A Poison Dark and Drowning By Jessica Cluess

This review contains spoilers of both A Shadow Bright and Burning and A Poison Dark and Drowning. Books one and two in the Kingdom On Fire Trilogy by Jessica Cluess.

I gave the first book 4/5 stars, and this book 5/5 stars.

General Thoughts 

“I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer in ages. The girl who can control flames. The one who will defeat the ancients. The prophesied one. Or am I?”

This trilogy follows the magician Henrietta Howel who is trained as a sorcerer in order to defeat the monsters who have overrun their world- The Ancients.

The beginning of the novel was slower paced then I expected but it soon picked up about a quarter of the way through. I absolutely loved all of the character development that occurred throughout this book. There were many amazing plot twists (one chapter had two!) and the book kept me at the edge of my seat.


One of my all time favorite characters has to be Blackwood. I love his growth throughout this book as well as his relationship with Henrietta. Throughout the whole book I was hoping he would confess his love and I’m so glad they’re together now. I was never to big of a fan of Rook but I did feel for Henrietta when he changed into a Familiar.

We were introduced to a new character in this book- Maria, who ends up being the actual prophesied one. At the start of the novel, I was slightly put off by Maria, but soon grew to like her. I especially liked her friendship with Henrietta and her loyalty and dedication to her work. Without even knowing him, Maria was kind enough to work on a cure in order to stop Rook from changing into a familiar.

Plot Twists

This novel caused my jaw to drop multiple times. There was one point where I just sat in disbelief at the plot twist. So, the biggest secret that is revealed in this book was when we learned that R’hlem is Henrietta’s father, William Howel. I was shocked! When we first learnt that William Howel did not drown like Henrietta aunt told her, I expected him to be alive and possible able to help defeat the ancients- Not be one of them!

Another, lesser plot twist is when we learn that Maria is Agrippa’s daughter. Along with this, we soon learn that Maria is actually the chosen one who Henrietta has been pretending to be. Though this was something of what I expected, I was still surprised by this.

Final Thoughts

The Kingdom On Fire Trilogy by Jessica Cluess is quickly becoming one of my favorite trilogies. Though the writing style is simplistic I believe it works really well for the story-line. With historical fiction aspects and plenty of magic, this book has the perfect blend of some of my favorite genres. All in all, I truly adored this novel and am highly anticipating the next.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from BloggingForBooks. All opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “A Poison Dark and Drowning By Jessica Cluess

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