Monday, September 16, 2013

[Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas]

"The Burning Sky"
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Pages: 464
Genre: YA Fantasy
Date Published: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


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 Thoughts:

I don't even know how to review this book.  To say that it was gradual reading experience would be an understatement.  It was like a long slow climb.  In the beginning you have no idea why the hell your not just turning around and throwing in the towel, but then you get to the top of the mountain and the view is so awesome that your glad you completed it.  To be completely honest I wanted to put this book down till about the 20% mark.  (I was reading an eARC)  I was bored and disconnected from the story.  I liked all of the elements, but I was just plain bored.  Then about 25% I started to love the characters and from there on out I loved this book.   

I loved the world building and character development in these pages, but on the other hand, I think that was also it's downfall for me.  I'll be the first to admit that this book went great places, but it started out extremely flat.  I think, had the characters started more fleshed out, I would have been more connected from the start.  Cause like I said when we got to the all boys boarding school and The Burning Sky turned into "She's the Man" (remember that movie?) with magic, I was hooked!  Plus, it made me wonder why I had never thought of that.  It was pretty much the best idea ever.  But sadly, the first bit of the book was not as brilliant as the rest of it and I didn't care about the characters at all till later on. 

The world building in this book was superb.  Thomas has so many layers in her tale weaving that you got to see so many places.  Magical places with princes and mages and dragons and unicorns, England in the late 1880's and even the pages of a magical training book.  She left so many magnificent details about all of these places on the pages that it pulled you right into the world she was creating.  And the way they all blended together was awesome to behold!  

I also have to admit that I really loved the voice that Thomas chose to use in telling her story.  The whole duel point of view told in third person, totally worked for me and made the flow of the story work.

Now, I've already talked a little bit about the characters in this book, so I'm not going to repeat myself, but rather talk about the characters once they had won me over.  Iolanthe was hilarious!  Seriously as soon as she started going to that all boys boarding school and filling Archer's shoes, I fell in love with her personality.  Thomas gave her the perfect pairing of masculine and feminine traits.  She could shoot off a crude school boy joke and also have moments of girlishness.  She was open and vulnerable, but also blocked off and self assured.  Titus grew on me.  He didn't seem like the nicest guy and he kept me guessing, but I came to like what he had to put out in the world.  He was charismatic and also a bit wounded.  He also had two roles to fill, a cold ruler and a boy who knew that he had to follow his destiny and do anything within his power to make that happen.

The romance was sweet and unique.  It's not normally that a romance stems from a friendship, but this one was drenched in it.  It made all of Iolanthe and Titus's interactions fun to watch as the navigated their relationship.  I think that the setting of the boys school and the prophecies surrounding these two really added to the romance.

I'd love to give this book  a 4 unicorn rating, but I just can't do it, cause I would have given the first quarter no more than 2 stars.  This forced me to put the two together and in the end I've handed it a 3.5 unicorn rating.  (I'm telling you this cause we all know half of a unicorn head would look weird as all get out)  So even though this book started out rough for me, I can say that, after completing this book, I'm a fan of this series and I can't wait to see what happens in book 2! 

3.5 Unicorns = I liked it but it had it's issues!


Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

I have this one for review and am pretty excited about it. Good to know that it has kind of a rough start but is worth sticking with until it really starts to get good.

Giselle said...

OMG She's the Man! Bahaha that movie was entertaining but yeah not particularly profound haha. I'm wary to read this because despite all the rave about it (of because of it) I feel like it won't live up to the expectations. I've heard the world building took a bit to get rolling at first. It also sounds like characters in this are a hit or miss, maybe? I already like the sounds of t his Iolanthe chick though! Unfortunate name and all >.< Glad it did grow on you after a while but yeah it's hard to rate especially high if there was a part in the book that doesn't live up to the rating. I'm still curious enough to try it but I think I will wait until the hype has died down.

Eileen said...

Ahh I DNFed this one basically at 3% because it started off SO weird for me, but I'm kind of wishing I had kept reading because of how much better it seems to get around 25%. I'm glad that the world-building was so complete and well done, because it seems like that rarely happens anymore, especially when it comes to fantasies and dystopians. I'm also really glad that the characters got really entertaining and funny after a while!

Fantastic review, Christianna! <33

Nicole said...

As you know I freaking loved this book! I didn't have a problem with the start but I am starting to realize that I put blinders on when it comes to fantasy books. I am not very critical and I just love everything about em! I liked Iolanthe from the beginning but when she started dropping jokes with the boarding school boys I just died. It definitely took a turn for the even better at that point. And yes the romance *sigh* just perfect. I cannot wait to read the second book already. Fortunately I have distractions since it's a long wait.