Blog Tour- Review of A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

33629245A Poison Dark and Drowning
By: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House

There are spoilers for A Shadow Bright and Burning in this review.

Summary:
The magicians want her to lead. The sorcerers want her to lie. The demons want her blood. Henrietta wants to save the one she loves. But will his dark magic be her undoing?

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own.

So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series but this one was even better! It had more action, a thickening plot and I really loved most of the character interactions. I feel that Henrietta is really coming into her own more and more and her interactions with Blackwood are some of my very favorite scenes.

The ability Cluess has to write her actions scenes is really remarkable. I was completely enthralled and they are all so easy to visualize as you read. These books really need to be a movie or TV series. The descriptions I see saying this is a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter actually fit to me- how often does that actually happen?

There is only one tiny complaint I had with this book and that’s Henrietta’s relationship with her childhood friend, Rook. For some reason I just can’t feel the chemistry between these two and I just don’t see any spark. I think it’s because I’m so heavily shipping her with another character. Rook just seems like a hollow character and I feel that as the series progresses his personality declines- perhaps that is the point? I really did love him at the start of the first book but more and more I don’t care about his outcome.

I really felt that the writing was even stronger in this sequel than the first and there are some really dark moments that I just loved. Things felt really tense and I didn’t know what to expect exactly. I am looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the third book.

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Blog Tour- A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

ashadowbrightandburningA Shadow Bright and Burning
By: Jessica Cluess
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Random House
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?

My Thoughts:
I fell in love at first sight with this book’s cover and the title. When I heard this was a fantasy book I knew it was for me. What I didn’t expect was the Jane Austen parallels throughout the novel as well as how fun a book this was.

I expected this to be more of a run-of-the mill fantasy with magic, a fantastical land etc. Ok, yes, had I read the summary I’d have seen that it takes place in LONDON and not a completely made up world. I loved that the setting ended up being Victorian London with dashes of magic and some really evil bad guys lurking around.

I felt this novel was fast paced and kept my interest from start to finish. I found the characters to be likeable and Henrietta was a wonderful main character to follow and learn the world with. She also so happens to be a rarity in that she is the lone female capable of magic. Once her abilities are recognized she’s whisked off to a school for magic and the story really gets going.

Henrietta refuses to go to the magical school unless her childhood friend, Rook, was allowed to go with them. These two characters have a history with one another and Rook’s character was very interesting. He had always been looked down upon and really isolated because of an event that happened when he was a child. I was mesmerized with the details surrounding him and this event.

Who doesn’t love the setting to have a magical school? Her Majesty’s Sorcerers are a small group and, of course, since Henrietta was the only female student she ran into trouble with not being accepted and feeling she’s not capable. I enjoyed reading about her own struggles with coming to terms with her power and the idea that she could be prophesied. Can you imagine the stress and pressure if you were prophesized to save everyone and yet you didn’t really feel you were the right person for the role?

Through Henrietta we meet the other sorcerers and each vary from one another and treat her differently. I wasn’t sure who she should trust or not though I had my suspicions fairly early on. One character in particular really mirrors Austen’s Darcy. I think you’ll know him easily and honestly I wish that the author would have made him a bit more varied from that classical character. I felt that because he so closely resembled Darcy I had trouble taking him for his own character. Regardless, even though I got strong Darcy vibes (or maybe because of it) I couldn’t help but love him.

You would think that one gal being surrounded by all these sorcerers and her male best friend from home there would be a lot of romance in this book but there wasn’t. There are a few hints here and there but really I was surprised by how little presented itself. I’m not entirely sure where things will go in the next book but I’m excited to see (and I have someone I’m rooting for her to end up with).

You can’t have a fantasy without the bad guys and the Ancients were really original and packed a punch. I truly didn’t know what to expect of them or their impact so this upped the tension and my worry for the characters.

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed A Shadow Bright and Burning. I felt it was a strong beginning to a new series and I’m really excited to see where things go. This novel successfully played on some typical fantasy tropes but it felt fun and original.