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The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy #1) [NOOK Book]


Magic, romance, and intrigue combine in this extraordinary novel—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and Kristin Cashore. Publishers Weekly called it "a wonderfully satisfying magical saga" in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews said it "bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success."

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...

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The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy #1)

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Magic, romance, and intrigue combine in this extraordinary novel—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and Kristin Cashore. Publishers Weekly called it "a wonderfully satisfying magical saga" in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews said it "bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success."

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/12/2013
Thomas, who’s built a strong reputation in historical romance, turns to YA fantasy with aplomb in the first installment of the Elemental Trilogy. Sixteen-year-old Iolanthe Seabourne is an elemental mage with a gift for fire; she has trained in obscurity with her drug-addicted mentor for as long as she can recall. When their quiet life suddenly turns to chaos, he’s coherent enough to help fling her out of danger but into a world she does not know—late 19th century London, a “nonmage” society that coexists with the rival mage realms of Atlantis and the Domain. Rescued by the Domain’s young master, Titus Elberon, and disguised as a boy attending Eton College, Iolanthe has to learn who and what to believe. Titus will do anything to overthrow Atlantis; Iolanthe dreams of becoming a mage scholar. Only one of them knows that death is imminent. As expected, Thomas’s romantic touch is sure, but she is just as adept with fantasy world-building, carrying the banners of Anne McCaffrey and Caroline Stevermer, among others, in a wonderfully satisfying magical saga. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Sept.)
“Strong focus on characters and world building make this a fantasy saga to watch.”
Horn Book Magazine
“Heightened action combined with Scarlet Pimpernel-esque cleverness will keep readers eagerly turning pages, while the romantic tension between the two leads adds juiciness to the plot. This blend of magic, gender-bending disguise, and self-sacrificial longing will satisfy fantasy lovers.”
Rae Carson
“Sherry Thomas’s The Burning Sky is a marvelous, magical adventure set in a beautifully imagined world. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”
Marie Lu
“Thomas weaves a lush, intricate fantasy world around a gorgeous romance that kept me riveted until the very last page. What a breathtaking journey!”
Cinda Williams Chima
“The Burning Sky combines one of the most creative magical systems since Harry Potter, with sizzling romance and characters who will win your heart.”
Sarah J. Maas
“A rich, captivating world, full of intrigue, romance, and magic. The Burning Sky is truly unique and unlike anything else I’ve read!”
Cinda Williams Chima
“The Burning Sky combines one of the most creative magical systems since Harry Potter, with sizzling romance and characters who will win your heart.”
VOYA - Stacy Hayman
Before her death, Princess Ariadne recorded a vision foretelling the precise time, but not the date, when her son, Prince Titus, would stand on the palace balcony to witness the event that would change his world forever. Nearly a decade later, Titus watches as a massive, magical lightning strike appears in the distance and springs into action. For all his careful planning, he failed to consider this rare elemental mage might be a girl his own age. Now, Titus must find a way to misdirect the attentions of Atlantis and the Inquisitor, both equally eager to find such a prize of raw power, while adapting his own approach to this strong-willed and endlessly fascinating young woman. The first page of this novel creates an exciting sense of mystery and mayhem, even specifically stating that the reader should expect magic. After this first promising page, things quickly become confusing when random details contradict the main ideas, key elements are only partially explained (perhaps to build suspense), and the overall story progression is fairly predictable. Luckily, readers will also find the Crucible, a book that becomes a three-dimensional training ground for advance magic skills once entered, as well as learn more of Prince Titus's private burdens, his personal losses, and his overwhelming sense of responsibility for his subjects. The first book of a planned trilogy, teens who love fantasy are likely to overlook the trouble areas while racing to enjoy the potions and mythical beasts. Reviewer: Stacy Hayman
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When her guardian purposefully ruins her meticulously prepared potion to prevent her from performing a rite at a local wedding, 16-year-old Iolanthe Seabourne tries to revive it by bringing down a bolt of lightning and instead brings down a load of trouble. Turns out, Iolanthe has been kept hidden her whole life because of a prophecy that she would destroy the Bane, a powerful mage and tyrant who rules the Realm. The teen would be happy lying low, but Prince Titus has spent his life training to avenge his family and restore power to his throne, and he is determined that she fulfill her destiny. The fun begins when Titus brings Iolanthe to London-real, nonmagical London-and pressures her to enroll in Eton College with him disguised as a boy named Arthur Fairfax. Though Iolanthe is initially furious at Titus, romance quickly begins to crackle as they plot how to save the Realm. This first book in a trilogy thankfully lacks a cliff-hanger ending, instead promising more adventures in a vividly realized fantasy world.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
An award-winning adult romance author's debut for teens bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success. Iolanthe Seabourne's quiet life as an elemental mage of middling power explodes when she summons lightning from the sky. Suddenly the 16-year-old is on the run from villainous Inquisitors. That same lightning bolt galvanizes the carefully nurtured schemes of Titus, the teenage figurehead prince, to free his realm from domination by Atlantis. The only problem is that the great mage whom seers foretold Titus will sacrifice his life to protect was supposed to be a boy….Multiple tropes--of heroic quest, gaslamp fantasy, fractured fairy tale, school story and doomed romance--are gracefully braided into a hefty but ravishing narrative. In its two alternating viewpoints, three worlds and four distinct magical systems are all masterfully delineated through delicate prose and subtle characterization. Iolanthe may be excessively perfect--beautiful and powerful and brilliant--but her prickly independence and wry self-awareness give her depth; Titus' status, talent and stunning magnificence is less compelling than his boyish vulnerability and tortured determination. Too often in fantasy, when prophecies are both accurate and specific, characters can seem mere puppets of fate. Here, the conflagrant climax is true to their choices, with a satisfying happy-for-now resolution that whets delicious anticipation for inevitable sequels. It caters to very specific tastes, but teens and adults in the target audience will devour it. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062207319
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Series: Elemental Trilogy Series , #1
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 5,417
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • File size: 587 KB

Meet the Author

Sherry Thomas is the author of The Burning Sky, the first book in the Elemental Trilogy. Sherry immigrated to the United States from China when she was thirteen and taught herself English in part by devouring science fiction and romance novels. She is the author of several acclaimed romance novels and is the recipient of two RITA Awards. Sherry lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2013

    When you finish reading a book and then immediately read everyth

    When you finish reading a book and then immediately read everything else the author has ever written, you know that author is skilled.

    That's exactly what happened when I read Sherry Thomas's THE BURNING SKY. I went on her website to (not kidding) find out if they'd announced the release date of the sequel, and discovered that she had established her career as an author of historical romance. THE BURNING SKY, a traditional fantasy novel, was Thomas's first foray into writing YA, and she transitioned seamlessly into the new genre.

    THE BURNING SKY has excellent world building and a fun concept, with a well-written dual point-of-view, third person narration. (No simple feat!) It's an easy read, but since it's basically about epic-scale political machinations that span both the mage world and our world .... with some complicated magical rules to boot ... I'd say the ease comes from Thomas's skills as a writer and not the simplicity of the plot.

    I felt connected to both Iolanthe and Titus, and I became totally invested in their story. And thankfully, there's a perfect balance of romance mixed in with the main plot, so that it never felt overwhelming.

    When adult authors transition to YA, many times their debut is a teen version of the type of book that cemented their career in the first place. That's not necessarily a bad thing ... but once I discovered that Thomas was an RITA Award-winning romance writer, it really impressed me how she chose to rein in the burgeoning romance in THE BURNING SKY and really let fantasy take center stage.

    The only way Thomas followed the traditional advice "write what you know" is that she stuck to her norm of excellent characterization and dialogue, plus a witty narration. (Like I said, I ended up reading her seven other novels, so I know for a fact that the quality of THE BURNING SKY isn't a fluke.)

    I definitely recommend THE BURNING SKY for fans of Rae Carson's incredible Fire and Thorns trilogy. However, where the Fire and Thorns books could've easily been marketed as adult (like Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study or Kristin Cashore's novels), THE BURNING SKY feels solidly YA, mostly due to the innocence of the main characters and the fact that they're still in school. But Iolanthe and Titus's situation is changing quickly, and I have a feeling they'll grow up with the trilogy, as the stakes become higher. (And I wouldn't complain in the least if we upped the swoon scale. Because Thomas can really bring le swoon.)

    I'm always anxious reading the end of the first book of a trilogy, wondering if there's enough of a plot arc to support three novels. With THE BURNING SKY, you have a satisfying ending that teases into an epic-scale, trilogy-worthy plot, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of the books go.

    Final verdict: Sherry Thomas will be welcomed into the world of YA with open arms, and she earned it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ten Likes/Dislikes: 1. (+) Iolanthe, the protagonist - Iolanthe

    Ten Likes/Dislikes:

    1. (+) Iolanthe, the protagonist - Iolanthe. She starts off a determined, self-sufficient heroine who has to learn about magic on her own because her mentor's too busy making a fool of himself. Then there's that "ruined elixir" inciting incident, and she's thrust in an unfamiliar situation but does not break easily. The main aspect of this book involves Iolanthe becoming "Fairfax" (see trailer here; since it's mentioned there, I'm not considering this a spoiler). She cross-dresses as a boy attending Eton College while she hones her powers under Titus's tutelage. I felt pity for Iolanthe and wasn't quite sure what to think of her from the start (mostly because of the influences, which I will discuss below, and the fact that she's ripped away from her world before you begin to understand who she was before Eton). However, when Iolanthe became Fairfax, I warmed to her more brazen, take-charge, plucky attitude, and we got to see that Iolanthe determination spring anew, both in thwarting the prince and the Bane.

    2. (+) Titus, the other protagonist - "Means to an end." The summary tells you a lot about Titus. He's determined and manipulative, and he's had to grow up alone and self-sufficient given his position as Master of the Domain. He's living his life with thin threads of hope for revenge, but he's just a cheeky boy who could use a bit of love, friendship, tenderness. In some ways, Titus reminds me of Prince Po from Graceling - sure, he makes mistakes, and he's had problems with his magic in the past (which we don't get to see), but do I picture him as a real character? Probably not. He's still fun to read about, though. Fun for those looking for book boyfriends. And though secret keeping usually bothers me in other novels, his tactics actually amused me.

    3. (+) World-building - Two major aspects - the magical aspects and the Eton college setting - had to be explored, and both were amusing to say the least. I get the feeling that we've only reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the limits and rules of this world - if you need all the aspects to be fully explored as they happen, you might not like how this book handles world-building. You'll learn about magical transportation, wands and spellbooks, how the elements come into play. Best of all, there's the Crucible, which is a storybook that Iolanthe and Titus use as a magical training ground. Being exposed to the various levels (a kind of mix of magic and video gaming) and stories written into the Crucible and knowing of its rules made for great character development and unexpected plot twists too. Then there's also the Eton college setting and watching the camaraderie between a bunch of rowdy boys. Cricket and wand jokes and a nice contrast between the magical and the real world are involved. All in all, a spellbinding realization of a fantasy world that I'd love to explore more (you know how JKR is writing a screenplay on Fantastic Beasts? I could picture something similar of The Crucible and its various stories.)

    4. (+/-) Influences/Tropes - The beginning was slightly off-putting to me given the immediate associations I'd had with other books. A mentor who reminded me of Haymitch, a girl who has take care of herself and her elders (Katniss) and does not know of her prophesied powers (Harry Potter). Marble the winged horse (thestrals?) as transportation as well as vaulting, mage transportation that seems similar to Disapparation except that it actually has limits (which you don't discover until later--so the beginning is a bit confusing). The use of a forgetfulness spell that has Latin roots (I think most of the spells did? I'm no linguist, though). And later in the story: the villain whose name people have grown to fear (the Bane; Voldemort; You-know-who). The villain's minion, the Inquisitor, a less annoying version of Umbridge. Prophecies, wand jokes, girl-pretending-to-boy (Tamora Pierce, no?), etc. etc. All of this, however, didn't really detract from the story for me, since it's nearly impossible to avoid any sort of influence or reminders that this book is not the first in its genre, and in the end, the Burning Sky made up for these associations by embracing its own differences (in the form of the Crucible and the writhing, genius blood oath).

    5. (+) Romance - Are you a sucker for hate-turned-love stories? Are you a sucker for fairy tales? This book has got both, and a fresh twist on both. Iolanthe, at first confused and unsure, wants nothing to do with Titus when she realizes the means to which he'll go, and Titus is constantly plotting ways to entrap Iolanthe. It's funny to compare this realization to Titus's dream of the perfect fairy tale romance (see, I told you: cheeky boy who needs to be loved) and Iolanthe's initial impression of the stately prince. Their romance is more of the slow-burn variety as they face the agents of Atlantis, become friends who can actually trust one another, and are thrust into situation after situation with one another.

    6. (+/-) Plot - Most of the times when people act according to a prophecy, I get confused. Would the prophecy still have been fulfilled had the other not known? What governs the limits for the Seer's predictions? Even still, this book has quite a few plot twists that I did not see coming, despite the tropes. This is what I love about high fantasy: when you can't quite predict what's coming next because you might just discover something new about the world that's already been established.

    7. (+/-) Character Development - While I thought that it was really nice to watch Iolanthe cultivate her powers as quite the formidable mage, the cross-dressing aspect of the novel did not always work for me. Iolanthe says that she's able to imitate Eton boys because a few passed by her house? The explanation is something like that. Here's the thing: I have three older brothers who I've watched/idolized/etc. for many years. I would not be able to imitate them/boy interactions to the level of perfection that she imitates Eton boys. Fairfax vs. Iolanthe - are they actually the same person? This question sometimes popped into my head as I was reading. Fairfax is so much snappier, pluckier than Iolanthe, perhaps because Iolanthe was thrust into a stressful situation from the start and we didn't get to see her snark until she'd shaved her hair. Of course I had fun reading about Fairfax and felt pity for Iolanthe, but the ways in which the two were joined sometimes didn't work for me. As for Titus, his evolution, his softening was done quite well.

    8. (+) Writing - It's Sherry Thomas. Have you ever read one of her historical romance novels? She is what drove me to read this novel. She can write romantic tension like few authors can, and we get to experience more of her skill with historical atmospheres in her YA debut. There are a lot of books where having dual third-person POVs do not work. This is not one of them.

    9. (+/-) Pacing - Have you read Shadow and Bone? The pacing reminds me of that in S&B. No time is wasted before our protagonists meet and then are off to Eton while Iolanthe learns how to control her powers. It all builds to a great climax at the end. However, sometimes in the middle, I found myself bored, despite the general humor of the Eton situation.

    10. (+) The Cover - I'm so glad that they changed the previous cover. The phoenix is quite representative, if not an actual element that I can remember, and the upside down castle thing really confused me. Both give the epic fantasy vibe, but this one's got more pop to it.

    An epic fantasy laden with intrigue and magic, The Burning Sky will definitely appeal to Harry Potter fans who wanted more romance as well as fans of Tamora Pierce. Think Graceling meets Harry Potter but with the later nineteenth century London in mind; a formidable partnership to face down the Big Bad. A fun read for when you are in th

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Amazing read

    Action, fantasy, magic, romace

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    The story had me from the start, every second made you want to r

    The story had me from the start, every second made you want to read on. Sherry Thomas's The Burning Sky was absolutely fantastic and beautiful. Thomas's created a new kind of story not just an amazing and strong female figure but an equally strong male figure. She also entangled a somewhat forbidden romance making the story even more readable and perfect. I highly suggest this book if you enjoy romance and fantasy tied in a life or death situation. I am very excited to see where she takes the next books, its an adventure you don't want to miss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    An Incredible Story and Adventure!

    You know when you read a book, and then you at some point must you try, but as soon as you close your eyes, You are immediately taken to the world that the author has created...and you cannot possibly sleep until you know what happens... I met the author recently at the RWA convention, and I asked what book would be coming out next, as I had already read and loved the ones she had to sell. She handed me a card which told of her new YA series due out soon. I was sad at first because I love her romances.... but trust me, after reading this.... I am so glad that she decided to tell this tale! Now I will be anxiously waiting for the next book. And I will definitely recommend this book to all my reading friends!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2014

    Absolutely breathtaking.  Thomas does a wonderful job of descri

    Absolutely breathtaking. 

    Thomas does a wonderful job of describing the mage world, developing her characters, foreshadowing events without giving too much away. 
    I adored this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    Thoroughly enjoyed!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! After reading numerous mystical/magical-themed books, it's a pleasant surprise to find new twists and turns that keep the pages turning. Looking forward to the next installment.

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  • Posted November 7, 2014

    A bit slow

    I found the book was not as captivating as I had hoped. It took me weeks to get through and I will not be purchasing the rest of the series. It is confusing at parts and neither of the main characters pulled me in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Sweet Death

    Can you also give elements to the following ponies? You don't have to give an element to ALL of 'em...<p>Black Midnight (bio at st res 3)<br>Game Guide (bio st res 3)<br>Blacor (bio st res 3)<br>Magical Light (bio st res 3)<br>Shaved Ice (bio st res 2)<br>Berry Jelly (bio st res 4)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Highly recommended!!

    I was a bit skeptical at first, but a beautifully written novel that surprised me. Can't wait for the second!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    Read if you are a grown up potter fan

    If you liked Harry Potter, but want some more realistic character interaction and romance, read this book. A fun read and a good deal!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    Pretty Good

    I came out of this one with some mix feelings. There were parts I really liked...and then parts that kind of left me kind of on the fence.

    1. The characters. I liked both the Prince and “Fairfax”. I found that they were both relatable and they well drawn enough that you could root for them. In fact that was the strongest part of the book, which is what made it get a higher rating from me. You actually did care about the 2 mains and what happened to them. You cared about their relationship, it progress and their continued good feelings towards each other. You cared if they were hurt, scared, and sad. Seems odd to pointing this as something great, when you would think all books make you care...but really...not all books do...sometimes the characters are flat and predictable and boring. And while some things...story wise were predictable in this tale....the characters weren't really in fault for it. The intrigue of the Prince hiding in plain sight and working from within...despite all the agents with eyes on him and trying to box him in, was really exciting and done well. Him not only not knowing who to trust, but also unable to make real friends or have someone to confide in due to his circumstance...really made him sympathetic despite some of his questionable actions towards “Fairfax”. I really related to the Princes’ plight more than Fairfax in the end. He really had to sacrifice a lot and work hard towards his goals, and as far as he knew he would get nothing for it. Even the side characters I thought shined and were made real. So that was what kept me reading. Along with...

    2. The world created and the magic used was pretty interesting. It had a similar feel of Harry Potter and some other books in that there are magical realms that exist along the non-magical, and the regular non-magical people don't know about it, but it was also unique in its execution. Yes, there were wands, and portals, and magical jumping from place to place, and dragons and all kind of magical creatures we have seen before, but they were used in interesting ways. It was different and interesting enough to make things exciting and a bit mysterious.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Burning Sky has received the most amazing reviews from some

    The Burning Sky has received the most amazing reviews from some trusted fellow bloggers. It being fantasy instead of the usual dystopian novel made me even more excited for it. Unfortunately I did not enjoy The Burning Sky as much as I hoped but overall it was an enjoyable read.The beginning of the book was a bit confusingand quite frankly boring. I just didn't know what was going on and was very confused at all the different mages. Also, the plot wasn't gripping enough for me to care. However a 100 pages in, the book finally starts getting interesting with the emergence of the gender bender plot line  However I expected a ton of humor to come out of that but that plot line was wasted. I've watched a ton of gender bender dramas and movies and just had some expectations of how entertaining the plot should be. Even with disappointing start, the book did start getting more interesting and I started to at least somewhat understand who the antagonist was and the history behind the mages and the world they are in.  I thought Iolanthe, the main protagonist, was a bit annoying. She tried opposing Titus in every way. Even if it was on the breakfast menu. It kind of frustrated me but the book redeemed itself through Titus' chapters. In all honesty it took me a while to get through this book. I kept on expecting it to get better but it never did. The plot line was uninteresting to me overall and I just wished that we had more character depths as well as developments from them. Their relationship was one page a hate relationship and then the next page it switched to a love relationship. Even with all of my issues with the book, I did enjoy it overall. I wish that in the next book we would get to find out more about the world in The Burning Sky as well as find out more about the characters and see them develop and grow up. I would recommend this book to fantasy YA readers especially since so many of my friends really enjoyed it. 

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  • Posted October 23, 2013

    I will read anything by Sherry Thomas. I love her Victorian His

    I will read anything by Sherry Thomas. I love her Victorian Historical Romance. Finding that her voice has extended to YA fantasy seemed like a let down to me at first because of how much I loved her previous books. However, I have to say that she hit it out of the park with her first foray into another genre. Now I believe she can write anything! Don't miss this terrific book; I can't wait for book 2.

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  • Posted October 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

        The Burning Sky got off to and not that gripping beginning b

        The Burning Sky got off to and not that gripping beginning but I had heard that from other reviewers that have similar taste, so I plodded through. Soon enough it did pick up. There were some themes that seemed to be borrow from other fantasy novels, but it is mostly ones that are rather universal, so I can't discredit that. 
        I really came to care for Iolanthe, even though even in my head I have no idea how to say it. She is strong and smart, and trusting. Her interactions with Titus kept everything moving, especially when she has to pose as a boy in order to remain safe.  
        They go on an epic adventure the ultimate quest, and at its heart, Titus seems to want the best for the kingdom, and he will lay down his life for Iolanthe even while they are both at risk because of the mission.
         The world is complex but I really got into it and understood everything. The writing is vivid and it is almost like I am there with them. There is also a surprising amount of character growth and emotion.
        The romance is an undertone that builds but there is the threat of death and this seemingly insurmountable task before them. 
         It is in 3rd person, but it never bothered me, and everything flowed naturally. Sometimes with that point of view, I feel detached, but that never happened here, and 

    Bottom Line: Good start with a strong main character.

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  • Posted September 21, 2013

    Can we just take a minute and ogle the cover? Personally, I thin

    Can we just take a minute and ogle the cover? Personally, I think it's EPIC. And so fitting! I had been hearing so many positive things about this book that I went in reading super excited. I confess it did take me a few minutes to get into it because my brain wanted to jump ahead to the action instead of learning about the world and abilities our main character has. Yeah, my brain makes no sense because Thomas has created a fascinating world filled with mages and elemental magic. Yeah, my inner World of Warcraft geek went a little crazy here.

    Iolanthe is an elemental mage, yet she has no idea the power that lays within her. She begins the book concerned only for redeeming her mentor and father figure in the eyes of the town. However, he warns her against impending danger. There are people who want to use her and destroy her because of that untapped power. I loved Iolanthe's character. She is absolutely an awesome heroine, but she is actually believable. She is afraid of what is coming, she doesn't enter situations blindly, and when she finds out what the prince wants to use her for, she doesn't give in, she wants to survive and doesn't want to risk herself for his crazy ideas. Yet she proves herself to be resourceful and strong-willed on so many occasions too!

    Prince Titus is the one who helps her in the beginning, as the Inquisitor is after her. The Inquisitor is truly evil and is able to strike fear into the hearts of even the stoutest men. She is the one who does The Bane's dirty work. The Bane, a tyrant and a great mage himself, wants Iolanthe destroyed.

    I liked Titus's character also. As prince of the Domain, he has been driven by prophecy his whole life. Finding Iolanthe is the beginning and he is sworn to protect her at all costs. I felt bad for him, because as a prince he is already set apart from others, but as a mage and someone who has his own destiny to fulfill he cannot let others get close to him. He is constantly watched by Atlantis spies and protecting Iolanthe is going to be trickier than he ever imagined- never had he thought the greatest elemental mage of their time would be a girl! He ends up hiding her at his all boys school, which he attends in England. Thomas has done a brilliant job of weaving the magical realm in with the non magical realm- I loved how she handled that! Titus and Iolanthe get off to a decent start, but after she finds out what he needs her for, she feels manipulated and betrayed- thus causing a huge rift between them. Yet, as time wears on, she sees past the pomp and circumstance, the arrogance and the cocky demeanor and finds a boy who truly wants to do what's right. Falling for her certainly wasn't part of his plan and it really came to the point where he would do everything in his power to protect her from harm.

    Their relationship is sweet and completely believable. He slowly won her back over as friends and then as something more. I was literally on the edge of my seat because of one particular vision regarding him and I was so afraid of the direction in which Thomas was going to take regarding it. I also was afraid she would end this book with a cliffhanger, as it is part of a trilogy. Thankfully, she gave us enough resolution to get us by until the second book releases.

    Iolanthe, at an all boys school, adapted to the part of Archer Fairfax perfectly! It was actually a lot of fun to see her act as a boy. She was a fast learner and very resourceful. She had Titus to help her, but there were times where she had to go on wit alone and she did such a great job. She effortlessly weaved her way into Titus's circle of friends and Titus at one point found himself envying the ease in which she interacted with them.

    This was such a great start to the series and I loved the magical aspect of it! You not only have elemental magic, but you've got dragons, portals, and spells! Having Iolanthe realize what she is capable of and having Titus train her was so much fun to read about- all while having to lay low and keep hidden from the Atlantean agents! My fantasy fans are going to really love this one!

    *Received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Burning

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    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 -&gt; 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!

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    Posted November 1, 2013

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    Posted January 10, 2014

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    Posted September 15, 2014

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