DNF Series Review: Kingdom on Fire by Jessica Cluess

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 10: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:


Synopsis for A Shadow Bright and Burning (from Goodreads):

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’s spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.


Series: Kingdoms on Fire
Author: Jessica Cluess
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: September 2016 – October 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


**Disclaimer: I stopped reading A Shadow Bright and Burning at 26% (start of Chapter 7) and have opted not to pick up the sequels. Find out why below…**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I won’t lie: I picked this series because the covers are gorgeous. I’m hit or miss with magic based series because I struggle with the logic of it all. But this sounded promising so I added it to my 2019 5 Year 5 Book Challenge.

What I Liked:

–Gender Magic–

I liked the idea that men use one type of magic and women use another. It’s a cool spin on the typical magic I’ve come across in fantasy novels lately (which is usually elemental).

What I Didn’t Like:

–World Building–

This left something to be desired because most of what I knew about the world was from the synopsis beforehand. While it gets mentioned in the book, I felt like Henri was almost scatterbrained while she explained the hierarchies so I got a little lost.

–Lack of Spark–

Henri is a bit of a Special Snowflake Mary Sue. She was a little dull to read about. Didn’t help that every man she meets is in love with her (and she is completely oblivious).

I had hoped that there would be some good banter between Henri and the troop of boys she meets but the dialogue all felt a touch forced for me.

My Audiobook Experience:

I liked the accent and it was an enjoyable listen.

Will I Finish the Series?:

No. I feel like I’ve read this before…

Series Rating: DNF

A Shadow Bright and Burning DNF | A Poison Dark and Drowning N/A | A Sorrow Fierce and Falling N/A


Honestly, everyone just blended together and it couldn’t hold my attention.

Read if You Like: magic, slower starts
Avoid if You: Mary Sue characters



Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email


Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from SERIESous Book Reviews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading