Read Burning Bright by Melissa McShane Online


In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in oIn 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?...

Title : Burning Bright
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781620074008
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 318 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Burning Bright Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-04-15 11:59

    Highly recommended if a Regency era fantasy appeals to you. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:Twenty-one year old Elinor Pembroke, dreaming of fire burning all around her, awakes to find her room actually ablaze with an intense fire ― a fire she caused in her sleep. Elinor is able to quench the fire with simply a thought. The ability to not only mentally generate but also to extinguish fire makes her an Extraordinary Scorcher, the first British person with this high level of power over fire in over a hundred years. In this alternative Regency world, a few people have magical talents ― telepathy, flying, teleporting, visions, and more ― and those who have especially strong abilities are called Extraordinaries.Elinor’s dictatorial father is delighted that his nondescript middle daughter is suddenly an extremely valuable commodity in the marriage market: many men are interested in marrying a woman with a strong talent in order to produce gifted children. Elinor’s personal feelings about the man her father chooses for her are of no account to him. As he’s busily making plans to marry her off to a rather unpleasant but wealthy nobleman, Elinor, desperate to find a path that offers her the right to determine her own fate, sneaks off to convince the Admiralty that the Royal Navy needs her help.The admirals are reluctant to allow a woman to serve in the Navy, but it’s difficult for them to argue with Elinor’s ability, particularly after she gives them a brief demonstration of her Extraordinary talent by calmly lighting the fireplace and every lamp in the First Lord’s office at once, then extinguishing them. It’s clear that Elinor could make a big difference in their battles against pirates and privateers, which are splitting their naval forces in the war against Napoleon. To her embarrassment, they assign her to the ship of Captain Miles Ramsay, with whom Elinor had had a bit of a tiff at a recent ball. Sparks fly, in more ways than one. Elinor has to battle, not only privateers and pirates, but the superstitions and prejudices of the sailors aboard the Athena, as well as the admiral in Bermuda who is in charge of the conflict against the pirates in the Caribbean.Burning Bright is an engaging story about the adventures of a young woman who finds she has an unexpected talent, and in gaining skill and confidence in her talent, gradually gains confidence in herself as well. Elinor realizes that she may be irrevocably damaging her reputation in society by joining the Navy as a single woman aboard a ship of men, but the chance to make her own decisions is worth the risk. But even after Elinor finds the courage to join the Navy, her determination to face down her tyrannical father and tell him that she’s leaving is short-lived: she ends up leaving him a letter and disappearing in the morning. Her development of mental and emotional strength takes some time.While Regency era-based fantasies have become fairly popular, this one, refreshingly, focuses more on the nautical experience than the parlors and ballrooms and romance. Melissa McShane has researched the details of shipboard life in this era and incorporated them into her story in a way that doesn’t drag down the pace of the story. In fact, the overall pace, after a bit of a slow build-up, moves along briskly as Elinor has some unexpected adventures and makes some enemies as well as some friends. The secondary characters are well-developed; I enjoyed the various personalities of the sailors on board the Athena. Captain Ramsay is a capable leader but has some human flaws as well. His dialogue with Elinor is often quite amusing:“I could order you, as your commanding officer, to tell me.”“You could, Captain, but I would disobey, you would have to order me flogged, the crew would all mutiny, and you would end your days marooned on some tiny Caribbean island eating nothing but raw breadfruit and unripe coconuts.”“Raw breadfruit is indigestible.” “Then coconuts it will have to be.”There are some darker parts to Burning Bright as well, as McShane deals straightforwardly with the nightmarish psychological effects of killing men in war, as well as the seductive power that fire can gain over the person that wields it. These aspects are reminiscent of some of the ideas and themes explored in Shannon Hale’s fantasy Enna Burning, though I didn’t find Burning Bright nearly as dark and disturbing as that fire-based fantasy.Burning Bright combines shipboard adventures, wars with pirates, and an interesting magical system with just a little romance. I didn’t really mean to spend an entire evening reading this book, but it was one of those books that was extremely difficult to put down once I got into it!I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. Thank you!

  • Aisling Zena
    2019-04-10 14:37

    4 starsTo my smut lovers, fair warning, this has no rumpy pumpy in it. I really enjoyed it anyway though and that's rare for me. This is a regency era fantasy book. I found the powers described in it very interesting and intriguing. Imagine, Regent England with fire starters(Scorchers), telekinetics (Movers), teleporters(Bounders) and a woman that's not just a Scorcher but an Extraordinary one (meaning she can stop the fire and manipulate it). Simply, kick ass!More detailed review, later. Maybe..

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-03-22 09:41

    Fantastical Regency historical romances have become a popular subgenre, ever since Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer published their fictional letter game Sorcery and Cecelia two or three decades ago. Melissa McShane has come up with my favorite since the above--and for totally different reasons.While Wrede and Stevermer were basically inserting magic into a Georgette Heyer world, McShane has eschewed the Heyerverse, drawing on influence from Jane Austen and Patrick O'Brian, to come up with a fascinating next-universe-over in which King George III is reclusive because of a painful paranormal power, and the Colonies have not revolted. In this world, those who manifest powers are valued; women as well as men can serve in the British Army, but the Royal Navy is being its typical self, stubbornly traditionalist and resistant to change--unless, of course, that change comes from within. But Elinor Pembroke is desperate enough to bang down the castle walls, and confront the First Lord himself, with an awesome demonstration of her Extraordinary Scorcher power. In other words, she can call fire at will. Lots of fire.Elinor is desperate to get away from her father, who is determined to marry her off to suit his ambitions, with no regard for her wishes. She finds herself summarily assigned to the frigate Athena under Captain Ramsay, who seems neutral, at best, to be assigned a woman of quality aboard. He knows what a hassle it's going to be.Watching these two navigate their relationship while Elinor deals with the rules of the wooden world keeps those pages turning. She's leaped from the ballrooms of London to the smelly belly of wooden ships crewed by 300 men crammed in close quarters. And, well, men are men.Just when things are getting very tense, a French ship attacks them, with a scorcher on board. I enjoyed the way McShane figures out how the various powers would affect tactics and strategy on the high seas. Elinor knows zilch about ship to ship warfare, she has to concentrate on the firefight. It's a pleasure watching her explore her powers--and then discover the downside of having the skill to kill. McShane doesn't flinch away from the cost of power, which adds to the tension, and heartbreak, of the storyline.One of the best moments in a tale of adventure and romance and friendship and complexity was when Elinor finally meets her counterpart among the pirate fleet the naval detachment has been assigned to eradicate. It's a terrific scene.I read this in an early draft, and loved it then. I was excited to see what McShane did with the final draft--and found myself involved in the story all over again. This world has so much potential!

  • Monty Cupcake ☠ Queen of Bloodshed ☠
    2019-04-02 13:47

    Elinor, age 21, awakens one day to a bedroom on fire. Bad for the curtains, but good for her, her talent has finally emerged. Her parents thought she was going to be an ordinary talent-less chick as most manifest much earlier. Her late manifestation means she's an Extraordinary Sorcher - the super gifted. Her mean old dad is over the moon excited about selling her off in marriage now to the highest bidder and woe to Elinor if she doesn't obey. She's way nicer than what I'd have done. She doesn't burn his belongings like I would, instead she joins the Royal Navy. The Navy is suffering lots of pirate attacks + fighting Napoleon and they're short on Sorchers & that's the only reason why they allow a female to join. Elinor signs up to be their newest flame thrower. She's put on a ship with a nice young captain, :::eyebrow wiggle::: who's an Extraordinary Mover (telekinesis and flying). The crew is what you'd expect seaman in the 1800's to be, salty and smelly. <- the book doesn't talk about smell, but I know they had to all have been RIPE on that ship. I'd have needed lots of Lysol and Febreeze for that trip. Lots of action during the naval battles. Good pacing with the battles and very nicely conveyed the chaos of any battle. I enjoyed these times as the full scope of Elinor's gift is put to use, starting fires and putting them out, etc. The down time when not battling was interesting too, seeing how the sailors viewed her to the daily life aboard a ship for a non sailor lady. Warning, there's almost no romance & zero smut in this book. It's all flames and ships. The end.

  • Mei
    2019-03-20 13:57

    Elinor is a Scorcher. An Extraordinary Scorcher!What a marvelous world! Here people have gifts: long-distance talk, seers, movers, etc. The possibilities are endless! And I hope Ms. McShane will explore them throughly! :)But while many people have talents, very few are extraordinarily talented. Elinor is one of those and she's a force of nature withe her element: the fire!!!Elinor is not a meak female. She's very quiet, but also very stubborn. And when her father forces her to choose between marriage to a man of his choice, or imprisonment in her own house, she chooses the third option: join the Navy! WOW!I loved how her mind works! How she blends the formality of her upbringing and her own iron will. I enjoyed her develpment from timid butterfly, almost invisble to all before her talent manifested, to a full grown woman with a mind of her own! It was brilliantly done!Ramsay, the captain of the ship she's embarked, is an Extraordinary too. He's a mover, able to move objects and people and even himself! He's very proper and somewhat cold, but always just and honorable. He could have come out as a tiff and unalikable, but he has also a very nice sense of humor and is the perfect counterpart for Elinor.But thier romance is not the focus here. It is there, almost invisible almost until the end.The focus is the war. A naval war between England and the Caribbean pirates (who also have some Extraordinary talents of their own!).But not only the war. Elinor growing up is also very important. We see her stuggle to do the right thing. We see her struggle with killing people, even if they're enimies. A wonderful wonderful book! With some excellent desciptions of battles, both interior and naval. A truly great writing style that makes the reading easy and interesting!I'm so looking forward to the next book!

  • Jacob Proffitt
    2019-04-18 10:38

    I've taken to rereading Melissa's books as they come out, if only to refresh my memory about what made it in and what didn't. And yes, that means I'm unusually closely involved and you can safely discount my review as biased if you desire. I do try to be clear, if not precisely impartial, so I hope you'll give the review a glance and discover a story you can love.In Burning Bright, Melissa sticks closer to the real world than she usually does by setting it in a Regency period much like our own, but with magic added for spice. The magic permeates society, so there are some strong differences (like women having a few more life-options as a result of not wanting to waste half the population who have useful Talents) as well as some more subtle (like taking long-distant communication, at least of important events, for granted). I love how these background changes are woven into a tale of adventure and self-discovery with hints of more to see in future stories exploring other extraordinary women.But, as always with Melissa's books, my main draw to the story is the strong heroine that I found easy to fall in love with. England doesn't have a lot of Scorchers and no Extraordinary ones, so Elinor finds herself with no existing options to use her talent as anything more than bait for a husband desiring strongly Talented children. Not liking the broodmare option, and not least because of the stud her father has picked out, Elinor decides to forge her own path. Fortunately for her, if not for the nation, England is at war and someone who can control great gobs of fire (and at a distance) can write her own check if she is bold enough to seize the opportunity. I love that she does so and that we see leaders desperate enough to give her a shot (as well as others that are like military leaders everywhere, getting in the way of the folks who get stuff done). From there, we get a great story of a woman out of her depth, but game to take it on even in the face of great danger (and potential, even likely, social ruin). Elinor is engaging from the start and she only grows more so through the course of the novel.Which would be well-enough on its own, but there are lots of strong secondary characters as well. A sailing ship geared for war is a crowded affair and you can't help getting to know the officers and many of the men while at sea for so long. I loved the vivid details of ship life and the personalities that have to be forced to at least rub along while so confined. I loved the accommodations they made and the respect they learned for one another as they struggle with someone who is so foreign to their normal routines—and not just because she's a woman but because she turns out to represent the single greatest weapon the ship carries. I loved that this has all the emotional impact that implies. And that the action fully supports both the physical and emotional adaptations needed for Elinor to learn to not only survive but, as much as possible, to thrive there. I grew as attached to the crew (and especially Captain Ramsey) as Elinor and loved the trust built over time and forged in battle.The story is a rollicking adventure, so I'm not going to tempt the spoilers it'd take to give any better idea of it. The pacing is quick (with the occasional lull as you can expect will happen in the age of sail), the action intense, and Elinor and her crew are right up in the action as they fight a pirate resurgence in the Caribbean. There are some real unexpected turns and some lovely confrontations and I must. fight. the urge. to. spoil.Anyway, yes, this is a solid five stars for an engaging story with characters I came to love and admire. I really hope you'll find as much entertainment as I have.

  • Emmy
    2019-04-16 13:50

    **4.5**This book gets points just for originality. I LOVE the premise. A historical, but with superpowers? Yes, please! This book is probably more adventure than romance, so if you are looking for a book that shoves romance down your throat, you might want to look elsewhere. The romance part doesn't really come in until the very end, but that's also what I loved about it. I knew who Elinor would end up with, but there were no heated glances or accidentally "electric" touches throughout the book. Elinor wasn't immediately attracted to him, frankly she had other things on her mind. But Elinor and Ramsay bonded slowly over several months over shared interests and personalities and first became friends. And this is EXACTLY how I like a romance to be. I loved following Elinor as she broke off from the path that she was given to make her own way. And I loved discovering the extent of her Talent with her. This book is as much one of self-discovery as it is of adventure and romance. What kept this from being a 5 for me was, while the writing was good, it wasn't great. But the story itself made up for that. Also, the part when Elinor was stranded on the island slowed things down a touch for me and I was just waiting for her to be rescued. But overall, I am so excited to have discovered this first book in what is supposed to be a whole series!

  • Mandapanda
    2019-03-24 11:00

    What a unique story. A romance that is a cross between a Regency romp and Master and Commander. With a dash of the supernatural thrown in. It was intriguing, smart, fast-paced and had a great sense of adventure. Elinor was a great heroine. Very tame romance with no sex scenes. This was a Secret Santa (2016) gift. Thanks :)

  • Melissa McShane
    2019-04-04 09:33

    I wrote this book sort of on a dare. I love the Napoleonic/Regency era in fiction, but never thought of writing anything like that. But I had this magic system I wanted to do something with, and my husband challenged me to see what I could do with historical fiction. And this was the result.The "magic" in the world of the Extraordinaries is actually psionics, and in a contemporary setting, they would be superheroes: telepaths, telekinetics, biokinetics, etc. Some of the fun was in backdating those powers; what would a world without the concept of genetics and psionics do to interpret those talents? In my alternate history, it was the Second Pandemic culminating in the plague of 1665 that created the talents, so by 1812 England is accustomed to its magical folk and society has rearranged itself to adapt to them. So many possibilities emerged. The Great Fire of London? Caused by out of control Scorchers. King George III's madness? The result of his Extraordinary Discerner talent, which made him capable of feeling other people's emotions to the extent of not knowing the difference between his own feelings and others. Working out the possibilities of eight psionic talents became so much more fun when I was allowed to play with the past.Originally, Elinor was to serve in the Peninsular Army, something that excited me because I'm a huge fan of the Richard Sharpe novels. But at some point it became clear that there was much more scope for story in a woman who can control fire going to sea on those wooden, highly flammable ships. For the sake of that story, I fiddled with the truth--it actually wasn't uncommon for women to be aboard ship, as officers and petty officers might have their wives aboard, and those women might take charge of the young midshipmen. I wanted Elinor to be isolated from other women, forced to defend her femininity in a world that made no allowances for it. I think it makes her friendships with Captain Ramsay and Stratford Hervey stronger because of that. Or, possibly, I just wanted to make the character interactions manageable.The plan for this series is to have each book featuring a different woman with a different Extraordinary talent, with previous characters showing up or being referred to in later books. So the sequels are not about Elinor--I feel I should make that explicit, so readers aren't disappointed. But Elinor and Ramsay's adventures aren't over, and they will return.

  • Hailee (haibooklovers)
    2019-04-08 15:52

    Actual Rating: 4.5 stars What an unexpected delight! Definitely recommend.I feel like I should tell you why I loved this book so much. 1. The premise was so fun! I happen to love me historical fiction. I'm also a bit obsessed with anything related to elemental control (hello Air Awakens and A Darker Shade of Magic and Half-Blood). So combining the two?? Yes, please.2. Headstrong main character. I'll admit I've got something of a soft spot for a leading lady that questions and/or flouts the rules of society.3. Pirating. I don't feel like I need to say more.4. Swoony business. The slow-burn kind. Let it be known: this isn't a romance novel. At least, that's not how I would describe it. I went into this thinking it was a Regency romance, and it really wasn't at all. But still, feels are there.5. It was such a quick read!So if you're looking for a quick, easy, delightful read and enjoy any of the above, this one is for you.

  • Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
    2019-03-25 15:42

    This story was slow and intense and full of battle scenes and superpowers and I completely loved it. The romance is also a slow-burn...almost to the point of non-existence, but it's just lovely. I really love the idea of giving Regency-era ladies X-Men-like powers and seeing what they do with them, especially in a time where women were considered inferior in every way. I've always loved those characters in historical fiction who flout the rules of society, consequences be damned, and Elinor is no different. I loved this book so much that I immediately downloaded the next book from the library.

  • Jen
    2019-04-14 09:50

    This book was nothing short of amazing for me. I'm partial to the Regency era in my historical fiction, so right there, the setting was up my alley. I love books where the romance isn't the primary focus, where the characters get to know one another and they don't do any pre-marital things (I rather have plot than naughty bits, unless I want naughty, then I don't need the plot so much). The magic system was great, I loved how it worked. The MC kinda has this amazing out of this world power, BUT being a woman in that time period, she didn't have power over herself, over her future. It was an interesting contrast. The story arc in this was concluded, but it is apparently part of a series and I say BRING IT ON!!! I loved the MC and how she was able to face her demons. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, there was death and fighting and it was gruesome and heartbreaking when it was a character we got to know and like. And I have to say, that cover is GORGEOUS!! This book was all around great. Kind of violent, but only suggested hanky panky. I would say good for young adult on up. Five huge stars. I really enjoyed this book. I would have torn through it faster, but life and work got in the way. I can't wait for the next book! Highly recommended if you enjoy alternate worlds that are similar to our own, except for some magic, and a historical setting. My thanks to NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

  • Sophia
    2019-03-19 15:59

    This was one of those books that I knew from the beginning that it was just my thing. Intrepid heroine set for adventure, magic, war on the high seas, dashing Navy Captain, pirates, shipboard adventure, danger, and maybe love when she least expects it? This was history and fantasy blended together at it's best. A young woman courageously steps out of the restraints of her current life and boldly embraces the adventure of a lifetime so she can live free. I read it in two sittings and then groaned to see it end. Fortunately, it's the beginning of a series and I can come back to the world of the magical Extraordinaires again.The story opens with Elinor Pembroke manifesting a new and powerful talent with fire magic making her an elite Scorcher Extraordinaire. Her parents who had despaired of their middle daughter ever making a good match and advancing the family are over the moon and eager to parade her before all the eligible men for the London Season. Elinor quietly obeys their dictates especially her terrifying father, but secretly wishes that a man would come along who would want her and not just for her magic. But then her father tightens the leash and insists she marry a man she does not want and if she refuses, she'll see what it is to live as a poor relation without much care. In a bold move, Elinor acts.As the only Scorcher Extraordinaire in Britain, Elinor offers her great magic to the Navy who struggle in a war against two enemies- Napoleon and his French Navy and pirates in the Caribbean. The First Admiral is dubious, but desperate. Elinor is assigned to a ship and sent with it's captain and crew to fight the pirates. She must prove her worth and get up to speed on all things Navy so she can be a help instead of a hindrance. Through stops and starts, she finds her way. Captain Ramsay and a few others are friends and the ship is her home. But just when she starts to feel happy, things take a dire turn and the real test begins.I love history blended with fantasy particularly when it is feathered into a powerful plot and characters. This alternate history world of the Napoleonic Era Britain is filled with magic wielders. Having magic gives one status and there are a variety of magic classifications some more desired than others when it comes to status amongst the high society of Britain. You guessed it, Elinor's Scorcher (fire) magic is considered unseemingly for a woman to wield and it also makes people nervous because Scorchers are generally unstable or mad. The main character, Elinor, is the sole narrator. She is a fantastic heroine beginning as a sheltered and naive lady to becoming a formidable woman ready to learn from her mistakes and take her place as a valuable contributor to crew and country. She must battle the conflicts that come from stepping out of her place in life, enemies personal and of Britain, and she must fight an internal battle. The author did a fantastic job of painting a setting around Elinor that was a balance of historical authenticity and her own parallel world. This story paces out slow and steady for the most part of life in London society and then shipboard life, but there are many exciting breathless moments when Elinor, Captain Ramsay, and the crew are fighting for their lives.Elinor learns to build relationships on her own particularly with Captain Ramsay. He, more than others understands what it is to be a late-blooming Extraordinaire and the need to prove himself. He is her friend, but he is also her captain. But slowly something more grows between them. It was sweet and tender and was organic to the story.In summary, this was amazingness and I definitely want more of the Extraordinaire world. Those who enjoy authentic feeling historicals, compelling characters, exciting adventure and magic surrounding it all should give this book a go.My thanks to Curiosity Quills for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Michelle
    2019-04-02 09:41

    I don't read a lot of fantasy historical books, I love the genre, but I don't find that many that interest me. I really enjoyed how the magical abilities in this book are very interesting but not overwhelming. Something easily to follow, but not boring or something that takes away from the story. Just a touch of romance and a great adventure. Elinor is a Scorcher as in she can manipulate fire. She decides that instead of marrying a man she certainly doesn't want to marry (nor should she) or staying under the control of her ambitious and horrible father, she joins the Navy. There is a great sea adventure with a very gutsy and strong heroine who has to get herself out of a lot of sticky situations. I liked Elinor from the start. She is brave and really pushes past limits that females have in this time. I will never turn down a book with a strong female lead. The story flows nicely from the beginning with some slower parts but nothing to stop from me from reading anyways. The synopsis of the story interested me quickly and I am pleased to say it delivered very nicely. I received an ARC via Netgalley.

  • A
    2019-03-23 13:53

    ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review :)I loved this book :) it started of really good and then only got better :) great writing style, lots of adventures and surprises along the way and such fantastic characters :) I loved every part of it :) since I just finished it like an hour ago, I'm gonna need a few days to gather my thoughts and write a review, but trust me... I highly recommend it :) full review on the day of the release :)edited to add my full review :)I received the ARC of this fantastic story from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and it was yet another example that Curiosity Quills Press is my go-to place to find unique and amazing books… ;) and it should be yours as well ;) because let me tell you… I knew from the synopsis that it will be something else, and that made me curious and at the same time a little bit afraid… ;) because not only this is a brand new author for me, but also the premise, sounding so original, might have been one of those hit-and-miss situations… fortunately, that was not the case ;) because I absolutely loved it ;) it started off on a really good level and then only got better ;) so naturally by the end of it I was so in love with the story and characters, that I just had to give it full 5 stars ;) so now let me tell you a bit more about my feelings ;)We have one main character here… we follow Elinor’s story throughout the whole book… and even though there are a few quite important people… especially one of them stole my heart *coughs* captain Ramsey *coughs* ;) she is definitely the focus of the story ;) but maybe before I tell you more about her, let me tell you a few details about the world itself ;) this is a historical story, set in 1812 but with some absolutely fascinating paranormal elements… ;) because some people have Talent :) and even less people have Extraordinary Talent, which basically means that theirs is much stronger ;) that’s pretty much all you need to know going into the story ;) don’t worry, the whole thing is actually much more complex, but it’s explained really well in the book, and not all at once, so I will leave you all the details to discover along the way ;) so back to Elinor… she is what you might call a „late bloomer” ;) because her Talent, and an Extraordinary I have to add, manifested much later than usually… instead of when she was around 12-13, she was 21 when she discovered she’s a Scorcher… and that very cool term means that she can start and extinguish fire with her will… ;) so now she has two choices… either she will marry someone that her not-so-nice father will pick out for her, or she will have to suffer the consequences, which basically means living poorly and depending on others to provide for her… so she decides on door #3 and offer her services and Talent to the Royal Navy ;) and since you guys know by now, if you follow my blog for some time now, and if not, you will know that from this moment forward ;) I absolutely love brave and smart heroines… women who don’t wait for others to save them, but who do what they can to save themselves ;) and Elinor is just that type of heroine ;) so naturally I loved her from the start ;) I can’t really tell you more about what happens after her decision because that time is filled with adventures, surprises and quite shocking turns of events ;) so I won’t spoil you them ;) what I can tell you, is that I absolutely adored Elinor as the main character… like I mentioned before, she was smart and resourceful and did what best she could under the circumstances… :)Now about those secondary characters… because of course besides the amazing Elinor, there were other people in this story… but to be honest… all of them sort of faded in the background because of captain Miles Ramsay ;) he is the captain of Athena, a ship that Elinor is assigned to ;) he has an Extraordinary Talent of his own and he’s a bit more… distant and… not cold, but it definitely takes him time to open up to other people… ;) but since I also need time to warm up to people, I definitely connected with him ;) and trust me… in his case the saying „still water runs deep” is definitely true… ;) because a bit later in the book there were moments that totally made me swoon… *sighs dreamily* ;) like I mentioned before, there were of course other characters, sailors on the ship and more… some of them really interesting, but… none of them as amazing as the captain ;) so hopefully you’ll forgive me for the lack of details ;)I absolutely loved this book ;) from the start the writing style really made an impression on me, and after that everything only got better ;) the interesting and diverse characters, the absolutely surprising story… and let’s not forget about the world itself… full of details and such unique ideas, that I cannot wait to know more… and there will be more, because the author is currently working on the sequel ;) at this moment all I know is that it will tell the story of another woman with an Extraordinary Talent ;) she may or may not have been mentioned in this book... ;) but that is all I will say about it :) believe me guys, there’s a ton of stuff I would love to tell you… about some characters and events that happened in this book, but unfortunately they all would be quite spoilerific, so I really can’t say anything ;) but trust me… this book is such a unique read… it will keep you on the edge of your seat quite a few times… I certainly almost fell off a time or two… ;) the phenomenal writing style will transport you right in the middle of action and will keep you glued to the pages, because you will simply need to know what’s gonna happen next ;) but don’t worry, even though this book is just the beginning of a series, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything… but it will definitely leave you wanting more of this amazing world ;) go and try it out ;) XOXOAfor more book-ish stuff visit:my blog -> https://bookworm8619.blogspot.commy facebook page ->

  • Tandie
    2019-03-22 15:50

    I loved this! 4.5 stars. A Lady possessing rare fire magic is basically being sold by her father to the highest bidder. Fire girl sneaks away & demonstrates her power to the Royal Navy. Burners are quite useful in battle. They reluctantly allow her to (sort of) enlist. Having a woman onboard is distracting and many consider it bad luck. Fire girl proves herself in battle and wins most of the crew over. Oooh, there's a hot captain who can fly! At first, I found that a bit silly -like Captain America in a Superman outfit. He won me over with his gentlemanly ways. I was singing, "sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la kiss de girl!" PIRATES! Battles with pirates on the high seas. Discovering secret pirate hideouts. Burning pirates to cinders. All good fun.4.5 instead of 5 because the magic could've been explained better. It's sort of X-man, random people are born with random powers that manifest at random times in their lives. Breeding magic wielders together makes the odds for a magical baby go up.

  • Sky
    2019-03-19 09:41

    Please note that I received a free ebook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Now, I normally never pick up historical fiction. Most of the time I find them to be super heavy reads. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just isn’t my thing. But I admit when I saw this cover on Netgalley I was intrigued. We all know I’m a suckered for a good cover. But let me tell you, this book is so much more than a good cover. It was an amazing journey about a sheltered girl who wanted to choose her own path in life. Instead of a path dictated by her father.Elinor is exactly what I want in a strong female main character. With sudden powers at an older age (she’s in her early 20’s, which is super refreshing to me) when normally these powers manifest at a younger age, her father decides he needs to take matters into his own hands when it comes to Elinor’s life. And after an unfortunate incident Elinor decides to take matters into her own hands. She leaves her family having never been fair from her family home and throws herself into an entirely new way of living. And she sticks to her morals the entire book, even when she’s close to losing herself. She just amazed me through the entire journey.Another thing I loved about this book is that romance was not the prominent plot in the typical sense. Let me just say that by the end of the book (where there is romance) I was totally into it. The build up was nice and subtle to the point where I was so excited when it finally happened. And it wasn’t some cataclysmic event or anything, just the natural way for attraction to occur and come together. The friendships she builds, those friendships turning into a family she never expected, and her character develop and standing up to her ‘demons’, I just, wow.I actually really enjoyed the historical setting in this, to recognize places and names. I also loved this is was set mostly out on water in a boat. That seems to have become a thing lately and I am so down for it. Now I honestly don’t know how much or even if there is historical accuracy to this but either way the setting was perfectly enjoyable and easy to picture.Please, please, please someone read this book and love it as much as I did.

  • Rosemarie Short
    2019-04-16 14:01

    There are times in which a book leaves me at a loss as to how to review it. This could be because a book is incredibly good, or incredibly bad. It can also be when a book is, extraordinarily, both. In this case, Burning Bright manages to somehow achieve the latter of those three things.One moment, I would be reading at what felt like a snail’s pace, wondering how much closer to the end each page would bring me. All of a sudden, a well written character interaction or a sizzling action scene would cut in and my attention would be captured, pages flashing by. Then, all too soon, the plodding returned.In the end, I think it all comes down to pacing and length. Burning Bright is a good fifty pages too long and there are times when it shows. Often the added padding is unnecessary and the over-arching plot isn’t all that engaging. However it’s saved by some vibrant writing and some good characters (however there are a fair few interchangeable side characters which could have been done without).Overall, this is a good concept and there are parts which are very well executed. However if you persevere with the whole, then it’s ultimately worth the effort.

  • Hallie
    2019-04-03 07:43

    I read this way back, and loved it. I'm going to reread, and hope to say something more coherent than that, but all the same, 'I loved it' cuts the verbiage and gives the essentials, right?

  • A (Is For Awkward)
    2019-03-22 14:36

    I loved the concept behind this book: regency romance fantasy with magic. On the high seas.Some aspects of the story felt a bit too cliched, and not enough time was spent on character building for secondary characters. The biggest flaws in this book are in fact the relationships. First as romances go there was hardly any time spent on developing things, beyond the initial stages of friendship and some maybe small hints they both might someday want more. While the plot climax was perfect for the relationship development in many ways, it didn't build on enough day to day between them to make it entirely believable. Instead for me it almost felt like a cheat to force the romance to work, instead of a satisfying resolution to building tension. Her relationship with the crew was sadly lacking as well, especially the development and day to day with ones she became close friends with.I would say this is probably fairly typical of most if not all of the author's books thus far, that is, not enough time spent on relationship building in general.Like her other books however, she does a good job of creating a fun adventure with mostly believable settings and backstory. In this case she takes the regency era and introduces genetic magical talents, where something like 2/3rds of the nobility have some form of talent, and marriages are often made for the purpose of encouraging bigger talents in the family. A twist on the marriage market, where instead of simply title and money, it becomes title and money and talent.The heroine in this case is a late bloomer, whose talent shows up at least 8 years later than is typical for even most late developers. She is the daughter of an untitled talent specialist who terrorizes her and abuses her mentally, if not physically. Which sets the story up for an interesting emotional conflict as she overcomes her past and grows into a confident woman.The basic premise is that after her sudden development of talent years after everyone had given up on her, her father decides to put her back on the marriage market. She develops what is called an "extraordinary" talent which is implied to be as different from regular talents as regular talents are from being talentless, and her father finally sees a use for her to give him some sort of reflected glory in her talent, and attempts to force her into marriage in a match she is uninterested in. Faced with the decision to either marry where she doesn't wish, for the sole purpose of becoming a breeder for future talents, or to stay a spinster dependent on her father who has always despised and terrorized her, she finds a third option and runs away to the navy.In this version of Britain, the army has always expected extraordinary talents, men and women both, to work for them for some amount of time, however the navy in particular has never used female extraordinary talents. She eventually convinces the navy that since her talent is so rare that it would be worthwhile for them to take her on, and she is assigned to a ship.The rest of the book is primarily set on the seas, and is surrounding the conflict with a group of organized pirates in the atlantic. As with the rest of society the pirates have their own talents, which makes conflicts more fantasy dramatic, but still within the context of naval fights. Between the various naval political power plays, fights with pirates, and the usual sort of adventure, the heroine slowly grows up and into her power, overcoming her fears and eventually facing down her father. My one huge complaint was (major spoiler) (view spoiler)[that her actions in the big pirate climax results in the death of the one friend that she has been shown to have on board the ship. Given how little time was given relationship building this seems not just cruel, but pointless. It didn't help her character growth, it wasn't needed for the scene in question at all, and ultimately made how she fit into the ships crew even less believable by removing the one person you can believe she was actually friends with. Had she had more friends, and had there been more time spent on the loss of fellow sailors throughout the story, it might have worked. But almost no real time was given to other loss, and so little to her relationships with crew, that it felt like the only purpose in giving her this one friend was to then kill him later, which didn't serve the story well at all imo since it only highlighted the bigger relationship flaws. (hide spoiler)]Given all that, I would still recommend to people who like alternate/fantasy historical adventures and adventure driven regency romances (extra light on romance).

  • Danya
    2019-04-07 08:57

    3.5 starsBURNING BRIGHT by Melissa McShane is part traditional Regency era novel, part nautical fantasy – a combination that’s a ton of fun and sure to entertain anyone who enjoys historical fantasy.Stifled by her overbearing and emotionally abusive father, Elinor Pembroke is desperate to escape her life. But there are few options for a girl with no fortune and average looks; few options, that is, until her Extraordinary magical gift manifests. Most members of the upper class are gifted in some way, but Extraordinaries are rare and valuable…especially the women, who are often treated like broodmares.Understandably, that life holds even less appeal for Elinor than her current straits, and our plucky heroine takes matters into her own hands: she will leverage her gifts to gain entry into His Majesty’s Navy, and join them in their fight against Napoleon. Although untrained and untested, Elinor’s Scorcher abilities enable her to conjure and resist fire, a powerful weapon on ships made entirely out of wood. That’s not the sort of thing the Navy can turn down, even if Elinor is a woman.Obviously, this book isn’t exactly an accurate representation of the social attitudes and opportunities available for women (or working class people) during the period. Thankfully I was able to embrace the inaccuracies for what they were: an opportunity to give Elinor a story that is considerably more fun than it would’ve been otherwise. It was very refreshing to read a historical fantasy with a heroine who has just as many allies as she does detractors, since it gets a bit depressing reading about people who have to slog through obstacle after obstacle. That said, Elinor doesn’t have it easy and she does encounter some nasty characters among the crew of The Athena, but for the most part BURNING BRIGHT is just a fun adventure novel.I haven’t read any fantasy novels set at sea other than BURNING BRIGHT so while I can’t compare it to others, I can say that I absolutely adored the setting. The well-oiled machine that is a naval ship, the cramped quarters below deck, the gorgeous vistas described from the deck of The Athena, and the Caribbean islands that Elinor and the crew docked at really made this book for me. Based on how much I enjoyed this setting, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more nautical fantasy novels in the future!Melissa McShane also does a good job bringing the battles at sea to life, and I was almost holding my breath during a few particularly tense scenes. These battles were particularly important because they were really the only times we got to see Elinor use her Scorcher abilities and show everyone what a badass she is. I definitely wanted to learn more about the magic behind Extraordinaries and their abilities, and overall I though that the magical aspects of the world building were lacking. Hopefully that’s something that McShane fixes in the sequel!Overall BURNING BRIGHT is a fun, fluffy historical fantasy – the perfect reading material for a dreary weekend afternoon.

  • Glory
    2019-04-02 13:49

    Прекрасная приключенческая история, с красочным и таким реальным миром и толикой магии. Атмосфера в основном мрачноватая, но крошки юмора это скрашивают (хотя местами хотелось его побольше). Романтика тоже фоном, что радует, ибо эта книга скорее о людях, силе духа и море, чем о тлеющих сердцах и промокшем белье.Тут и там, конечно, есть ощущение недотянутости, но автор не идет по проторенным дорожкам, она и ее герои умеют удивлять и радоватьВ общем, не ожидала, что так увлекусь.

  • Aerin Proffitt
    2019-03-20 09:57

    I love exactly two things in this world; fire magic, and regency era romances. THIS HITS ALL MY FAVS. My mother has been trying to get me to read her books for YEARS and I finally got around to reading this (because its on audible now) and I literally had to pull over my car to call her and yell about talks about boats in a way that didnt make me want to vomit, it had characters i loved (or loved to hate) and the meaningful hand touch blew the rest of the Austens away... ha.I recently learned this is a series and she just finished the last one and I am EXCITED.

  • Kaja
    2019-04-01 09:52

    This review was first posted on my blog, Of Dragons and Hearts.Burning Bright is a curious book. It’s a historical romance with fantasy elements yet it’s actually very slow and light on romance – so maybe it’s a historical fantasy with romance elements? You know I’m rubbish at classifying books.I liked the story a lot, actually. Elinor makes an important decision and joins the royal navy instead of being bartered off to the highest bidder like a prize mare when her talent manifests. She can manipulate fire – and what makes her Extraordinary is the fact that she can put fires out as well as light them. Her father, a renowned scholar of people with magical talent, is a cruel, ambitious man, and I really respected Elinor from the start because she made the best decision she could in such a situation.There is the fact that Elinor is a bit of a special snowflake. Not only is her talent incredibly rare, she’s also the first woman to join the navy. And she remains the only female character in the story (well, there’s her sister but she’s barely there and has no real function in the story). I’d hoped we would meet more kickass ladies with awesome talents but nope, nothing so far. I’m really hoping this will change as the series progresses!Other than that, I liked the worldbuilding (the magical system) and the setting – a large part of the story takes place on a ship, there are pirates, and we sail the clear waters of the Carribean, so this was pretty unusual. I haven’t read many books with such a setting, so I enjoyed it a lot.I did wish the romance wasn’t quite so slow at times. I guess it’s more realistic from a historical point of view but I kind of wanted Captain Ramsay to make his move (or for Elinor to finally tackle the man) sooner. I dislike insta-love but a healthy dose of insta-lust wouldn’t hurt here because the entire romance is pretty clean. I know, I’m probably too used to traditional historical romances where the characters are tearing at each other’s clothes by Chapter Two, but romance was really, really slow here.There are also some interesting thoughts on war and killing in this book, which isn’t something you’d typically expect from a romance, so this makes it lean further towards the fantasy genre, I think. Elinor thinks a lot about the lives she takes in the naval battles she participates in – it’s rare to get such an in-depth exploration. I don’t really understand people who choose to be soldiers (like picking this as a profession – that’s just beyond me), but I do understand duty and the wish to protect people. So yeah, this was a welcome addition to a story that could have veered into fluff pretty easily.I’m curious to see how the story will continue. This one had a pretty decent ending (meaning that it could have functioned as a standalone) so I wonder whether we’ll get a new set of characters. I’ll be on the lookout for it for sure.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-08 14:36

    There was one aspect that really bothered me about this book (why can't they be better strategists when it comes to utilizing their powers!?!) but overall, this was an EXCELLENT fantasy romance, nearly perfect blend of the two genres. Fun read, highly recommend to lovers of romance or fantasy, especially if you're looking for stories set on the high seas.

  • Shelley
    2019-04-19 12:38

    *Source* Publisher*Genre* Fantasy*Rating* 4.0*My Thoughts**Full Review Posted @ Talk Supe Blog! publication: August 15th 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press

  • Mike
    2019-03-24 12:49

    Smoothly written and excellently edited, with an exciting and absorbing plot, this book kept me reading after I had planned to go to bed. Not without its flaws, but the strengths more than make up for it. If Temeraire is O'Brien meets Anne McCaffrey, this is O'Brien meets Julian May, or possibly early Sherry Tepper. Rather than the dragons of Temeraire, this Napoleonic naval story has Talents, who have what amount to psychic powers: telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy, clairvoyance, empathy, and, in the case of the protagonist, the ability to control fire. In fact, she has an Extraordinary-level ability with fire, which means she can extinguish it as well as lighting it. This is a great premise, and the author explores the fire aspect well: its pleasures, its danger, its limitations as well as its powers, and what it means for a well-brought-up young woman of the Regency period to have such an ability. In order to avoid a compelled marriage, she convinces the First Lord of the Admiralty to use her as a weapon, and that drives the rest of the plot. She must confront the realities of being in the military, including how she feels about killing enemies and about the death of friends. She must also learn to stand up for herself in a man's world, which provides a wonderful character arc, and she gets the opportunity, rare for a woman of her class and time period, to be a friend and colleague to men. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I did note some issues. These weren't, for a change, with the copy editing; that was excellent. Rather, they were details of the setting and one or two things that looked like plot holes. The idea of the Talents is wonderful, but I didn't get a sense of any depth of history to them. How were they regarded in earlier ages? What was the relationship of religion to them? (This could easily have been explored, as the ship's chaplain was an empath, though a very bad one.) How had they changed history - and how had they not changed history, so that England was fighting the Napoleonic Wars in what should have been a very different world? (This is also one of the weaknesses of Temeraire, or any historical fantasy, for that matter, and is, I assume, why Mary Robinette Kowal made the rule that the magic in her Glamourist Histories must be weak enough not to be able to change history very much.) I also didn't get a sense of how they were used outside a military context, which they surely would have been. Given that this is early-19th-century Britain, I would expect to see an elaborate set of social conventions around the talents, with special titles, forms of address, perhaps guilds with livery and officers and symbols and ritual, gradations of talent and training, odd medieval terminology and traditions. Instead, they felt as if they'd suddenly come into existence just a few years before the story was set (which was not what we were told). I could ignore all that, but there was also a question that kept occurring to me throughout the book: why don't the Scorchers (the fire-controllers) simply target the ships' magazines? Does their talent only work line-of-sight? This question could have been raised in order to be dismissed - but at one point the magazine is targeted. That seems like a plot hole to me. There's a convenient coincidence, too, when the protagonist finds the pirates' base. There's only the one, so I'll reluctantly allow it, especially since there's plenty of bravery and danger going on at the time. Just a couple more nitpicks, and I'll return to praising it. First, at one point it indirectly quotes a Rudyard Kipling poem ("Danegeld"), about a century too early, though I suppose Kipling could have been drawing on an existing saying. Second, and more importantly, there's some insistence that seeing black people in the West Indies was a strange novelty to the protagonist. It's now well established that there were plenty of black people in Britain around this period; there's at least one in Jane Austen, in fact. Possibly, as a sheltered daughter of a country family, she might not have encountered any, but they were hardly as exotic as it would seem from the way they're treated here. Going in, I thought this would be a romance. For a very long time, it wasn't, and I finally decided it wasn't going to be - and then a romance plot did turn up near the end after all, so I can't quite decide what to call it. Military adventure fantasy with psychic powers and a (late-arriving) romance subplot, I think. Whatever it is, I enjoyed it very much, loved the main character, and want to read more in the series. I received a copy via Netgalley for purposes of review.

  • Tina
    2019-04-13 10:58

    I must be under some stress. I saw this on my timeline today 03/18/17 and thought "hey that looks interesting." So I went to Amazon to see how much it was and saw that I had purchased it five days ago. Sigh.

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay)
    2019-04-03 14:57

    Full reviews to come, but Melissa McShane is definitely on my list of authors to keep watch on. I highly enjoyed this book!FULL REVIEWThis is a book set in Jane Austen-era England, aka when they were at war with Napoleon. Unlike Austen, this book uses the war as a major plot device. Our main character Elinor Pembrooke has always been the overlooked middle sister, the one without any sort of talent. But one morning she wakes up with her room on fire and that all changes -- Elinor has manifested an Extraordinary Talent, as what is known as a Scorcher (she has extreme power over fire).Her father takes this as license to marry her off for his own gain. Not seeing any other choice, Elinor runs away and turns herself and her talent in to the Navy for service against the pirates & the French. What follows is a book full of high seas adventure and a well-fleshed out magic system of many different "talents." There is also a romance that is not even a romance until nearly the end of the novel, but more so a well-built friendship between Elinor and my other favorite character of the book, Captain Ramsay. I feel confident that I'm not giving spoilers because you can see it coming quite easily, it just takes it's time getting there. Far from being all sunshine and roses, this book does touch on the grimy realities of living shipboard in the early 1800s and the horrors of war (aka killing other people, especially the quite grisly task of roasting them alive). Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected and I would highly recommend it if you're looking for a Regency-era adventure/alternate history, with just a dash of romance. Just what I needed right now!

  • Online Eccentric Librarian
    2019-04-06 15:37

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog Bright was a pleasant surprise and one of my favorite reads this year. Author McShane avoids so many of the usual cliches in the romance/historical romance/fantasy genre to give us wonderful but nicely nuanced characters in a brisk adventure. It is by no means a perfect book but it was one I was thinking about afterwards and wishing there were more in a series.Story: Elinor manifests a talent of controlling fire - a talent that is considered 'extraordinary' because of the depth of control she has over it. But she is a 21 year old in Regency England and there is little she can do with the talent other than be a brood mare to make more extraordinaries. To avoid her father's machinations, she convinces the royal navy to take her as a 'weapon' against Napoleonic and pirate forces. But she will find many complications onboard ship as she tests and pushes her powers to help the navy survive.Rather than wax eloquent on why I like the book, I'll give concise bullet points:- Avoids cardboard character syndrome of super good or super evil. Nearly every character is nuanced and if they become an adversary of Elinor, it's because of character defects or the mores of the era.- Avoids insta luv by giving us a beautiful slow burn of a romance that is very understated and never upstages the action.- Avoids the 'beautiful character' syndrome by making Elinor and her captain fairly plain and not beautiful or handsome. Elinor is courted by various people for her talent and not her looks.- Avoids romance cliches of attraction - Elinor and her captain are attracted to each other because of their characters. Elinor doesn't smell him (the old "he smelled like wood and cinnamon" cliche ugh), doesn't admire his physique, and doesn't spend paragraphs blushing or wondering what it would be like to kiss him.- Elinor doesn't spend the book being rude to the captain or others (a sign of a bad writer who can't figure out a way for the heroine to show mettle) and has quiet strength. Indeed, often she has to swallow her words and stay silent from the insults of various side characters.- The book flows nicely and the story is about the adventure and not the romance.- The magic is interesting and well described.- There are heavy consequences to impulsive actions. She does not mysteriously survive unscathed when jumping into unprepared situations- That cover!!Some nitpicks:- It would be easy to say this is Austen inspired because of the setting and because Elinor has quiet strengths much like so many Austen characters. But the wit and sparkle of an Austen isn't here, though Burning Bright's Elinor did remind me much of Elinor from Sense and Sensibility.- It did hit the cliche of "overheard key plot mystery" when our character is magically in the right place and the right time to overhear key points discussed by the bad guys.- Anyone spending only a few minutes thinking about the magic in the world (even though it was a rare talent) would have found better uses for the magic users.- Both the captain and Elinor are special snowflakesIn all, I have favorited this author on Goodreads and Amazon and hope for more books in this world. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.