Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian


I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 

A Shadow Bright and Burning - Jessica Cluess

Ok, where to go with this review?? On one hand, the world building was rich and definitely unique. On the other hand, there were the characters...what a mixed bag. I enjoyed most of the characters. I even loathed and rankled in all of the appropriate places... BUT... I never fully fell in line with, or even truly liked, the MC which usually throws up HUGE warning signs for me. Henrietta wasn't dynamic or expressive (unless you accept self-hatred as a primary emotion to base a character on). She never demanded my loyalty, admiration or zeal and her powers seemed easily obtained- with few obstacles and a pittance of growing pains to boot. YES she read a lot on the subject BUT when she sought unorthodox outside help it just... worked... it dawned on her with no great effort and that is another BIG annoyance for me...it's like a relentless buzzing sound while I'm trying to concentrate type of annoyance. The betrayals were poignant but swayed and seesawed at the slightest of urgings. A character could flip on her and then back again with such ease it seemed implausible. She gained unbelievable alliances, especially ones who went to unrealistically extraordinary lengths to support her in the end. Ok, onto the monsters. They were the right amount of scary vs realistic (if such a thing could be possible in a Fantasy novel). I don't read many horror stories so take that last statement with a grain of salt, keeping in mind that I have been known to put down a book if there is too much gratuitous gore or rape or child harming. Thankfully ASBAB did not have much of the first, none of the second and gently alluded to the third. Even with the faux pas I listed (and some that I have the nagging suspicion I have forgotten) the book moved along swiftly with very few lagging spots. My attention did not waver and buzzing annoyances aside, this was a fun read. I will probably move on to book #2 but I feel compelled to say that ultimately, it did not live up to the great potential the synopsis intimated.