“I’m sure she can outread the best of us, but that’s not the point. She’s not good.” Trust Fenswick to be blunt.
“No,” Agrippa whispered. My corset pinched me. I couldn’t breathe. He sat down at the table. “I don’t know why this is happening. After Korozoth, I was so certain.”
“Were you overhasty?” Fenswick sounded gentle. “Perhaps she’s not the one you need after all.”
I didn’t wait to hear the reply. In my hurry to get away, I stumbled against the door, pushing it open. Agrippa caught my eye and called my name as I fled.
Porridge in hand, I threw open the training room doors and faced my reflection in the black glass walls. I would perform the maneuver for fire right now, and perfectly. Lighting my hand, I swirled the flame into the air, where it formed a floating orb. Good. Now to transform it into a vortex.
I swung and spun myself around the room, getting every movement and gesture exact. But I couldn’t make the fire transform, even a little. I hacked away at the air until my arms tired and I broke into a sweat, cursing under my breath. I caught sight of myself in the glass. I didn’t look like a sorcerer. With my hair coming undone, I looked like a madwoman.
Cursing, I threw Porridge into the air and the fire exploded. Embers and ashes rained to the floor.
There was a knock. Agrippa entered, a sad expression on his face. I couldn’t bear the sight of it.
“I’m sorry I’ve disgraced you,” I whispered. “I didn’t mean to fail in front of Master Palehook.”
“You have nothing to apologize for.” His voice was warm with anger, but not at me. “Palehook should never have said such things.”
“He wants the prophecy to be realized. He must believe we’ve made a mistake.” And we have made a mistake, I thought. Haven’t we?
Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Pub Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Random House for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook
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?
Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.
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