Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kaniesha Reviews: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Burning Sky
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release date: September 7th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: high fantasy, romance, magic, adventure
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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.

Review: I'll start off this review like I did on Goodreads: It took me 50+ days to read this. I started this on November 25, 2013 and finished on January 15, 2014. That's a long time for some who can normally knock out a book this size in 2 days if it's interesting enough.
I can not narrow down what exactly bothered me so much about this - so I'm reading other reviews to see if I can get my subconscious to agree.
This review seems to describe my thoughts and feelings pretty accurately.

While reading, I didn't pick up any problems like I normally would. It was very normal and paced well enough but there was something missing. I realize now that it might have been the compliance and friendship between main characters and partners that makes me love books.

The two main characters, Iolanthe Seabourne and Prince Titus VII, have to work together at the very beginning. Pretty much just because Titus says so until he explains the full situation. From there on it's a lot of ducking and hiding and Titus being "princely". They go to school, they play sports, Iolanthe hangs out with boys from school, Titus trains Iolanthe, etc.

The book really doesn't hook you in until about the 50% mark. From this point on we get to see their relationship finally - FINALLY - grow into what it should be. That's the best part of this book! Their relationship grows naturally and beautifully.

Don't get me wrong, Iolanthe disregarding his feelings and being rude to him is what anyone in her situation would do and I applaud her for it (he was completely disregarding her's by making her follow his plans in the first place). She didn't want to die. She wanted to be happy and safe but he would not - in his defense, could not - let her. But once she starts gaining control of her powers she becomes more ready to do what Titus is asking of her. She is strong and realizes her total and complete potential. She works hard and it pays off in the end.

The world building is a bit of a mess. I have a vague understanding of it but I do know that you can use magic in both worlds. At some points I'm not sure where they are or where they're going, they're switching back and forth between the mage world and the nonmage one. I'm not 100% sure how this is done but there are footnotes/notes in the back of the book that I haven't read yet (I'm not sure if I ever will). The only sensible conclusion I have is that mages can be in either world they choose but nonmages have to be in the nonmage world.

The antagonists are just "bad guys". I never got a good read on them. Right now, I'm not sure what their point was or is. They're trying to capture Iolanthe to - kill her? Drain her life? Use her? I believe the bigger and badder antagonist wishes to take her life force. My biggest question is: why is there only one person - Titus - trying to prevent this from happening? It seems that there is very little love for the antagonists, so why isn't anyone helping? Their leash on the world can not be that strong, especially when there are two. Though it seems after winning the most recent war, they struck fear into everyone's heart.

In the review I linked above, she mentions that Titus is too perfect. I don't totally agree, he slips up from time to time but only Iolanthe notices, which shows how little he makes himself known to people. He is always playing a part and has been for the last 10 or so years of his life. That he took control of such a thing at a young age is impressive - even if that's what makes it too unbelievable.

I really hope the sequel will be better! I want to see more of them and Iolanthe's transition into the powerful mage she's meant to be.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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