Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning (2016)
Author: Jessica Cluess
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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?
Read the first lines…
Master Agrippa stood at the crest of the hill, cape billowing in the breeze, his sorcerer’s stave held out before him. He jerked his head, ordering us to move.
“You came back! How did you know?” I gasped as we staggered up the hill. I wanted to fall at his feet in relief. Behind us rode Familiars, humans transformed into monstrous servants of the Seven Ancients.
Agrippa nodded toward the horizon. The dark clouds boiled in the air. “This is no ordinary storm. Get to the school. Now.”
The riders were regrouping around the eyeless girl, it seemed she was their leader. They rode black stags with thick, gnarled antlers and glowing red eyes. One stag opened its mouth in a hideous cry. Its teeth were jagged, designed for tearing flesh. The riders wore hooded, mistlike cloaks that whispered about their bodies, stinking of the grave.