Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Series: The Elemental Trilogy (bk. 1)
Genera: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Historical fiction
Subjects: supernatural, magic, mages, elemental abilities
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: ARC page count: 449 pgs. Hardcover: 464 (?)
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer + Bray
Summary/ product description: “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.”

My Review: When I found out that this book was partially set in England in 1883, I didn’t want to read it. I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I hate historical dialogue and words. British words confuse and annoy me. And I don’t really like books written in 3rd person. But when I received this book as an ARC, and when I heard good things about it on TeaTime with EpicReads, I had to read it. This book may have not been the most exciting book I’ve ever read, but for a hist-fic fantasy, it’s not bad. It took me more than 4 days to get through it, but I wasn’t bored or skimming.
I loved the magic in this book. I though it was going to be copying Harry Potter, because the wand and Latin spells, and the boarding school, but it was very different. (For one, the boarding school was not for wizards. It was just a regular boys boarding school). I really love stories in which the main characters can control elements. Like the House of Night series, Vampire Academy, or the show Avatar: The Last Airbender. Iolanthe, an elemental mage, could control Fire, Water and Earth, but not Air. And somehow she could make a lightning bolt come down from the sky.
There was also something called subtle magic. It’s spells and wand that can do thing like change you shoes and clothes, or make you see things far away. It’s for useful things. There’s also vaulting, which it teleportation. Titus is a master at it.
There’s also different realms. Mage realms. I’m not sure if the mage realms are a parallel world, or something like a hidden world or country similar to in the Mortal Instruments series. Maybe they’re cloaked islands? It mention Atlantis a lot, so maybe an island. There are a lot of magical creatures. Dragons, wyverns, and so many more. There’s just so much that I became confused. The world building could use a little work.
I felt like the main characters were a little flat. Iolanthe and Titus reminded me of Rachel and Logan from Defiance, but without the 1st person narration, they don’t have much personality. I did love the humorous dialogue. Especially when Iolanthe was pretending to be a boy, Archer Fairfax. She was able to pull off a cocky boy attitude perfectly. There was a little romance between Iolanthe and Titus. Nothing too in depth. Some kissing and flirting. I’m hoping book 2 will have more. My favorite parts of this book were when Iolanthe pretended to be Archer Fairfax, or when she was turned into a canary. Also some of the scenes where they’re in that fairytale world.
This book is similar to other fantasy books, but I think it’s unique. I haven’t read many historical set fantasy, so I don’t have many to compare them too. I’d say this is kind of Harry Potter with a girl main character. But if you liked Definace by C.J. Redwine, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, or Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, then you might enjoy this. Or even books like the Unicorn Chronicles series by Bruce Colville. This book is mostly fantasy with some very late 1800s British speech.
Cover Art Review: My ARC has a different cover than the hardcover. I like both versions. The hardcover has a beautiful fiery dragon/phoenix/wyvern on the front. I love the colors, and feathers. The castle is cool on the ARC. It’s upside-down. I feel like there should have been more lightning on the hardcover. Fire may be the main element that the character likes to use, but controlling lightning and air is the struggle. 

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