A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess


A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Random House: September 20, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad.

A Shadow Bright and Burning is a YA historical fantasy novel and while entertaining, I didn’t think that Bright and Burning offered readers anything new. We’ve got some romance and some personal turmoil being the chosen one. Both of which many will recognize if anyone’s pictured up a fantastical YA read at some point in the recent past.

Miss Henrietta Howell is a young lady with a secret. Henrietta can control and create fire, something that she is struggling to conceal. After all there are no lady sorcerers anymore, not since the last one started a war. Naturally, Henrietta is discovered. Instead of punishment, Henrietta is thought to be the chosen one, prophesied to end the war with Ancients. While not everyone is convinced, Henrietta is taken to London to study, learning things about herself, her past, and those closest to her. (more…)

Magic, War, and Survival in ‘The Red Magician’

redmagicianThe Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein
Open Road Media: October 21st, 2014 (first published 1982) (Fantasy)*

My rating: I’d go there again vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

The Red Magician is a story about Kicsi, a young girl living in a remote village in Eastern Europe during the 1940s. Kicsi believes in magic: in the rabbi’s ability to perform miracles and to curse people, and in the wondrous tricks of an enigmatic traveler, Vörös. Kicsi yearns for adventure, but first she finds horror and trauma. There are three parts to this novel – Kicsi’s life in the village and the conflict between her traveler friend and the rabbi; the advent of the Holocaust and its impact on Kicsi and her village, including Kicsi’s transportation to and imprisonment in a concentration camp; and the return journey Vörös and Kicsi make to confront the rabbi, who has conflated his enemies into Voros.

The whole explores the journey of a young girl from childhood to adulthood, which challenges the child’s belief in magic. It’s about the effects of trauma, the destructive power of fear, grief, and hate, and the redeeming power of love and compassion. It’s about survival.