Monday, 9 September 2013

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release date: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 281
Source: Edelweiss

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

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 avenge 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.

The Burning Sky is one of the best YA fantasy novels I’ve read in a while! Amazing world building, beautiful writing, and incredible characters. There was such rich detail in everything. This book really stood out to me – it’s so well written and so riveting, I devoured it in just a day. And it definitely isn’t short! It’s quite long, in fact, which I loved because there was enough in there for me to appreciate the fantastic world that Thomas has created in her debut YA novel.

Iolanthe is an elemental mage, but she has no idea how powerful she really is. When she calls upon lightning to fix an elixir, she realizes the danger she’s in. Her guardian has always told her to trust no one, and that people will always abuse her powers and exploit her. But Iolanthe can’t help trusting her saviour, the prince of the Domain. Titus claims that protecting her is his main goal. But can she truly believe him? Iolanthe hides in the non-magic city of London along with Titus, but she has to blend in with everyone at his all-boys school. How? By disguising herself as a boy, of course.

I really loved Iolanthe’s character. She’s everything I could want in a protagonist. Smart, intelligent, quick-witted and unfailingly loyal. Iolanthe has a heart of gold, she really does. I couldn’t help empathizing with her right from the start. I was sucked into her life from beginning to end, and I really felt like I was taking the journey with her. I found Iolanthe’s disguise so entertaining. Archer Fairfax, her boy name, has really grown on me. And since everyone refers to Iolanthe as Fairfax on account of her disguise, I’ve started to think of her like that, too. And that makes her tougher, in a way. But she’s still Iolanthe, and still worried about her guardian and what he’s going through. Of course, the growing feelings she’s having about Titus aren’t helping at all.

I found myself really liking Titus too, though he’s quite cold most of the time. But it doesn’t take long to see that it’s just a mask, that he’s not really like that. Titus has a lot riding on him, since he’s the future ruler of the Domain, but still feels like he’s being played like a puppet. Titus’s mother used to be a Seer, and her visions regarding him have created his destiny. Titus’s every action revolves around his mother’s visions. I found that quite weird in the beginning, but I found myself really admiring his desire to keep his kingdom safe, and to keep Iolanthe safe. I didn’t like how he used her in the beginning, but I’m glad they’re honest with each other throughout. There are so many books with secrets lurking everywhere, especially between people who should trust each other, so this was really refreshing.

The romance in The Burning Sky is very unique. It develops slowly, and it’s very real. Iolanthe and Titus’s relationship starts off as just two people needing the other to get what they want, but they grow to really care for each other, until the point where they’d lay down their lives for one another. I felt that was really sweet. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of romance, but whatever there is, it’s beautiful.

There are so many concepts in this book that I think are genius. My favourite would have to be the Crucible. It’s a book that takes you to a realm of illusion, where you can experience different fairy tales or other heroic stories without any risk to your real body. If you die in the Crucible, you don’t die in real life. So that means you can take risks you wouldn’t normally take, and you can also create new and different aspects of the story you’re in. I’ve never read of anything like it before, so I absolutely loved it. Another thing I really enjoyed is the concept of vaulting. It’s similar to apparating in Harry Potter, so that will make it easier to understand. I haven’t come across anything like this since Harry Potter, and after encountering it in The Burning Sky, I wondered why it’s been so rare in books. It’s such a useful skill to have! You’ll realize that when you read this book.

The Burning Sky is filled with action, humour, witty dialogue and intense moments. I was on the edge of my seat almost throughout the book! I couldn’t take my eyes off the pages. It’s been a while since a non-sequel book has captivated me like this. I’ve never loved fantasy so much! This is definitely one of my new favourite series. I strongly urge everyone to pick this one up when it arrives in stores, because trust me, you will fall in love with it. I’m frantically awaiting the sequel already, even though I know I have about a year to wait.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing an ARC for review*

Rating: 5/5


  1. Yay :D Glad you loved this book too. <3 I thought it was amazing. Sigh. The romance. So good and real. Though there isn't much, like you said, but it was perfect :)

  2. Great review. I haven't been in the mood to read much fantasy lately, butt his sound like something I might enjoy.


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