September 9, 2013

The Burning Sky - Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky - Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Source/Format: BEA 2013 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life. (from Goodreads)

It's never a real question when it comes to me reading YA fantasy, as it will always happen. And when April said that I would enjoy the book, I immediately decided to push it up on the TBR pile. End verdict? The Burning Sky is a strong new addition to the ranks of fantasy YA, bringing elemental magic, a She's the Man twist and fairytale-esque plot.

The beginning of this book was quite slow. It was difficult for me to summon interest as we were taken through the day-to-day life of Iolanthe, and I wasn't particularly invested yet in her character. But once the action kicks off, there's no turning back. Even though there are occasional lulls, the plot keeps moving forward until we reach that crucial, if slightly painful ending.

Elemental magic (!) is an essential part of this book, as it's really what sets this story in motion. Iolanthe and Titus meet because of her errant, surprise use of elemental magic, and the rest becomes a series of plot turns and twists that involve intense training, Iolanthe disguised as a boy in Eton and a series of showdowns that leave the reader on the edge of their seat with bated breath.

Iolanthe is someone who I'd like to be, mostly because she's brave and capable and smart. While her hot head and stubborn nature occasionally gets her into scrapes, she manages to demonstrate a sense of loyalty and camaraderie that simply moved me. She certainly has a way to go before she's fully in control of her abilities, but that's something I can't wait to see happen when her journey continues. Plus, she's a freaking elemental Mage, which is already pretty awesome in itself!

Titus, however, is immediately the character for me in this book. By that, I mean that from his very first appearance, I already adored him. It appears that he's part of a privileged family, with duties and obligations to keep. And the boy is just so gosh darn responsible, taking on the weight of the world and then some. His courage, determination, intelligence, cunning and just being plain boy really worked for his character, and I was pretty much in love with him by the time the book came to an end. 

Together, these two jump through what feels like a billion hoops, all with the goal of keeping Iolanthe safe and undetected. It seems like every time they relax and let down their guard, something new happens to make them wary again. While the incidents start out smaller, they escalate until we hit the final confrontation. And that confrontation just broke my heart! I certainly had all the feels -- and you'll know why when you read it. 

There is one bit of the book that I found really fascinating: the Crucible. Seriously, that thing is wicked awesome and scary at the same time. But the invention of it is so simple, so well done that I must applaud Thomas for creating this item that I am now kind of obsessed with.

The Burning Sky wowed me, though it did start off a bit clunky and slow. It's such a subtle woven fantasy read, drawing me in close in a fashion that I don't notice until I'm finally enmeshed and invested. It will certainly be interesting to learn more about Iolanthe, Titus and the world they are fighting to protect in the sequel, and I look forward to more swoons and feels in the next book!


  1. I so need to read this book. Great Review!

  2. I'm reading this one now and am loving it. I agree that the beginning is a tad slow, but it picks up relatively quickly. I'm hoping to finish this one by the end of the day.


  3. I've heard a lot of great things about this book and most of the criticism has been with regard to the pacing. I wonder --- is this Thomas' debut? Because I've found that with most debut books, that tends to be the biggest issue. So excited for this one! If there's anyone's opinion that I trust on fantasy, it's yours!

  4. I'm the same way. I'll always try to read a YA fantasy if I'm put into contact with one. It's my favorite genre. And everything I've heard about The Burning Sky seems to solidify the fact that this is a book that I'll also adore. I'm glad you ended up really loving it, even if the beginning was a bit slow.

  5. The Crucible is amazing!! I loved this book! To pieces! LOVED Titus! Hot man of the month and everything loved. I cannot wait to read more of this series!! GREAT review, A!


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