Review of BURNING BRIGHT, by Melissa McShane
Rated 5 of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
This novel is a treasure for readers who love Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books (about the Napoleonic Wars being fought with military dragons) and for aficionados of Amanda Quick’s period stories of the Arcane Society (sleuths with supernatural or psychic powers).
Melissa McShane presents us with an alternate history in which a few members of society are born with certain paranormal abilities. Those whose abilities are stronger, grander, or even deadlier than most are called Extraordinaries. Elinor Pembroke is an Extraordinary Scorcher. Her younger sister is a Shaper, able to form herself into whatever shape is most pleasing to others. Elinor causes things to burst into flame — which she can also extinguish at will and from a distance.
Elinor’s disagreeable father wants to arrange a marriage for her to a Mover or a Bouncer, because his hobby is a sort of breeding program for paranormals. (Movers can move objects with their minds and can even fly. Bouncers can disappear and reappear in a distant place, so long as the place is well known to them.) Elinor flees her tyrannical father and joins the British Navy, to help fight the Spanish and the French (who have paranormals of their own), and to help rid the seas of pirates sponsored by enemy governments.
Readers will be enthralled at the page-turning action, original situations, dangers, heroics, and romance of this engaging and well crafted story. Don’t miss Burning Bright by Melissa McShane.
This writer received an advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest, objective review.