Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Book One of the Elemental trilogy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 revenge 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.

What I Liked:

If any of you follow me on Twitter, then you know that, upon finishing, I declared that I absolutely LOVE this book! Seriously though. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and fantasy is my other favorite genre. Put them together... historical fantasy IS my favorite. Actually, to be even more specific, medieval high fantasy is my favorite genre. But I love when authors combine historical fiction and fantasy.

So, I really loved this book. I know some people found it slow, or even boring, or uninteresting, but this book was my type of read. I got a brain for the nitty-gritty details and the hardcore history and the explanations. Of course, sometimes there is TOO MUCH of all of that, but Thomas does an excellent job of bringing us into Titus and Iolanthe's world without overwhelming us.

Iolanthe tries to fix a mistake in a spell - and creates lightning. Prince Titus remembered a prophecy that his mother made, about a mage creating lightning, and so he stands in the exact spot his mother described in the vision, and he sees the lightning. He immediately goes to Iolanthe and hides her, before the Inquisitor arrives.

Titus knew about the mage that would create lightning, thanks to his dead mother's written visions, and so he created a place for the mage at Eton - he created the person of Archer Fairfax. So, Iolanthe becomes a boy, Archer Fairfax. At Eton, she hides from the Inquisitor.

The majority of the story takes place at Eton, or between Titus and Iolanthe. Titus makes it so Fairfax is Titus's best friend, so they go everywhere together. Titus teaches Iolanthe in the Crucible, a book of fairy tales. I know that doesn't make much sense, but basically, Titus and Iolanthe enter the book, and practice magic. I thought that this addition to the story was fascinating! A very unique idea.

Titus and Iolanthe have a rocky but interesting relationship. They are friends, but they're not. Titus doesn't tell Iolanthe everything, and Iolanthe hates that. He wants her to take down the Bane (who is even more of the villain than the Inquisitor), but she doesn't want to do that. She simply wants to get her guardian out of her mess, and away from the Inquisitor.

However, they eventually battle through their differences. Titus and Iolanthe definitely make up the couple in the story, and I'm pleased to say that I haven't detected a love triangle. Hopefully, there won't be one. Because I really like Titus, and I really like Iolanthe.

Titus... he is AMAZING. He is an excellent prince, a powerful mage, and a really great friend. I understand why he deceived Iolanthe, and though I wish he hadn't, I am glad he did. He's such an awesome character! Definitely a favorite male heroine.

Iolanthe is equally as amazing. They are the perfect couple because they complement each other very well! Iolanthe is a hard worker and she fights hard for what she wants. She rescued him, he rescued her. I seriously hope they stay together!

Okay, my review needs to mention the canary bit of this book. I loved it when Iolanthe turned into Miss Buttercup! That was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. That and the honey scene. Read the book - you'll love those parts as well! And for those of you who have read the book... you know what I mean!

I really can't say enough about this book. It was fantastic! The ending was a bit fast-paced, but it was a great ending, and it left plenty of room for the next books in the series.  I hope to see more of Titus and Iolanthe's relationship (NOT as friends), more magic, and more adventures!

What I Did Not Like:

My only complaint with this book would be that I wanted more from the romance. You all know Sherry Thomas is a historical romance author, right? So... more romance, Ms. Romance Author! I mean, Iolanthe and Titus are definitely the couple, in terms of the romance in this book (and hopefully, series), and they know how the other feels, but I was hoping for more.

Conversely, I love how the romance isn't dominate or overwhelming. But... more, please!

Would I Recommend It:

Definitely! This is going on my all-time-favorite list for sure. I managed to get an ARC of this book with the original over, with the whirlpool, and I'm going to get a hardcover copy, with the orange fire. Only with favorites do I obtain multiple formats and covers!


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. Romance is important to me, even if I don't want it to be the most important part of the book. But, I hope to see more in the next books!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I pretty much NEED to read this because fantasy is my favorite genre and I also loove historical fiction. I also have seen that other people wanted more romance. Being a big fan of romance myself, I feel like I'll think the same. despite that... I'm still realyl excited to read this one!

    1. YES! Yes, you do! Those are two of my favorites as well. I think that despite the fact that the romance is a tad bit lacking, you'll enjoy the story :D

  2. This sounds great! Loved your review!

  3. Thanks for a great review! Everytime I read a review for this book I get the itch of reading it right away and my TBR list be damned!

    And now since you've mention it mixes fantasy with historical fiction... MUST-READ-SOON!!

    1. Pili, you NEED to read this book! It should be on your TBR list like, right now! ASAP :)

  4. Yay! Happy you loved it too <3 it was just PERFECT. I loved the characters so much :D Titus is amazing. I didn't find it boring either. <3 But yeah. I do wish like you that there had been more romance. Still, so damn happy that there wasn't any hint of a love triangle :D The romance was good, though, just wanted more. Hopefully in the sequel(s) <3

    1. Titus Titus Titus! I love him a lot lot lot. He's like, my idea of a perfect historical fantasy hero. But ah, the romance. I am also VERY happy that there was/is no love triangle. Hopefully, it stays that way!

  5. I can not tell you how much I am dying for this book! I'm trying to figure out how I will squeeze this into my TBR soon!!! I'm so glad that you loved it! I want to learn more about Titus for sure. I also love historical fiction, then add fantasy to it...right up my alley!

    Crystal @ Crystal in Bookland

    1. Aww, Crystal, it's the way of life! The TBR list never ends! But I'm really glad I got the chance to read this one. Hope you read and enjoy this book! <3

  6. Awesome review I just love your reviews Alyssa I love love historical fiction I never read a book with historical fiction combine with fantasy wow ohh wow this book looks and sounds great! thanks for sharing hun!

    1. Thank you, Katiria! Historical fiction is amazing, right? Historical fantasy is even better ;) Hope you read and love this one!


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