Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Burning Sky

by Sherry Thomas

Summary from good reads

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.

Thoughts on the book

I’ve had this book sitting around since my first trip to BEA when I’d gotten an ARC.  I can’t believe it’s been sitting in my room for two years and I never bothered to open it.  Lately I’ve gotten annoyed at the stacks of books all over the place that keep falling down, so I grabbed the first book I hadn’t read from the top of the largest pile and cracked it open.  I didn’t even bother reading the description – I hadn’t read it and the cover looked cool and fantasy-like, odds were good that I’d like it.  Later that night I finished it and promptly got the second in the series.

My Review

This book started with a paragraph stating what was happing, Archer Fairfax, a boy who attended Eton College, had broken his femur and was about to return to school  The next paragraph stated that everything in the former paragraph was a lie.  A very intriguing start, especially when you turn to chapter one and it takes place in a mage-world about a young girl who could control fire.  Then abruptly the book switches to a boy on a balcony seemingly being held prisoner before promptly switching back to the girl.

The book starts with so many things unexplained; it takes a little bit to figure out what is going on.  Personally these are my favorite books (The Golden Compass, Vampire Academy, and The Summer Prince just to cite a couple), I hate it when the author lays things out for you, I enjoy figuring out the world in which the characters.  If you don’t like these types of setups, just stick with it, it doesn’t take too long for things to start making sense.

Burning Sky is a whirlwind of magic, fantastical creatures, a horrible person that destroys people’s minds, political intrigue, 1800s British school shenanigans, and fairy tales.  I love practically every part of this book.  Iolanthe is exactly what you want out of a main character, with a touch of realism to her.

When she first finds out about her destiny she doesn’t want any part of it and leaves.  She is powerful and smart and values self-preservation.  However she is manipulated and returns to help Prince Titus.  It takes Iolanthe a while before she realizes that she really does want to help and that given a second change she wouldn’t abandon the cause.

Prince Titus takes a little bit to start liking.  When I first met him I felt bad for him, then I couldn’t understand why Iolanthe was being so awful to him, he helped her so much and asked her to help him.  Granted there is a great possibility that she would die doing what he asked, but she didn’t even stick around to get more information, she outright said no to her sovereign and left.  That’s about when I started to not like Titus so much, he is insanely manipulative, and always gets his way, no matter the cost.  He does redeem himself though, his intentions are good, but his execution of them is not.  He learns as the book goes on and he’s probably my favorite character.

The only part of this book that didn’t sit completely right with me is the love interest.  It seemed a little forced and predictable.  The only thing that made it more palatable is being able to get inside Titus and Iolanthe’s heads.  Titus was more of an infatuation; he wanted Iolanthe to love him because she was smart and gorgeous and would make her trusting him easier.   Iolanthe fell for him because he was handsome, her prince, extremely nice, and not to mention her savoir.  But then her feelings changed the more she got to know him.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, the plot is very cool, the settings are amazing (I’d love to go into the Crucible!), and the characters are pretty well developed and much more complex than you would initially think.  I’m giving this one a 10/10.  And now that my review is done I’m off to read The Perilous Sea!

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