Book Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Book Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Also in this series: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 17, 2013
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It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been 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 most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he 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 tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.
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I’d been interested in this book for a while. I’d seen it at the library a bunch and it was always one of those books that I was like, I’m sure I would like that, but I haven’t heard anything about it much, so who knows if it’s good.

I’m here to tell you that this book is GREAT. Stop putting The Burning Sky off; it’s one of my new favorite YA Fantasies.

The setting flows between a magical world and our own. The main character even has to be two different people, one a mage girl who is suddenly on her own when her guardian is captured by the enemy. The other, a nonmagical boy at an English boarding school, where she is in hiding from her enemies. Her companion is a mage prince, who believes she is the great mage prophesied about to bring down his kingdom’s enemies. She doesn’t quite believe him, but she sees no other way to remain safe than by staying with him. The two must navigate a magical war while at the same time learn their Latin verses so they don’t fail out of school.

This book is absolutely charming, clever, and romantic. Much of the book takes place at Eton, the boys’ school Prince Titus and Iolanthe Seabourne (disguised as Archer Fairfax) are attending. Thanks to some tricky magic, Iolanthe passes as Fairfax quite well, though of course, Titus falls in love with her anyway, no matter how hard he tries to think of her as a boy.

There are some really interesting moments in this book: Iolanthe spends time being a canary, Titus owns a book called The Crucible that he can go into and train without fear of dying, and of course the storyline of Iolanthe trying to pass as Archer Fairfax day after day was entertaining. There are terrifying villains – The Inquisitor, who made me think of Umbridge, though that’s probably just because they were both called Inquisitor—plus Titus and Iolanthe’s forbidden romance. Well, semi-forbidden. It’s mostly because Titus knows he’s going to die and he doesn’t want anything distracting Iolanthe. But, as in any good YA novel, that doesn’t stop our two main characters from falling love anyway.

I loved the development of there relationship. It’s not love at first sight, and even once they become friends, it’s a rocky road. Nothing about their situation is easy and that only adds strain to their already strained relationship. It’s one of those “long journey” romances that I’m sure only gets more complicated in the second book.

The writing here is excellent; I was never bored, and I found myself eagerly anticipating when I could sit down to read again. Even the parts of the book where the plot may not have been zipping along were still entertaining and interesting, and I didn’t find myself skimming at all (which is actually pretty unusual, I get very impatient).

This is a great one for fans of High Fantasy, like Throne of Glass or Grave Mercy (or Sabriel—it really reminded me of Sabriel at times) and anyone who likes Harry Potter. SO that’s pretty much everyone. Everyone should just read this book.

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