The Burning SkyHardback Elemental Trilogy
- Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
- Format: Hardback | 449 pages
- Dimensions: 142mm x 212mm x 46mm | 540g
- Publication date: 17 September 2013
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0062207296
- ISBN 13: 9780062207296
- Sales rank: 55,856
Magic, romance, and intrigue combine in this extraordinary novel--the first in the Elemental Trilogy--for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and Kristin Cashore. Publishers Weekly called it "a wonderfully satisfying magical saga" in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews said it "bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success."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.
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By Carla *jen7waters* 29 Jun 2014
* * * REJOICE! NO INSTA-LOVE OR LOVE TRIANGLE :D * * *
Man, I'm so happy I gave this book a chance, because it's fabulous! o/
The story can be a bit confusing in the beginning, but that only made me want to keep reading until I understood it all, especially when I was enjoying the world, and loving the main character so much.
So, this book is about a very powerful girl, Iolanthe, who can control the elements like no one else, and because of that, the bad guys are after her. But then comes Titus, a prince who will do anything to protect her. She's no damsel in distress though, nor is Titus your typical prince charming---on the contrary, he's quite distant and cold towards Iolanthe for, like, half of the book, not to mention, a manipulative liar and a jerk. There's a reason for this behaviour though, and he explains it later on, but until then I suffered. Really, SO MUCH ANGST.
My favorite part of the whole story is when Titus transforms Iolanthe into a canary, because all the scenes are painfully adorable, and also because it's only after that, that I truly started liking him. I love how he finally lets his guard down a little bit, even if that's only because he thinks she won't remember any of it once she's human again. HA!
But really, I loved it all---I'm a sucker for stories about girls dressing up as boys and Iolanthe does it beautifully; plus, the shapeshifting! And the secret passages! And Eton College! And how Titus and Iolanthe are both so clever.
Sherry Thomas, ma'am, I commend you for writing a story about a young girl mage who has to hide in the mortal world, disguised as a boy; and for giving her an apparently doomed, tortured, protective-but-not-to-the-extreme Prince as a love interest---who, btw, sometimes turns her into cute little animals. Now I just need the sequel!
By Debby (Snuggly Oranges) 15 Sep 2013
The Burning Sky is one of those books with a premise and a cover that pretty much had me salivating. It sounded perfect for me. It hit all the right notes. And while I recognized many points on which the book could have been better, this was such an engaging and absorbing read that I loved it all the same.
Let's get the elephant out of the room: the romance. It is... amazing. Irresistible. Addicting. Iolanthe and Titus have a chemistry that drips off the page. It didn't take long at all for me to be head over heels for them. It was just the right kind of development for me: starting off with mild interest, turning to disdain, turning to fervently denying any affections and trying to resist... but it being inevitable and unavoidable. All around though, the slightest mention of any affection between the two main characters had my heart pounding. It was just so beautiful. And then you end up with irresistibly adorable quotes like...
"Now he could work her likeness into any story of his choosing.
Now he could fight dragons for her.
And now he could kiss her again." - The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
This leads perfectly into my immense love for the main characters. Iolanthe, the elemental mage of prophecy, gets recruited to go on a quest to save the realm from the Bane, a tyrant mage of Atlantis, by the Prince, Titus. The book actually gets told from the alternating perspectives of Iolanthe and Titus. If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm not typically a fan of alternating perspectives. But, here it wasn't alternating chapters - sometimes they switched multiple times in one chapter, and each switch felt necessary. Not only because you see the two characters gradually falling for each other (which is irresistible, as we have established), but also because they have such different motives and perspectives during their mission. Their voices, in that sense, were also really distinctive. Titus, the prince, is absolutely charming in every way, even though he can act like a prick - and does that as an act to the outside world. But his bravery and dedication run so deep that I absolutely love him. Iolanthe starts off completely frightened by the situation, and then starts resenting Titus (due to spoilery circumstances). Over the story though, she develops and grows in a huge way, and by the end she is so courageous and confident, that it's almost like she's a totally different person. It's character development at its very best.
The plot itself had its ups and downs. The beginning was strong, with Titus coming to rescue Iolanthe and them running to safety while being introduced to the prophecy and the two wonderful main characters. The middle, however, could have been way stronger. While I liked reading more about the characters and the budding romance, the plot had its moments where I was wondering where in the world it was going. However, the end pulled it all together again. It was fast-paced, heart stopping action that I just loved, with magic, dragons, battles, political intrigue, etc. In short, it took a while to get there, but the plot was convincing too.
So while for most of this book I was so overcome by feels that I managed to ignore any prevailing negatives, I do recognize that this book wasn't perfect. Most of my qualms (in fact, all of them) related to the world building. See, young adult high fantasy is hard to accomplish. Younger readers are less tolerant of the long exposition sections typical to high fantasy: the info-dumps that create the world. However, in high fantasy, you're creating a world from scratch, so to be thorough, those info-dumps are almost necessary. The Burning Sky did not contain those info-dump expositions, so younger readers won't be scared off. But, this means the world was a bit underdeveloped for my taste, and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions.
For instance, there are different types of magic: elemental magic, subtle magic, and mind magic. What each type entails and where the boundaries lie remains extremely vague. Also, all throughout the book I was wondering whether the people in the human world knew about the existence of magic or not - because it's never explicitly stated either way. And I was also confused about the intersection between the magic realms and the nonmage realms - are they in the same plane, are they different dimensions, or what? I couldn't figure it out, and as a bit of a world building fanatic, that did bother me. I wanted a map (especially of the capital city in the magic realm) and I just wanted clarity, especially also in some scenes where magic was used and the descriptions were so rushed and vague that I couldn't picture it that well in my imagination. But, as a reader who obsesses over world building, the fact that I managed to ignore this issue so well, due to the overwhelming and beautiful feels, means that the book doesn't suffer so much from this. It's still an absolutely wonderful read. (Here's hoping this is cleared up in the sequel!)
Seriously, this is a favorite. This is a Debby BookÃ?Æ?Ã?Â¢"Ã?â??Ã?Â¢. This beautiful story, and especially the romance, had me flailing around on my bed, seriously stifling sobs and squeals. It struck me in the heart like Cupid's arrow. I will be rereading this so often, and the world building issue is almost negligible at this point. I just love it! I will go crazy for an ARC of the sequel, because I need that in my hands as soon as humanly possible.
People who like FEELS (AKA everyone), and fans of Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone.
By Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books) 29 Aug 2013
The Burning Sky got off to and not that gripping beginning but I had heard that from other reviewers that have similar taste, so I plodded through. Soon enough it did pick up. There were some themes that seemed to be borrow from other fantasy novels, but it is mostly ones that are rather universal, so I can't discredit that.
I really came to care for Iolanthe, even though even in my head I have no idea how to say it. She is strong and smart, and trusting. Her interactions with Titus kept everything moving, especially when she has to pose as a boy in order to remain safe.
They go on an epic adventure the ultimate quest, and at its heart, Titus seems to want the best for the kingdom, and he will lay down his life for Iolanthe even while they are both at risk because of the mission.
The world is complex but I really got into it and understood everything. The writing is vivid and it is almost like I am there with them. There is also a surprising amount of character growth and emotion.
The romance is an undertone that builds but there is the threat of death and this seemingly insurmountable task before them.
It is in 3rd person, but it never bothered me, and everything flowed naturally. Sometimes with that point of view, I feel detached, but that never happened here, and
Bottom Line: Good start with a strong main character.
"Sherry Thomas's The Burning Sky is a marvelous, magical adventure set in a beautifully imagined world. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough."--Rae Carson, bestselling author of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series
Back cover copy
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.