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Burning Bright

(The Extraordinaries #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,719 ratings  ·  410 reviews
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 o ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published August 15th 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press
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Sanasai I would say it is balanced between historical/lightly fantasy and romance, but I found the navy vs. pirates plot to be well done and satisfying enough…moreI would say it is balanced between historical/lightly fantasy and romance, but I found the navy vs. pirates plot to be well done and satisfying enough to have stood on it's own. (less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
Aisling Zena
4 stars

To 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
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 wi
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
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 mar
Monty Cupcake ☠ Queen of Bloodshed ☠
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 ...more
Melissa McShane
Nov 11, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Re-read 5/21/18 in preparation for writing the next book in the series: I love having written this book, I'm proud of it, and what's the only thing I ever notice? That I wrote Wellington instead of Wellesley. Seriously, I do know the difference!

10/17/16: 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 wi
Jacob Proffitt
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,
I don’t want to give any of the story away, so let’s see how vague I can keep this. This is a historical fiction with fantasy elements, sort of an alternate history. When Elinor Pembroke is 21, the ability to manipulate fire awakens in her. Her tyrannical father wants to exploit this for personal gain, but Elinor seeks an alternate life to the one he has planned.

It’s written in the steady, deliberate pace and style of the Regency era. There are some common tropes such as the awkward meeting wit

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.
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 :) ...more
3.5 because it had pacing issues, rounded up to 4 stars because the proportion of history to fantasy was good. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it as I did with The Glamourist series, also regency fantasy, that I read last week.
Hailee (haibooklovers)
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
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
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 n ...more
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 ...more
Anna lost in stories *A*
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 ha ...more
Sara Kate
I enjoyed this! Reminded me of the Darkest London Series that I’m done with so this will give me that little bit of historical romance with a paranormal flare to it.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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 stay
Ann Lou
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you GR friends for bringing this book to my attention. A hidden gem.

Forced to marry or stay with parents are two paths in which Elinor has to choose. She decided to choose her own path, instead. Join the Navy and fight pirates with her fire! How cool is that?

I really like Elinor. She's strong, smart and has a will to survive.

I would have given this 5stars but something bothered me. Don't get me wrong, I like both MCs. It's just that there was never a hint that he likes her. Or maybe I ju
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-author
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 h
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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 ...more
Rosemarie Short
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 woul
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 Amer
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2019-reads

9-21-19 update:

Finally got around to reading it. Pretty good. Liked the fantasy alt history Regency setting. Liked the romantic conflict. Like scenes aboard ship.

Good read.

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.
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? ...more
Katie W
It's no secret that I love a good Regency story, especially one with a brave, strong female lead and Elinor is just that. She turns her back on all she knows when her father gives her an ultimatum--she has two options and she discovers a third and doesn't look back, even when times are very intimidating and scary.

As much as I love Regency balls, teas, courting, and the ton, it's refreshing to read a story that mainly takes place on the sea, in battles, and with the Royal Navy. And let's not for
3.5 stars

BURNING 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
Fabulous read!

Extraordonaires is an interesting series set in a Regency era where magical talent is manifest. I must admit I kept thinking about the Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses books and Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series. I really enjoyed this and am sad it took me so long to get around to it. In fact I purchased the next in the series, 'Wandering Sight', after reading 'Burning Bright.'
What more do you need? A young, talented woman, Elinor Pembroke, trodden down by an autocratic, self
Aerin Proffitt
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 it.
it 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 lear
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Melissa grew up a nomad, following her family all over the United States, and ended up living in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three very needy cats. Her love of reading was always a constant during those uncertain years, and her love of writing grew out of that. She wrote reviews and critical essays for many years before turning to fiction, and was surprised ...more

Other books in the series

The Extraordinaries (4 books)
  • Wondering Sight (The Extraordinaries, #2)
  • Abounding Might (The Extraordinaries, #3)
  • Whispering Twilight (The Extraordinaries, #4)

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