The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Elemental Trilogy #1
Published September 17th 2013 by Balzer + Bray
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.
**An ARC was provided by Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review**
The Burning Sky was a book I immediately knew I wanted to read. Elemental magic something I can never get enough of, so the promise of a female elemental prodigy was really a no-brainer for me. With a fresh take on fantasy world-building and two memorable main characters, The Burning Sky proved entertaining and compelling enough to hold my interest from start to finish! There are some bits that I wish would have been explained differently, or in more detail but all things considered, it was an enjoyable read.
The Burning Sky is told in dual narratives, alternating between Iolanthe, the prophecised elemental mage and Prince Titus. I thought both were equally engaging as MC's and the dual narrative really worked well with this type of story. It never felt repetitive, like dual POV's can sometimes when the characters relive the same moments and as readers we end up reading the same scenes, just from different perspectives...which can be frustrating sometimes. Instead, the switch in narratives picked up right where it would leave off with the other character. Nice. I did feel like we got to know Titus a bit more than we did Iolanthe and while I see why the story had to be so (Titus can seem a bit conflicting at times, so we need more input on his motives & thoughts), I still was hoping that Iolanthe would be the bigger focus of this story, because: elemental mage!!
The story reads pretty quick, especially considering it's size and I never found myself bored. The world-building isn't all that extensive but enough to have an understanding of how things are and how the different kinds of magic work. In fact, I found myself wishing there had been a bit more detail or background on magical items like the Crucible, a magical book that works as a portal and a gateway for alternate worlds that are kind of like our version of virtual reality! It's something I hope we'll be getting more information on as the trilogy progresses.
As is usually the case with me, I enjoyed the fact that The Burning Sky allowed for a female MC to have most of the power...and to do some of the rescuing for herself. I thought that both the male and the female characters were well balanced, there was both a male and female here as well as a male and female villain. The heroes were equally courageous and bold, while the baddies were comparably terrifying and powerful. There is a slight romantic storyline that peeks out early on but it's very slow to go anywhere from there. Mostly, it was like a friendship developing with some romantic undertones. I was expecting the romance so it didn't affect my impression of the book; I felt that it worked well with the plot but it never became the main focus.
I'd recommend The Burning Sky to fans of YA fantasy reads who enjoy a good story. The plot isn't always as action oriented as I was expecting but it still held my interest. I thought the non-magical bits were entertaining and even funny! It's a solid start to a promising trilogy and while I did have a few minor issues, on the whole it was a fun and exciting read.