The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
By: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
|Summary: 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 really like this story, but I wasn’t too crazy about the delivery.
Maybe it was just me, but Thomas’ style was very difficult to read. The third-person narrative type of delivery made me feel as if I’m listening to an ancient storyteller depicting a folklore. And the way she formed her sentence structure, I felt as if I was reading Old English (not really) or a foreign language (nope, it’s English). The switching-back-and-forth of points-of-view was interesting, but it wasn’t very consistent, so at times it threw the pacing off, and the abrupt switch made the storyline very choppy.
I don’t deny that there was a ton of world-building in this book – from the palace to the all-boys school, to the adventures in the Crucible. Thomas has built a very elaborate world of humans, mages, fairytales and beyond. At the same time, I felt Thomas spent way too much time on certain things and not enough on others, and I’m left wondering what about this or that?
For instance, I’m really curious about Atlantis, and the history of how they came into power, and especially the Bane. I mean I did find out something about him at the end (Titus’ revelation), but there’s so much more to him than what we were told. And I want to know the story behind Haywood and the lost memories and what exactly happened at the end. Additionally, I know what the Crucible is and what it’s for, but it’s such an importantly powerful instrument that I would love to know more about it – not necessarily what it contains but the background and how it came to be in the possession of certain people.
Speaking of, the whole book had a pretty slow pace – even when there was action, it was told at a more leisure way. This may have had a lot to do with the style in which Thomas wrote. So when we got near the end, I spent a lot of time confused and rereading a good deal of it because Thomas switched back and forth between Titus and Fairfax so quickly, and there was so much going on that I had a hard time picturing this wyvern and that wyvern. There were a number of times where I thought the two POV had merged, but then I would realized the two characters are not yet in the same setting. And what happened to the Inquisitor confused me also. It was just a lot to take in at the end.
Aside from the awkward style and weird pacing and the slight dissatisfaction that so many words didn’t yield as much information as I would have liked, I did enjoy the story.
I loved Iolanthe, her boldness and her determination. Heroines like her just make great characters. Her story wasn’t one that I haven’t heard before, but Thomas had a way to keep it interesting. And I really liked how Titus was always one step ahead. Sure he had the advantage of knowing the sights of a seer, but every action is so calculated. The situation with Fairfax was just amazing – yeah, too good to be true, but it worked in this book. I had to give Thomas major props for making it so unrealistic but so acceptably incredible.
All in all, I think The Burning Sky was a great story full of wonderful characters and world of imagination. I just wish that it hadn’t been so difficult to read (for me) and that I had gotten that wow feeling at the end, something that didn’t quite happen.