When I first picked up this book, I kept staring at the author's name. I recognized it, but I couldn't remember where I had seen it before. When I looked it up after finishing this book, it made sense that she would be the author of a great book I read a whole ago, Servant of the Crown. This book is just as good, if not better, and it truly shows Melissa McShane's ability to weave together a world similar and yet entirely unlike our own. I greatly enjoyed losing myself in the alternate universe she created in Burning Bright, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Elinor Pembroke has grown up feeling completely normal, although in her world, this means she is boring and unlikely to ever make a good match. When she wakes up one morning with her bedroom on fire, she is able to extinguish it with a thought, and her whole life is turned upside down. Elinor is an Extraordinary Scorcher, the only one known in England, and her father sees this as a great opportunity to marry her off to a lord. Elinor balks at the idea, and when her father threatens her, she flees to join the Navy. There she is assigned to Captain Miles Ramsay's ship, and she soon learns the true extent of her abilities. After having lived for 21 years as a person of little consequence, now she sees her own importance and builds up the courage to live as she sees fit. Battling pirates and building friendships with her fellow seamen, she goes on a journey that will take her further than she has ever gone before.
The world the author built is amazing, so I want to go over that briefly. In this world, there are many people with talents - Bounders (ability to teleport), Discerners (ability to feel others' emotions), Seers (ability to see into the present and future), Movers (ability to move things with a thought), Healers (ability to heal - obviously), and Scorchers (ability to create fire). I may be missing a few, but those were the ones that stood out to me. There are some talented people who are considered Extraordinary, and this makes their talent even more thrilling. For example, an Extraordinary Mover can fly, and an Extraordinary Scorcher can control and extinguish fire, not just create it. Extraordinaries are extremely rare, and so they are valuable not just for marriage but also in times of war. That is what allowed Elinor to join the Navy, despite the fact that she is a woman.
The relationship between Elinor and Miles developed slowly. And I mean s-l-o-w-l-y. In the end, though, it made everything that much more heart-wrenching and sweet. Throughout the story, Elinor works to build up both her talent and her courage, and Miles is subtly helping her become the woman she is meant to be. You will root for Elinor and fall for Miles, and their love is one you'll wish you had if you don't have it already. Their characters are relatable and unique, and this helps the reader become attached to them and feel their emotions as they read. When I click emotionally with the characters, I know it's a good book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, romance, and historical themes. It was such an enjoyable read, and the next book is sure to be just as well done.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**