The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
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. --Summary from Goodreads
I have been trying to up my fantasy reads this year and happened to run into this high fantasy on Goodreads. Because I was going to see the author at an event I decided to bump it towards the top of my TBR list. Though it was a bit of a confusing start, and perhaps because I haven’t read many high fantasy’s it took me a while to adjust, I really enjoyed getting pulled into this world.
I was a bit confused at the beginning as to what time this story was set in. We are given two dates that seem centuries apart but are actually happening at the same time? I didn’t know what to think. However, after a few chapters I discovered that the times did indeed coincide but one was the year for the mage realm and the other for England. Once I realized that I was able to fully enjoy the mixture of the Victorian England with the mage realm. It’s like Harry Potter in a way, where there are two separate world and only one knows about the other.
After a series of events where her elemental powers manifest into something beyond amazing, Iolanthe finds herself ripped from her old life and on her way to an all-boys school in Victorian England where she is in hiding from the Bane, a tyrant who wants to capture her, with the help of Prince Titus.
Let me just say that Iolanthe is an awesome heroine but she also makes an amazing boy. When she first arrived at Eton College, where the prince had spent years creating an identity for the person in his mother’s vision, I was as nervous as Titus as to how she would pull off being a boy but she fit right in, armed with an arsenal of insults and swagger. She’s quick and smart and though she never wanted this destiny thrown upon her, she rises to the task despite her fear.
The relationship between Iolanthe and Titus is a mixture of desire, disgust, and despair. Titus is protecting Iolanthe but only so he can train her to confront the Bane and hopefully destroy him. Iolanthe just wants to stay in hiding and live a semi-normal life. Titus basically cons her into creating blood oath with him leaving her little option but to train or else endure excruciating pain. You kind of wanted to kill Titus at this point but, like Iolanthe, there is no way to fully hate the boy who carries so much on his shoulders.
My favorite parts of the book was when they were in training in the Crucible, a book that they can enter and run fairytale and legend simulations in order to exercise their powers. They can even set it up so they can fight against dragons, how cool is that! In the Crucible you can get hurt, and even die, but it doesn’t physically carry over into the real world. And to exit the book all they have to say is “and they lived happily ever after.” Isn’t that awesome!
The world Sherry Thomas has created is a mixture of fantasy and historical and I love it. This story has good pacing and plot and the cast of characters, main and side (my favorite being Kashkari), really bring it all together for one great read. If you love fantasy, you must try out the Burning Sky.