Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (DNF/5)

23203252YA Fiction, Fantasy


I tried hard to like the book between the beautiful covers, but it failed. The blurb on the front claims that A Shadow Bright and Burning has “vivid characters, terrifying monsters, and world building as deep and dark as the ocean.”

I disagree with that entire statement. The characters were boring, stuffy, and thrust into my face all at once without any personality; the monsters were bland and felt more like something ripped off of H. P. Lovecraft (not a compliment); and the world building didn’t exist.

The writing was AWFUL. I mean, boring, useless, and repetitive. Cluess does that thing where something will be said in dialog, and then she will reinforce it in narration. The characters felt about as deep as a teaspoon with emotions that flash from laughter to pouting with a few lines. The writing did not hold my attention – not because it didn’t move, but it moved in such a wonky, confusing way – the dialog was pointless, the plot weak and watery, and the character dull and lifeless.

This book had potential – a lot of potential. But it just fell flat. It has the magic of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but it had the passive narration of Austen. It kept trying to do this whimsical act, but it was just BLEH. This just goes to show – don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

So, for all those reason, I put this book down. It felt like someone was trying to write The Sound of Music in the world of Harry Potter, and it did not work.

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