The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Hardcover, 464 pages
Expected Publication: September 17th, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Amazon Vine
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.
I just love high/epic fantasy! I getting introduced to new worlds and new ideas and this book wasn't short on new. The world building was tremendous and wonderful. It was very creative and unique. We get the mage realm (or realms) as well as historical London (1880's). While we do get London and the real world, it's pretty light. They attend school at Eton but the focus is so much on the fantasy aspects that it never felt historical fiction really, at all. Each place we visited was easy to picture and imagine and I was able to immerse myself in the world completely.
When I first started reading the book I wasn't sure I was going to like Iolanthe. She totally disregards any warnings and it just seemed stupid to do that. Luckily she grows a lot through the book. She has some points where I was slightly unsure what to think but as she gets more information and understands the consequences of things she starts to open her eyes and realize things. I actually particularly liked Iolanthe when she had to be Fairfax, a boy student at Eton. She played the boy role very well and it was entertaining to watch. I still am a little unsure about how I feel about the real Iolanthe, somehow I feel like I don't really know her still.
Titus was a character I liked straight away. While he had to make some choices that were a little tough, I understood why he made the choices he did. He also has two persona's, that of Titus the Prince, haughty, rude, obnoxious, self centered... and the real Titus, caring, strong, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect Iolanthe. I liked, no loved, both Titus's. Yes, the haughty Prince act was mostly just entertaining and I think knowing that it was just an act made me like it. If he had really been that way I may not have liked him so much. Titus is willing, even planning, to sacrifice himself for Iolanthe. To bring down the Bane and the Inquisitor, his selflessness was refreshing.
The romance is a tad subtle. It works well as these two are in for a rollercoaster ride. I liked them getting to know each other for real before it becomes a real romance between them. I am looking forward to the romance aspect of the book to develop more fully in the next book.
I think it's a very creative world and it's all rather complex and a tad complicated. I think that some things may not have been described as fully as they could have, I felt like I didn't always grasp everything completely. I think that as the trilogy continues this is something that will clear up and I'll grasp it all more fully. I may have to do a reread though as I'm afraid I'll lose too many details before the next book is released.
Overall this was a great book. It may not have made it to the WOW, it's amazingly EPIC category, but it was a pretty great start to a new series.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.