Written by Jessica Cluess, A Poison Dark and Drowning is the second book in the Kingdom of Fire series and picks up with Jess, the magician/sorcerer mix, as a full fledged sorcerer living with Blackmoore, her now benefactor. The ward is down, and they must figure out how to destroy the Ancients, and who the person is who will actually full fill the prophecy.

I wanted to like this novel so badly. The premise is so interesting! Sorcerers, magicians, and witches, with giant monsters terrorizing England in the 1800s!

But, I was so disappointed by this second book. I was hoping that, having used the first book to lay the ground work, we would get more details in this novel. But, while there was much more action, everything was forces. Honestly, it didn’t feel like I was reading a story that was unfolding naturally, but something that was forced. This is a book that I wish was written in third person omniscient. To know everything in this novel and watch as the characters struggled through would be wonderful. Or even to just be able to get more perspectives than just Henrietta’s.

The writing itself feels like an American trying to imitate Victorian British, but only every now and again. And then, only the literature. Honestly, I don’t if a woman who grew up with an Unclean as a best friend, a boy at that, who regularly dressed his wounds would feel uncomfortable around men with “their coats off”. Not their shirts, their coats. If Cluess was really writing for the character, wouldn’t she have to feign disinterest? It was difficult for me to finish this book.

Again, I really wanted to like this.

Who would like this? Fans of Harry Potter, YA Fantasy, Historical Fantasy (maybe…. honestly, I would say be wary if you are a fan of history, this might upset you, and I don’t know how much research this author actually did), um…. if you are looking for a light right, but not a short read, this could be good.

I do think that, if you liked Harry Potter, you would likely enjoy this novel series.

If you like deep prose and deep story and complex characters…. stay away. Yup.

If, when the next one comes out, I was able to get a review copy, I would read it and hope that the writing improves…

I was given this book by Random House in exchange for an honest review.


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