this book, I fell in love. It’s beautiful and dark and the premise sounded oh so promising too! Even when I started, the first two chapters were just magnificent. I instantly felt drawn to this curious Fantasy-version of Victorian England and the many monsters that inhabited it. I am not going to lie, the monsters were probably my favourite part about the whole book. I can’t even explain what it is about them, because I don’t fully understand them yet, which just makes them all the better.

The world building was just fantastic. I got a bit confused when they tried to tell me the difference between witches, magicians and sorcerers, because well, magic is not just magic. Sorcerers get staves and that is a really personal thing, as you are bound to your stave forever. Your life literally depends on the fact that nothing happens to a stick. It was really funny, because you have to name it and Henrietta, the main character, just chose a hilarious one for hers (which I won’t say because of spoilers, but it’s a good one!).

However, my enthusiasm for the story got a little lower as I continued reading. It was still written in a way that was nice and easy to go through. Sometimes it was even hilariously written, for example when Henrietta aggressively drank tea or aggressively petted a horse in order for her to not burst into flames. There is an abundance of potential love interests (because, yes, there definitely is such a thing as too many love interest) though and something about the whole story feels a little … how shall I put it? Familiar? Predictable? It would be a vast exaggeration to say I could have predicted EVERY twist and turn, but the over-all arc did feel like something I already knew from somewhere else.

It did have some great takes on topics such as the rich/poor-divide and gender equality, which I really appreciated. But lastly, I just want to say that I think there is a lot of room for growth in the books to come. Since this is only the first installment in the series, I am looking forward to the next books. I am loving this world already, even if I had a couple of issues with it, I just want to know what happens next.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! I liked it, but I just didn’t love it I am afraid.

3stars

Do you think you would enjoy this book? Have you heard of it?

R.I.P. it or Ship it! Book Tag

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Analee @Book Snacks is one of the best people out there and tagged me for the R.I.P. it or Ship it! Book Tag. You should go and check out her original post, because some of the couples were hilarious and others very wrong or perfect for each other. Basically you just choose some random characters, draw their names from a hat or jar or whatever you want to use to draw the names from and see if they would work as a couple. I loved the idea of this!!! The execution however was a lot different …

THIS GAME FELT RIGGED OR CURSED! I admittedly chose very, very random people that didn’t truly fit together from the beginning. I barely put any actual couples in there, I didn’t stick with one genre either and just tried to see what would come from it doing it this way. The first time around that I drew the names, it was disaster! I then thought I’d just do it again, but lo and behold, the worst couples WERE DRAWN TOGETHER AGAIN! It must be fate … horrible, terrible, unkind fate! However, without further ado, here are the results:

round1

Okay, so … this wasn’t a definite “no” at first. Theo is very smart and so is Mori. They’d probably enjoy some flirting with each other, but on the long run this could never ever work. Theo is openly charming, yet flimsy and likes to party and joke. And Mori can hold a grudge forever. She is strong, secretive and closed off. They are opposties that might attract for a little while, especially due to their shared intellect, but as I said, I can’t see a real future for them.

round2

Just nope! Julia is getting farther and farther away from her humanity in her quest for magic, but Maxon needs someone kind-hearted and real. This is such a big nope!

round3

What are the chances? I kind of dig them as a couple though. I honestly never even thought of it before, but when I read the two names next to each other, I laughed and thought “Why not?”. They probably work better as friends, but whatever!

round4

How is this supposed to work??? I can’t even picture it. Like the image won’t manifest in my head because it just doesn’t seem possible. Two worlds that would never collide! And I can say that even though Marguerite can jump through dimensions and every single world could be possible in those. That’s how little I believe in this.

round5

Ha! I LOVE IT! I am sure people will fight me on this, but it totally works for me. I love Sevro to bits, he is without a doubt my favourite character from the series and only deserves the best! And Izzy, she sure as heck can handle him! Sevro needs a tough girl and Izzy someone funny to play off. I guess Sev can be a bit gross, though I have no doubt that Izzy will teach him manners and he will hang on every word that leaves her lips.

round6

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Just no, no, no! I was like ABORT THIS MISSION! But that is one of the couples that just kept getting drawn together. Like WTF? I can’t ship them, even associating the names together feels like torture. I was always weirdly fond of Sebastian, so I don’t hate him, but I do hate him together with Cath. Maybe he would have fit together with twisted Mori, but not sweet and shy Cath! NEVER!!!

round7

In a weird way I see this work. Lily and Lola are both very stubborn people and when they set their mind on something that’s it! They are determined to stick with it, even if it’s a dumb decision. Also, I can totally see Lola making up for Lily’s lack of creativity and them creating a beautiful necklace for Lily’s willstones together!

round8

I don’t even have words for this. I love Emily and I love Alec but … those are worlds that weren’t supposed to collide. Alec Baewood and Emily would never be happy with each other in a million years.

round9

Hear me out before you judge me! I don’t think Magnus and Celia would really work all that great as a couple, BUT I could see this becoming an epic friendship. Celia is kind of like Tessa is some ways, at least I think so, and I can therefore see a lasting relationship. Also, she’s like a magician, so that’s similar to being a warlock … sort of … not really, but whatever! I WANT THEM TO BE FRIENDS!

round10

Whiny Quentin and badass Mustang? HELL NO! She would crush the poor sob and feed him to the fishes!


 

I TAG

EVERYONE! This tag has been swirling around for a bit now, so I have lost sight of who has done it and who hasn’t. If you think this might be fun, then go ahead and just link back here! (Maybe just think about the names you use more carefully than I did …)

The Book Love Tag

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We are getting closer and closer to Valentine’s Day, so I thought it was about time that I did the Book Love Tag that Anette @Anette Reads created and tagged me for! It has some tough questions in there, but I am excited to spread some bookish love!

Your favorite book couple.

I have an undying love for MALEC and even though I don’t need to write it in capital letters all the time, I do. Because I am just that excited whenever I think about them! Yet the thing is, I am not sure they are my OTP … I have so many OTPs, but because they are currently on my mind, Alec and Magnus from the Mortal Instruments are the answer for this one.

Your top 3 book boy/girlfriends.

Hmm … another tough one … those are the most recent additions to my bookish harem I guess.

  • Darrow (Red Rising) – If I still need to explain this, I have not done my fangirling right.
  • Mark Watney (The Martian) – He is one of my all time favourite characters. Maybe a tad too old right now, but whatever.
  • Wil (The Shannara Chronicles) – I still need to read the book, but from his TV show version I’d say I’ll like him … a lot.

Imagine your favorite book couple. Who would propose, and how? (If there’s already been a proposal: who would be more into organizing the wedding?)

But … if I tell you here if they get married or not then that will be a Spoiler … or does everyone already know? Either way, if it were about the organizing, Magnus would so be in charge! He throws the best parties already, so he’d surely do a great job with his own wedding.

Unpopular opinions time! Name a popular pairing you can’t stand.

FourTris? I don’t even know …  I really liked them in the beginning but by the time Allegiant rolled around, those two did not work for me anymore. Sorry?

What’s your favorite and least favorite romance trope?

Favorite: Pretend relationships that turn into something real! I love, love, love that sort of stuff!

Least Favorite: Insta-love – just no! I want to see the “falling in love”-part, the development of feelings. THAT IS THE BEST BIT OF THE STORY!

Do you ship non-canon couples often? Name some if you do.

I can’t say Zach and Maggie from Saving Hope or Gabby and Severide from Chicago Fire, right? Barely anyone even knows who they are … and they’re not from a book.

Hmmm … Quentin and Eliot from the Magicians trilogy works though!!! Eliot was always into Q, I am sure of that … maybe if Q had been into men, he’d have had a much easier life. I doubt it, but who knows, right?

Your opinion on love triangles. Go!

I actually like them. If they are done poorly it’s a shame and if it’s more of a love hectagon, it’s silly too. But a well done love triangle, I can totally roll with that.

Favorite and least favorite love triangle?

Favorite: Tessa-Will-Jem! Always and forever those three. I swear I’ve never seen a love triangle handled better than in the Infernal Devices.

Least Favorite: Peeta-Katniss-Gale! This simply wasn’t a love triangle. In the book Gale never stood a chance. There was NO Team Gale!

Sometimes romance just isn’t the way to go. Favorite friendship?

Again, Jem and Will from the Infernal Devices have the best bromance. What am I saying? Their relationship transcends bromance. There is no mallice or envy between them, just unconditional and eternal love, respect and trust. They are some of the best characters out there.

What’s your favorite scene with your bookish OTP?

There are so many and my memory is the WORST when it comes to details. But here’s a little snippet from City of Heavenly Fire.

“Magnus raised his head and looked up and over at Alec; it was a look that made Clary flush and glance away. There was so much love in it, mixed with exasperation and pride and despair. It was an unguarded look, and it felt wrong to see it.”

Then there was this other scene where they portaled themselves to go to the opera in Vienna and since that’s where I live, I sort of cherished that moment, however short it was.

Imagine your favorite book couple again. Who’s most excited about Valentine’s Day (either ironically or genuinely)?

Alec ironically and Magnus genuinely or maybe Alec would genuinely be excited because it is with Magnus. He’s difficult to read on this sometimes.


 

Now, I Tag:

*Feel free to ignore the tag if you don’t want to do it!*