Book Cover
Rate this book

Ratings & Reviews for

The Burning Sky

5 stars
5,957 (30%)
4 stars
7,585 (39%)
3 stars
4,236 (21%)
2 stars
1,044 (5%)
1 star
481 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,284 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
August 29, 2015
"Why should Atlantis pay any mind to me?"
"Because you are younger and have far more potential."
. . .
"Potential for what?"
"For greatness."

The Burning Sky is the author's first YA Fantasy novel, after writing many adult Historical Romance novels, and it really shows. I expected some light fantasy and possibly a romance - I was okay with that - but this story is so ridiculously superficial. And not even in a fluffy, somewhat enjoyable way.

Some of YA's toughest critics on Goodreads enjoyed this book, so I felt sure I would love it. But I felt my interest waning as soon as the Mary Sue MC waltzed in without a personality but with a big ol' "The Chosen One" banner hanging over her head.

Iolanthe Seabourne has no personality. No hopes, fears or defining characteristics beyond the fact that she is "the greatest elemental mage of her generation". She excels at everything, cannot do any wrong, is part of an old prophecy to be the saviour, and is so lacking in anything interesting. She's not even a character; she's an archetype.

And every other character is an archetype too. We have the evil tyrant, the aged mentor, and a brave prince called Titus, who also manipulates Iolanthe to get her to behave the way he wants. There is no depth to the characters, no depth to the plot, and the attempts at depth to the world resulted in lots of tedious info-dumping.

Despite there being tons of information in the beginning, I still cannot envision the world, this society, or its history in the slightest. Maybe because Thomas' style is very slow and difficult to read. The superficial characters seem more suited to a middle grade novel (good guys always triumph, evil villain, handsome princes, etc.) but the writing is way too heavy - there's no flow to the style, you have to push your way through it.

By the last third of the book, I was skim-reading out of boredom and a desire to finish.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest
October 23, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5

Be patient.

That's the advice I would give to anyone starting this book. I ended up liking it a lot, but it took a long, long time for me to get past the first few chapters.

Sherry Thomas is an established author in the Historical Romance genre; this is her first foray into the YA fantasy genre, and I think it definitely shows. I can see it in the writing style---the book reads so much more comfortably and flows so much more smoothly when the author is writing about the Victorian England setting within the book and discussing the characters, in general. The action scenes, the scenes involving magic and the alternate universe of the magical Domain are awkwardly written, dry, and quite poorly wrought out.

Her characters are excellent; well-built, complex, without a doubt, Iolanthe and Titus are my favorite thing about this book, although I do have some minor complaints about them, which I will address in a bit. The characters---excellent, but the plot and the setting leaves a lot to be desired.

The first few chapters of the book did not leave me wanting more at all. The narration was dry, emotionless, the world-building was without context, with random magical elements thrown in that just left me frowning in confusion. I was left unsure as to the time, the place, the setting, because random terms and phrases and elements of magic were thrown at us without much context whatsoever. Some things were eventually cleared up, but the overwhelming impression I had of this book is that the world building is confusing and generic, and the plot doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. It suffers from a lot of telling, not showing.

The Plot: The very beginning is just so, so bad. Iolanthe (that's an awesome name, by the way) Seabourne, living in Little Grind-on-Woe in the magical Domain, receives some confusing messages about her destiny as one of the Great Elemental mages from her perpetually drunk guardian (Master Haywood) just before she summons some lightning from the sky to repair a batch of elixir that her guardian purposefully ruined so she wouldn't have the opportunity to use said elixir in a light show at a wedding at which she's supposed to perform, because to be involved in such a performance would summon the attention of the Big Bad Atlantis Inquisitor and expose her for the potentially Great Elemental Mage that she supposedly is.

Wait, what? Huh???? Oh, it gets better.

Prince Titus VII, Master of the Domain, is within a fairytale. He is about to kiss Sleeping Beauty when he is suddenly projected outside of The Crucible, back in his own chambers. He glances outside, sees a bright, white thunderbolt. His destiny calls. He Vaults (teleports) to Iolanthe, where all hell is breaking loose. He locks her inside a storage trunk, sends it off to god knows where (brilliant), and then teleports himself away to a nonmage realm, Victorian England, in the year 1883, where he needs to find her again. Where is that damned trunk?


Did I say that the beginning was bad? It was bad. Luckily, it picks up a lot from there. Once both Iolanthe and Titus meet again (after she's rescued from that trunk), he finally explains what the fuck is going on. He enlists her aid, they set out to rescue the world from the Big Bad Magical Bane. There's cross-dressing. There's school sessions at Eton, there's traveling back and forth to the Domain. It's interesting, if you remain patient enough to find out.

The Characters: Really well done. Sherry Thomas writes excellent characters. It's rare that I truly, truly like the leading characters in a book, but I think both main characters are so well done. Iolanthe is a l ittle bit of a Mary Sue, but she's extremely likeable. She is not perfect. She fucks up sometimes, and does stupid things against advisement (hello, lightning bolt), but her internal conflict is so believable. Titus needs Iolanthe. She is a necessary part of the role he is to play in bringing down the Bane. He absolutely cannot do this without her help, and he enlists her aid. Well, Iolanthe is not brave.
She was a coward, but better cowardly than dead.
She's a 16 year old girl. She is scared. She has been uprooted from her home, her guardian has been arrested. She just wants her life back. This mission is going to endanger her life...she doesn't want that. Iolanthe just wants to be a normal girl, with a peaceful life. She does not want anything to do with a Grand Destiny that might spell her doom. I understand her conflict completely, and I completely relate to her.
“So a steer should head willingly to slaughter because the farmer has fed and housed it? How many would make this bargain if they only knew what would happen to them in the end? You are asking me to give up everything for a cause that isn’t mine. I don’t want to be part of any revolution. I just want to live.”
“To live like this, never knowing what it is like to be free?” His voice was tight.
“I will know nothing when I’m dead!”
It's completely reasonable. I agree with her completely. Not everyone wants a life filled with danger, and I understand her reluctance. And I also love it that despite her fear, despite her will to live, she eventually gives in to the bigger picture when she realizes what's at stake.
...could she live with never trying, just keeping herself and Master Haywood safe in some pocket of the Labyrinthine Mountains, while Mrs. Needles and countless others like her rotted in Atlantean prisons?
Could she live with herself, cowering, while the world burned?
Titus is also a really likeable character. Iolanthe is not what he expected...he expected a boy whom he has mentally named "Archer Fairfax." More specifically, he thought Iolanthe would be a boy. He has spent his life preparing for this destiny, that his dead mother has foreseen, and he expected his partner in this quest to be a boy, his platonic partner, who would be in agreement with him, who would understand him and their shared destiny. He didn't expect a beautiful, scared girl who wants nothing to do with him.
But things were supposed to be different with her—with Fairfax. They were to be comrades, their bond forged by shared dangers and a shared destiny. And now of all the people who despised him, she despised him the most.
Their initial distrust, then subsequently, the dynamics of their growing partnership is a thing of beauty. Iolanthe and Titus are an excellent pair; they work well together.

More importantly, the romance is kept to a minimum. Yes, there is romance. Both are initially rather bowled over by one another, but this insta-love fades quickly into distrust and resentment, as they both come to realize that neither are as they seem, with their conflicting purpose and need in life. I truly enjoyed their banter and their growing feelings for one another. The light romance and flirtation in this book was very well done.

My one complaint about the characters is that they are both too perfect in their actions to be realistic. Iolanthe seems to be capable of doing anything, despite her protests to the contrary. She blends in as a boy in an all-boys' school (Eton) perfectly, nobody ever suspects that she is anything but the jocular Archer Fairfax. She can play cricket with the best of the boys just by reading a book and watching the game for 5 minutes. She can perform amazing acts of magic despite never having done so before. Similarly, Titus is more James Bond than a 16-year old boy. He withstands the tortuous effects of a Truth Serum. He can perform any magical act, no matter how minor (just watch him repair some clothes and tailor them to fit Iolanthe, you'll be amazed). He can call up elemental magic as eloquently as he can magically tie a cravat on an Etonian suit. I know he's been preparing for this, but he is too seamless. He transitions from a playboy, assholeish douchebag public persona better than any Oscar winner has ever done. Titus is just too brilliant, too flawless, too good of an actor to be a believable teenaged boy.

The Setting & Plot: Neither kept my interest. The magical world and the accompanying magical system are both generic and poorly crafted. I did not get a sense of Atlantis and the Domain at all. There are magical creatures, like phoenix. Elemental mages are used for sideshow circus acts. Whee. We're supposed to believe that the Inquisitor are bad, and we're fighting the Inquisitor and the Bane because they're evil and they throw innocent people in prison? Um, no. I need more than that. The motivations of the villains in this book are poorly shown. It is too much telling, not enough showing. I need more than a one-dimensional villain to make this into a great book. As it stands, this book is good. It could have been so much better.

There are footnotes in the back of the book that gives more details about the world, but honestly...that's kind of cheating, in my opinion. You shouldn't need a glossary, footnotes, etc. to better understand the story; the background, the setting should be clearly told throughout the book. There's a way of integrating the setting into the story without the use of extraneous notes, and I didn't feel that this book accomplished that.

Recommended for fans of likeable main characters who do not mind a poorly crafted magical world.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,948 followers
May 30, 2018
Ahh!! This was so good! How are more people not talking about this series? I mean, I know I'm late to the game here, but still.

I absolutely adored this book. Easily one of the best ships in YA fantasy, and such a cool take on elemental magic. Super complex and fun storyline. My shipper's heart is a pile of mush.

Since there are already lots of reviews out there, I'm just going to leave you with a few reasons you need to pick up this book if you are a fantasy fan.

1. Seriously cool magic not just limited to elemental. We're talking vaulting, magic crucible books, shapeshifting, etc.
2. Boarding school!
3. A D O R A B L E P R I N C E (like, he's one of my new all-time favorite characters and I want to cry just thinking about his character.
4. Banter. So much of it.
5. Clever and adorable heroine.
6. NODS TO SLEEPING BEAUTY AHHH (not a retelling, but you'll see)
7. Super interesting take on the 'chosen one' prophesy ordeal and portal magic
8. The romance! Kinda like a hate-to-love and super emotional and I cannot.

The only complaint I have was that at times, I found myself a little lost and having to reread to make sure I hadn't missed anything. (Oh, and it took the book a little while to pick up - so hang in there if you are reading!) Other then that, I freaking looooved this book. I'm starting the sequel as we speak.

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
April 21, 2014
DNF. I thought for sure I would love this since a few of my friends highly recommended it to me, but I hated it. The main characters are terrible and underdeveloped. Let me count the ways: Iolanthe is virtually a Mary Sue and can do no wrong. She is The One with the power to save them because of reasons and has the BEST of luck. *wink, wink* Prince Titus is a spoiled brat that wants everything his way. He even tries to manipulate Iolanthe several times to get her to do things by preying on her feelings. There’s also a romance that came out of nowhere, horrible world building (GAH, this is a fantasy novel, FFS!) and info-dumping all over the place. Also, I hated the narration. Maybe I should have not gone with the audio, but I tried the print too and it’s just a big old NOPE for me.

 photo flippingtables_zpsb04dbf83.jpg
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,011 followers
March 18, 2016
"And that is why you do not trifle with the Master of the Domain."

This is the story of how I fell in love with a book from literally the first three sentences.
The first three sentences.
I'm not joking.
That can't be true, you say? How dare you-
You know what? Just read this already.


Yeah, I know. And I am confident that you now understand what I meant by "first three sentences".
This prologue swept me off my feet. It left me breathless. I have no word to describe how surprised and happy and delighted I was.
And the best thing?
The book lived up to the expectations thus created.

•The plot is nearly spotless, and I enjoyed every single moment of it. The first two or three chapters led me, erroneously, to believe that I had somehow made some wrong assumption and that the book was aimed to a younger audience than what I thought, because the story begins with this aura of naivety, so to say, that left me a bit disoriented. True it is that it lacks of originality and basically revolves around what I call the special-snowflake syndrome, but every page is so entertaining and so deliciously and skillfully written that I did not care in the slightest, or maybe just a tiny bit. Besides, after that first couple of chapters not only does the story shake off itself that excessive simplicity that had bothered me, but it also picks up the pace and introduces some even more enthralling elements.
The only 'flaw' I can find is: .

•Since the matter has been raised, the writing is simply spectacular. Articulate, adorned and embellished with beautiful words, refined, almost like music. In few words, just as I like it. Moreover, it is written in third-person, and I will never say ardently enough how enjoyable and worthy of adoration I find a good third-person narration.

•As for the world-building and the magic-system, for me it's a huge, ginormous yes. So rich and detailed and well-thought-out, I was in total awe.

•The characters. Color me surprised, I completely enjoyed Iolanthe (how beautiful is her name?) as a heroine. She is strong-willed and brave, cheeky and brazen, but she also has frailties, doubts, moments when she wishes nothing more than to run away and hide from the one thousand reasons wh her life is in danger, and that's what makes her believable and unspeakably more likeable.
And don't forget Titus, oh my Titus, the most skilled liar and the most manipulative prince who ever sat on the Domain's throne. His background and characterization are excellent.

•And his relationship with Iolanthe is just as dynamic and many-sided: I utterly adored how they pass from shallow flirtation, to contempt from her part and a wistful longing not quite suppressed from his, to deep affection at last. It's a well-rounded and convincing growth for a relationship such as theirs, and it won me over time and again.

"I gave them a fairy tale about the powers of my wand."
He was still looking at the report, oblivious to what he’d just said. She suppressed an urge to giggle. "Did they believe you? All boys tell such tales about their wands."

You see by yourself that they are illegaly cute.

Strongly recommended to everyone. And now I want to read every word this woman has ever written.

P.S. Right after finishing the book, I discovered that Sherry Thomas writes in her second language -she's from China. I worship her twice as much for this.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,065 reviews69.5k followers
July 7, 2022
4.5 stars

Iolanthe is an elemental mage who lives with her increasingly frustrating guardian.
In an effort to help with a local wedding she attempts to fix a potion and she finds out she can call down lightning. And nobody can call down lighting.
Ooooh. Sounds like someone has a special destiny.


Imagine her surprise when her (young & handsome) king shows up to save her from the forces of Atlantis (they're the bad guys) who want to capture her for nefarious reasons.
Ok. Back it up.


The Domain is where Titus and Iolanthe were raised, but they end up hiding out in a non-magical realm and going to Eton.
Well, Iolanthe is hiding, Titus is supposed to be there. He's kind of in exile, retaining his title as a figurehead only. Of course, this means Iolanthe has to pretend to be a boy, which brings yet another layer to the story. And she's never visited the non-magical world, so she has no idea what these boys are talking about half of the time.
Ok. Back it up again.


See, Titus' mother was a seer, and she left him with her diary that reveals her dreams and ultimately his destiny. That destiny included Titus being the one to find and train the prophesied savior of The Realm. Except he just assumed this savior would be a guy, so his preparation included bringing him to Eton. Hmmm. Unfortunately, with the evil villains hot on her trail, Iolanthe doesn't have much of a choice in the matter. Due to a spell placed on her guardian, she's lived her entire life unaware of the extent of her powers. So it's either follow Titus and attempt to turn herself into a dude and the most powerful elemental mage of their lifetime, or die at the hands of a spooky Inquisitor from Atlantis.


And Titus isn't exactly hiding Iolanthe just because he wants to keep her safe.
In return for his services, he expects her to use her powers to fight against their oppressors. Whether she wants to or not. So, he's no knight in shining armor. He uses every underhanded trick in the book to force her to do what he wants, and she, quite frankly, hates him for it.
Sort of?
Every now and then, she catches a glimpse of what Titus could have been if he hadn't been born into this role. And once she finds out that Titus' destiny includes...well, that's a spoiler, so you'll just have to find out on your own. Anyway, she starts to understand him a little better and respects him a lot more. The fact that he's still desperately trying to save his people, even though his mother's diary said spoilery things.
Well, let's just say it inspires her to do the same.
And somewhere between the blackmail and the threat of impending doom, these two start to develop a tentative friendship. Maybe even something more?


Sometimes YA stories annoy me but thought this one was good.
If you like magical worlds then The Burning Sky might be something you'd enjoy.

I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Philip Battley this second time around and I thought he did a good job.
Profile Image for Sofia.
231 reviews6,992 followers
August 2, 2021
No matter how much I roast them, I love fantasy tropes. There's something comforting about the familiarity of a Chosen One on a quest to defeat the evil, often absent villain.

But that doesn't mean I don't want something new - at least a skillful manipulation of those tropes I love. What The Burning Sky did was nothing revolutionary or even remotely interesting. It was another rewrite of the same old plot, with nothing changed.

As if this wasn't bad enough, the entire beginning of this novel was terrible. Iolanthe summons lightning to fix an elixir, she gets shoved into a teleporting trunk, she meets Titus, who involves her in a plot to "save the world" - it's a mess. A boring, confusing mess.

Once it gets straightened out, we're shoved into a nonmage school, where Iolanthe has to pretend to be a boy in order to stay safe from the agents of the Bane, who is supposed to be the villain. But he only shows up twice, and the prophecy Iolanthe is supposed to fulfill is so vague that it's almost a side plot instead of the driving force of the novel. The whole book is a convoluted mess.

Iolanthe herself isn't interesting either, and neither is Titus. Their personalities? Nonexistent. Iolanthe is pretty much perfect at everything she attempts. She's an expert at cricket on her first try, and why? Because she read a rulebook. Spare me.

The prose here wasn't anything special, either. I found the sarcasm annoying and childish, but the imagery was delightful. It was one of the only things I enjoyed. But Thomas does something with her writing that aggravates me to no end. I'll give you an example.

When Iolanthe first meets Titus, he opens her satchel for her, and she goes on a whole monologue about how he's so "gracious" for a prince, and humble too. But that's literally a common courtesy. I don't understand what's so special about this prince. And Titus does the same thing, too. He starts to tell himself - in his inner monologue - how "clever" and "capable" she is - with no evidence at all to support his claims. It's like Thomas was thrusting a bunch of positive traits in our faces. Iolanthe is awe-inspiring because Titus said so. Titus is gracious because Iolanthe said so. Why did I notice this? I used to write like that too, and believe me, I'm glad I left that phase behind.

In the end, Iolanthe and Titus end up with each other. This isn't a spoiler, because it's pretty much implied when they first meet and Iolanthe starts going on and on about the sparks flying between them, yadda yadda yadda. This book masquerades as enemies-to-lovers, but in reality, it's instalove. Horrible, frustrating instalove.

My main problem, though, isn't with the characters or the plot. It's the world-building, or rather, the lack of it.

What we get is a bunch of random city names and terms shoved at us. The world has no culture or unique customs or anything to differentiate it from the countless other fictional lands I've visited. The magic system wasn't defined, either. Overall, it was such a sloppy world-building job that I almost dropped my book in disgust and disappointment.

The Burning Sky was exactly the same as every other typical fantasy novel out there. Not only did it lack a comprehensive plot, it didn't even bother to manipulate the tropes into something unique.
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,518 followers
January 27, 2023

Okay, that was a bit creepy wasn't it? How about this:


Hey, it's not my fault. If you read the book you will totally understand why I chose Shrek GIF's.

So I read the blurb and was totally anticipating a hot arrogant prince (cough, cough, no surprise I would be drawn to that), a "She's The Man" (movie) meets Alanna: The First Adventure storyline, and some really cool Harry Potter-style magic. What I got was way more of a British boys' club vibe (we are talking about things like cricket, not Harry Potter -the school they attended doesn't teach magic). There was way less casting magic than I was expecting for that epic cover, however there was still a lot of magic thanks to the Crucible -a book that allows its mage user to interact and role play fairytales the way one might do a video game (to help build your magic, travel, and you can even really die if you transport your real self instead of just essence inside). The Crucible and Iolanthe & Prince Titus's interactions were easily my favorite part of this novel. I don't want to give my favorite scene but let's just say it had me smiling like a fool and it had to do with Sleeping Beauty.

Three things I felt worth mentioning: 1) I never got a jerk/arrogant-vibe from Titus, the blurb was a bit misleading (but then again I had his POV to read early on so I knew why he did what he did), 2) this is one of the only books I have ever read that I enjoyed the guy's POV (yes, I am that picky reader who only likes one POV most of the time) -sometimes the guy feels too girlish or similar to the main character but in this one he really was his own person and I actually looked forward to his perspective, and 3) Even though the blurb leads you to think Iolanthe is going to be fighting like a rockstar and encountering the Bane there was really not much action in this book butttt I just know the sequel is going to have some epic level battles -they leave the boarding school at the end of this one so now the real action begins. The sequel could totally be a 5-star book and I can't wait to read it!
September 19, 2020

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

This book has some of my favorite things in it: magic spells, dragons, and forbidden romance! I've had this kicking around my Kindle and finally got around to reading it because I needed a book with the "chosen one" trope. THE BURNING SKY, which reads a bit like a Victorian-era Harry Potter, more than suited in that capacity.

When Prince Titus sees a bolt of mage-called lightning come from the sky from his palace balcony, he knows it's the sign foretold by his seer mother. He goes to the site immediately and finds the culprit: a girl named Iolanthe. Hot on his heels are the evil, tyrannical agents of Atlantis, a bunch of secret police-like people ruled by the Bane and the fearsome Inquisitor.

Titus takes Iolanthe under his protection, disguising her a boy and then sneaking her into Eton where he's already manufactured an identity for her as Archer Fairfax (again, using his mother's prophecy). In between classes and cricket, he teaches her the magic she's going to need for her survival, but only at a cost - he wants her to help him defeat the Inquisitor and overthrow the Bane.

I loved this book. Okay, it's very Harry Potter like, with Latinate spells and apparating (vaulting), but mixed in with the "traditional" spells are Elemental spells, and it's historical fantasy instead of contemporary urban fantasy. Which makes sense, since Sherry Thomas is a historical romance author as well. I think her knowledge of that genre really let her take some interesting liberties with the era. The Crucible is probably one of the coolest aspects of the story... apart from the espionage and the court intrigue, that is. I can't say more because I don't want to spoil it, but trust me, it's AWESOME.

The romance is also really well done. Titus is a master manipulator, but things between them don't really come into fruition until he stops trying to control her and realizes that love can't really exist unless it's between equals. I'm also a sucker for mentor/mentee romances, which is probably why I liked Maria V. Snyder's POISON STUDY so much.

THE BURNING SKY doesn't get a full five stars for several reasons. The characters are a bit wooden. Titus is the stereotypical swoon-worthy prince with a smart mouth and Iolanthe is a strong female character who whoops a lot of butt - but that's all they are. I guess the only really human thing about Iolanthe is that she doesn't really want to be a hero at first, because she doesn't want to die, but she gets over that quickly and then it's "we must defend the kingdom" this and "you are the chosen one" that. The world building and writing more than make up for the character deficits, but it's still something I took into account when deciding to rate this book. The pacing is also slow - it takes a while to get off the ground and then towards the end, there will be intense action scenes followed by sticky-slow standing around and doing nothing scenes. But again, this wasn't that big a deal.

I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought it would (although maybe I needn't have worried, seeing as how I love her historical romance, too). I think I'd recommend it to fans of books like THE GOLDEN COMPASS or HARRY POTTER, traditional fantasy novels with interesting but familiar worlds and complex magic systems and strong female characters. This book had all of those things, and I'm very eager to see how the story continues in the sequel, THE PERILOUS SEA.

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Cecilia.
289 reviews292 followers
March 12, 2023

Primer libro de la trilogía Los Elementales, el cual debo admitir que, ¡¡lo he amado!!; esta entrega, la cual es un tanto introductoria del mundo de fantasía creado por la autora, comienza desarrollándose en una isla llamada el Dominio. Sin embargo, ha sido invadida desde hace año por Atlantis (los antagonistas), y vive sometida por los magos y un tal Bane, quien supuestamente es inmortal. Hasta aquí y al aparecer magos, ya pensé que era muy similar a Harry Potter, pero no, no se parecen en nada.

Respecto al mundo creado, me ha encantado que tuviera magos, magia, hechizos y varitas mágicas; además que controlan elementos como fuego, agua, aire y otro elemento más; sumado a que tiene un carácter histórico, ya que se desarrolla en el año 1983, y además, todo ocurre en Londres. La construcción de este mundo siento que estuvo muy bien desarrollada, había muchos detalles, elementos, incluso animales nuevos, todo lo descrito ha hecho que esta historia me guste mucho más.

En cuanto a los personajes, la protagonista, Iolanthe, es una maga elemental bastante buena, que debe mantener ocultas sus habilidades. Ya en el prólogo te anuncian algo que llama mucho la atención; ella debe hacerse pasar por un chico en una escuela de varones; ¡cliché que no sabia que me iba a gustar tanto!

Titus, es el típico protagonista serio, misterioso, testarudo, que no se deja llevar por sus emociones sino más bien por una profecía.

Todo esto nos da el típico cliché de enemies to lovers, el cual me encanta también. Pero no solo es eso, también al transcurrir la historia hay romance, mucho drama, nostalgia, sentimientos que no pasaron inadvertidos para mí (y esto no me pasa en todos los libros); sufrí con los protagonista y la historia, ¡¡y eso que sólo es el primer libro!!.

Recomiendo totalmente esta historia, y espero que toda la trilogía sea igual de buena, es poco conocida pero está tan bien desarrollada, con unos personajes y una trama tan bien construida, que no sé como ha pasado tan desapercibida.
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews841 followers
January 5, 2021
9 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Immediate Music – Burning Sky
Jon McLaughlin – We All Need Saving
Coldplay – Us Against the World

Stuff: mages, good vs. evil, elemental magic, parallel worlds
Fail: there are not enough romantic moments, instead - too much world-building information (necessary but still)
WOW: mature minds inside young adult bodies
POV: 3rd-person, two perspectives
Love-geometry: is absent
It will be you and me against the world.

Art-Sources: 1, 2 и 3 - unknown.

In a parallel universe, where once magic was in full swing, had appeared a douchebag the Bane, and music went fair and softly.

Formally, the Master of the Domain is always the Elberon dynasty’s heir but, in fact, the power is in hands of an inexplicably immortal usurper (after being killed, this man used to come back and look younger than before, isn’t he a sly-arse disease?).

Bane has many supporters called Atlantis; they act like a KGB (MSS) and Holy Inquisition all together. Why they are very alike! Love interrogations under tortures, watch over everything and this show is running by Inquisitor. The Inquisitor is a woman with a gift for breaking into people's minds in a search for information. Atlantis are very dangerous guys, even a currently monarch of the Domain (Prince Titus the Seventh) is terrified of them (despite the fact, he's a super talented self-taught mage).
The sort of fireworks my wand can produce will leave any girl breathless.

Don’t worry, he talks about the actual wand, this is not Harry-Potter-ish porn.

Titus’s late mother was a seer and she prophesied that her son will meet the most powerful elemental mage of his generation and they together would be able to fight and kill the Bane. In other words, they were destined to do the very thing all the rebels couldn’t accomplish during the January Uprising. BTW, Titus’s mother prophesies are written in the special notebook and you can’t see them all at the same time, just those you have to know right now. One moment you're thumbing through its pages and see nothing, the other you stubble on something important.

The Prince thought that his Rambo-partner to win the Bane would be a bad-ass boy, but the elemental mage he finally met turned out to be a girl.

Iolanthe Seabourne is a boss of fire, earth, water, and even air (but she has no idea about the latter). In the world where a man being able to light a cigarette without matches is already a nice wizard, Iola is a rare thing. But Atlantis better never know about her abilities or else… As you might guess, Titus’s mother saw in her vision Iola.

Titus finds out about Iola's existence by seeing the lightning brought down from the skies. Well, after such a show everyone knew it too, at least in Delamer, the Domain's capital city. Lightning is hard to hide. And lightning is hard to command. No one could do it before. That’s why the author of this illumination was doomed to end up in Inquisitory. Titus vaulted the 'crime place' so the Bane' agents wouldn't lay their hand on a powerful mage. He helped the girl (yep, not a boy; what a shock for our dear prince) to escape but didn’t manage to flee himself before the Inquisitor came. Of course, Atlantis suspected Titus of something. For these people, every talented mage is a dangerous thing, who's supposed to become one of them or to be destroyed.

What's next? The great elemental mage is a person Titus is needed ASAP. He has to train her for a battle with the Bane. But how? He is under non-stop supervision and Atlantis knew that he is involved in their deal with a mysterious mage on the run. Titus was ready for such a situation, he had a plan. But his mother’s visions weren't about a girl, so the prince was preparing to meet a boy: he had spread a legend at school in Eton about the temporary absence of Archer Fairfax, so all the students would believe that the elemental mage who's going to appear one day has been studying with them for years. Titus had planned to train with him in Crucible (fairytale-book which is like virtual reality, you can fight dragons there or you can go to the study section and meet now dead monarchs of the Domain and consult with them). But Iola is not a boy. How Titus would manage that?

Do you remember the comedy film "She’s the man" with Amanda Bynes? I LOL every time I watch it.
Iolanthe would have to disguise herself as a boy too. From now on she’s Archer Fairfax, a student of Eton and Prince Titus’s best friend (BTW, in non-mage school Titus is known as a Prince of a tiny monarchy next to Germany, Sax-Stain or something). Titus cuts Iola’s hair (as black as her eyes, the Prince is dark-haired as well but his eyes are blue-gray *swoon*), fits the boy's clothes for her body, brings her up to date, and acquaint Iola with Eton’s buddies of his. Believe me, this farce is more than funny.
But it was more than a little ironic that she had never been as popular as a girl as she was now as a boy.

Seems like all the problems are solved, but…
She was a coward, but better cowardly than dead.

Iolanthe not a fan of death in the flower of her age, she doesn’t want to fight but to give herself up to Atlantis isn't a pleasure either. Titus throws dust in Iola’s eyes and our bumpkin swears on blood to be his partner (like, I will help you with the Bane but you will help to release my guardian who is trapped by Atlantis). Only after the oath she get that Titus is a smooth operator.
“You snake,” she said. “What can I say? Prince Charming only exists in fairy tales.”

Or a snake.

Are you asking yourself what about romantic in this story? You are for a treat. Our heroes are very sane (they are 16 but act like mature persons), love for them isn’t a purpose but a consequence. Titus is mad about his duty. Iola is eager to undo her blood-oath and get the hell away from the Prince and his crazy plans. But there's something more between them. Deception, attraction... Sherry is very experienced with descriptions of the relationship between man and woman, she develops Titus and Iola's potential romance in a super nice manner. Their dialogues, reactions, feelings, and stuff scream about awesome slow-burn. I believed them, I fell for them, I shipped these two like a wild matchmaker. I would love to have more romantic moments between these two in the next books.

I heard The Burning Sky is a warm-up and the best parts would show themselves later. But you know what? I’m very pleased even with this warm-up thing. The book is a harmony of adventures, humor, swooning, and fantasy hardcore. I don’t mind eating such a mix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. So be it)

The Elemental Trilogy (Магия стихий):
The Burning Sky (Пылающие небеса) #1/3
The Perilous Sea (Опасные воды) #2/3
The Immortal Heights (Незабвенные выси) #3/3
Profile Image for Nina.
306 reviews409 followers
December 3, 2016
3.5 stars

I was warned by my friends Nastassja and Katerina that this book was going to make me fall in love with a prince – and it did. Titus VII is my small son and must be protected at all costs. As a hopeless shipper of love-hate relationships and devoted fan of girls disguising as boys, The Burning Sky was the perfect read for me, in the sense that it offered me a light read with some of my favourites plot devices. Alas, I could not ignore the flaws this urban fantasy presented me with, which include a world-building jammed with magical elements of all kind, as though the author simply couldn't decide whether to use spells or elemental magic or mind powers.

“This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known. Expect magic.”

The characters

You know, at first, I thought these characters weren't going to cut it. It was clear from the start that the female lead was going to ride the Special Snowflake and The Chosen One tropes, which we've frankly seen enough of for a while. In addition, Iolanthe manages to be so annoyingly naive and stubborn that I wanted to throttle her. Sherry Thomas, however, accomplished to somehow not make the plot solely circle around the speciuuul heroine. The male lead receives equally as much attention and, due to his utter preciousness, I was suddenly pulled on board. Iolanthe I started to appreciate as soon as she slipped into her disguise as an English school boy, for she makes a feisty one. The Girl Disguises As Boy plot device is one of my favourites, so naturally, the fun could finally begin. Nonetheless, this does not change my opinion that the characters, though fierce and adorable, held the potential for more depth, more introspection, and more development. For the light read The Burning Sky was, however, this was not an issue that bothered me during the read but rather dawned on me afterwards.

The writing and world-building

I have a soft spot for beautiful, almost poetic writing styles, much like that of Laini Taylor's and Marie Rutkoski's, and Thomas's writing can certainly not keep up with this preference of mine. However, this does not mean that Thomas doesn't have a way with words. The prose has a kind of raw beauty in its simplicity and a nice flow, too. For an urban fantasy, the writing was adequate and enjoyable. Sherry Thomas packed a crazy amount of fantasy elements into this book and, though it is certainly creative, it did not work for me. It was chaos. Wands, elixirs, elemental magic, mind powers, portals, mystical beasts. It was as though someone had blended Harry Potter with Avatar The Last Airbender, and exciting as this may sound, it was overdone for my taste.

The plot

The suspenseful plot is overall well balanced with character and relationship development. I admit that I wasn't hooked from the start, which had a lot to do with the confusing world-building and Iolanthe being a blithering idiot. But as soon as these two cupcakes were on the run, I couldn't put the book down anymore. The plot keeps a steady pacing during which the stakes are raised and the climax draws near. The ending, however, struck me as very anti-climatic after all the fuss. The romantic subplot had ups and downs for me. On one hand, the two are immediately drawn to each other for no apparent reason other than their looks, which was sort uf a turn-off because it screams 'insta-love' from the rooftops. On the other hand, Iolanthe and Titus have a serious case of a love-hate relationship, a slow burn romance developping after the initial awe, which made the romance work for me after all, especially since I'm 100% infatuated with love-hate relationships.

Another observation I should remark is that I perceived these characters to be quite young compared to most YA characters in their late teens. Personally, I was not bothered by the rather juvenile atmosphere of the book, but if you want your YA protagonists a bit more mature in their thinking and behaviour, then I suggest you skip this one.

In a nutshell, The Burning Sky was a promising start to an urban fantasy series, and though the book has its flaws, it makes for an overall enjoyable read. If you expect from an urban fantasy to deliver a delight of entertainment, suspense, and magic, this book will surely satisfy your bookish needs.

Every Word A Doorway | InstagramTwitterBloglovin
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,282 reviews1,655 followers
November 2, 2015
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because I loved every minute.

In my experience, YA novels written by romance novelists generally go one of two ways: awesomely or atrociously. Now, this may not be the case for most, but, personally, I go to a romance novel and a YA novel for totally different reasons, and I don’t want a romance novel from my YA; romance can (perhaps should) be a part of that, but there should be more going on than that. Thankfully, Sherry Thomas has written an absolutely amazing YA novel, bursting with fabulous characters, action, delightful writing, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Where do I even begin with what I loved when there is so much? Okay, let’s start at the beginning, where we meet our stubborn, hard-working, thoughtful heroine Iolanthe. She’s practicing hard to do the lighting at a wedding ceremony with her elemental magic, all to protect the job of her guardian, though he’s done little to deserve it. Then in he comes, ranting and raving and reminding me of Haymitch (his name is Haywood – coincidence?). He tells her not to perform at the wedding and ruins her light elixir. Consulting a magic text, she learns a thunderbolt (or more accurately lighting bolt) can save her elixir, so she discovers some powers she never knew she had just like that. No big deal. This alerts everyone, both good and bad, to the fact that she is a seriously kick butt elemental mage, and they all want her for something.

Enter Titus: spoiled Prince or hope of the Domain. Because of a prophecy, he knows that he needs this elemental mage to help him save everyone from the tyrannical, apparently immortal ruler of Antlantis. Titus believes in the prophecy and will risk everything, including both of their lives to fulfill it. Though he’s very goal-oriented, I took to Titus immediately with his spell-casting and his weird hobby of reading ladies’ magazines because he finds them comforting.

Now we’re getting to the really good part, namely the one where one of my favorite tropes comes in, and this really isn’t a spoiler I promise, since you will guess it in the tiny prologue. Basically, to hide out from the super terrifying bad guy, Iolanthe has to go undercover at a boys’ school, because Titus, misguided, assumed the mage of prophecy would be a guy, so he had a male’s disguise ready. Oops. Lucky for him, Iolanthe is brilliant and totally rocks at gender bending. Why do I love this so much? Because reasons. That may have to do with the fact that there’s always an adorable lgbt subtext. Like, yeah, Titus is straight, but he’s totally not bothered by all the rumors that he and his friend Fairfax are actually gay lovers, which is a quality I find charming in a guy. Also, it means the heroine isn’t super gorgeous all the time or fretting over her looks, and he likes her none the less for that.

Okay, so, obviously, there’s a romance here, and obviously I love it. They have a total hate to love thing going, which is my favorite. They also, true to that romantic arc at it’s best, excel at bantering with one another. Thomas really makes you feel the chemistry between them, and I was essentially trying to reach into the book and make them kiss all the way through. Even better, the romance doesn’t follow traditional lines, Iolanthe generally being the aggressor physically and Titus the more emotionally committed. In fact, Titus totally spends a lot of time daydreaming and doing the fantasy novel equivalent of doodling her name on his notebooks, and my goodness but it’s precious. Oh, and, even better, he doesn’t mind letting her save him sometimes.

Leaving the romance behind, I also want to praise Sherry Thomas for how powerful women are in The Burning Sky. On both the side of good and of evil, in the past and in the present, women have achieved both high rank and high power. So often, it’s just the heroine who really takes a strong female role, the better to stand out, but the Inquisitor, Helgira, and even Lady Callista are certainly to be feared and admired, in their ways. For once, this is a fantasy world in which everything isn’t intensely patriarchal, even more rare in a historically-based fantasy.

My only quibbles lie in the world building, which is a bit of a pop culture hodge-podge. While this didn’t detract from my enjoyment one bit, it’s a bit to process and might annoy other readers with similarities to other works. For example, I was strongly reminded of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Stardust (one of the cutest scenes of that movie – and maybe book, but I don’t remember – gender swapped). On top of that, I found the interweaving of our culture’s fairy tales into this fantasy world rather puzzling. I guess this must be an alternate universe then? I’m not quite sure, which is sort of my point. There’s a lot happening and it’s all fun, but I’m left feeling a bit shaky.

The Burning Sky kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. If you enjoy the fantasy works of Maria V. Snyder or Kristin Cashore, odds are you will appreciate Sherry Thomas’ YA debut. The sequel cannot come quickly enough. In fact, I loved the romance and themes in here so much, I may even try her romance novels.

Profile Image for Jess.
470 reviews598 followers
January 1, 2015
Don’t read it for the fantasy, read it for the love. These characters will steal your heart and never give it back. Just go with it.

I could eat fantasy for every meal of the day and still be satisfied for the rest of my life. I’m a simple girl. Yes, the Jess who exists on the cusps of 2014 and 2015 still prefers to devour a fantasy (over her nemesis, the contemporary), just one that won’t work her as much. As a fantasy, The Burning Sky was confusing, rather convoluted and hard to follow word for word. In other words, it’s her favourite kind to gloss over, get a general gist and go on happily because she’s obviously there for other reasons (the love, I was there for the love). Thomas’ fantasy world is shaky, at best, but her romance is on point. Her banter is glorious. Her character dynamic is beautiful. For me, a fantasy can do one of two things and be a winner: you either blow me away with your world building or you blow me away with your character dynamic. I don’t discriminate against good banter, I give it all my love (and even let the plot slide). I’m a kind soul like that.

I’m not going to deny it, the world building missed the mark in this one. Granted, this is Thomas’ first foray into YA and fantasy fiction at that, but let’s not make any excuses here, it was a little lacking. You see, Thomas practises the big hell to the no of fiction: the atrocity that is telling rather than showing (oh the horror). Diving into The Burning Sky was the equivalent to being in a history class; being told a bunch of things about a period that you could care less about, attempting to inconspicuously sleep your way through the term, stealing a couple of your mate’s vague notes and then bullshiting your way through the final exam with your general and rather vague knowledge. All in all, you’ll do alright. So fine, you won’t get that A grade but who the hell cares when you pass rather sufficiently. That’s how I felt with The Burning Sky. If you questioned me on the world building and the elemental system then I could tell you something rather ambiguous and walk you around in circles but in the end, I finished the book didn’t I? I understood most of the mumbo and made it to the end knowing what chain of events had occurred, and I’m satisfied with that.

Playing favourites with telling, and giving little love to showing, can only take you so far in a fantasy. It fucks you over a step further in a fantasy heavily reliant on an intricate system of magic. So how did Thomas combat it? By giving me a damn flash back friday to class and the joys of classical literature. Hands up if anyone here can recall those little citation numbers things that you find in classic literature. Yes, the ones that direct you to the back of the book where a rather hefty note section awaits. Thomas utilises this in order to expand on the world building that she should have interweaved seamlessly into the actual text. It’s a form of optional info dumping. And for the first few numbers, I bought it. That was until I realised how idiotic I was being by personally subjecting myself to info dumps that I would live happily without. I, on occasion, favour Orwell’s infamous “Ignorance is bliss” and let me tell you, in this instance, you can make do blissfully as an ignorant reader. There is no need to get down and dirty with the mass amounts of rather unnecessary information.

To tie in with the love for telling, there were times where the audience was expected to just know terms in Thomas’ fantasy vocabulary and I’ll be damned if I knew what any of it was. Take heed, for that can throw many off.

That being said, the characters in this book are completely on point. We have Prince Titus, Master of the Domain, who has positively stolen my heart. I’m going to go out on a limb right now and throw in two words: Gansey parallels. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? Those who’ve read the Raven Cycle will know of dear Gansey, and by mentioning this, I’m relating Titus to Gansey’s rather commanding presence. Titus, like Gansey, is diplomatic but perfectly charismatic; he is strong, but at the same time vulnerable, courteous and rather mesmerising. That being said, he can also be rather rude, obnoxious and rather cocky but it’s a fine balance. In fact, a mixture of all those traits has ensued in my heart being completely stolen. I get rather smitten by obnoxious princes, no idea why. It must be the banter. Those good kind soul kind of boys just don’t have a knack for witty banter.

I adored the characterisation of both main characters and secondary characters. They were the heart and soul of this book. Prince Titus, Master of the Domain, is a royal without heft and power, save his title and defiant soul. We’ve got a situation in this book where it’s not an outright war—aka Voldermort and the Order pretty much have to coexist. But it’s a precarious existence. The memory of the past, of an uprising, lives on and history stains. Titus lives a preordained existence; he is destined to fight and defeat the Bane, leader of Atlantis (a la, Voldermort’s crew). But there’s a catch, it’s not a lone man’s battle; he has a partner in crime. It is said that Prince Titus will train a great elemental mage who will conquer the Bane. Enter Iolanthe, elemental mage who, against all better judgement, brings down a bolt of thunder. She has control of an element that is practically unheard of. She becomes the (for lack of better word, I can never keep a straight face) “Chosen One”. On the veneer I suppose one could argue that Iolanthe/Fairfax is quite the Mary Sue. She’s multitalented, charismatic in her male disguise, well versed in nonmagical practices such as greek and latin verses (oh hell I wish I was) and on top of that, she controls every element under the fucking sun. So yes, she is rather capable in many aspects. What cancelled out my distaste for the Mary Sue trope was the fact that Iolanthe was still a flawed and thus realistic as a character. How many times have we read of heroes and heroines who hear of their destiny and choose to dive straight in, blind as a bat. How many times have we read of a courageous protagonist and are told that we should empathise and relate to them? Too many. And it’s rather unrealistic. Because you know what? If some complete bat head told me that I was going to save the fucking world one day, I’d say no thanks. Because saving equates to risking your life. And you know what, deep down I’m pretty sure I appreciate living. Iolanthe understands me. She’s fucking scared of dying. She’d rather not save the world.

“So a steer should head willingly to slaughter because the farmer has fed and house it? How many would make this bargain if they only knew what would happen to them in the end? You are asking me to give up everything for a cause that isn’t mine. Id not’ want to be part of any revolution. I just want to live.”
“To live like this, never knowing what t is like to be free?” His voice was tight.
“I will know nothing when I’m dead!”

Damn straight and highly plausible points. If only everyone else thought this through. Iolanthe’s reluctance is believable and hence her Mary Sue traits work. She doesn’t want to fucking fulfil her destiny and she certainly does not have a death wish. The girl just wants to live goddammit.

Titus is an interesting character and quite multifaceted. There is no denying that he is a rather manipulative soul with his own personal agenda. This series is highly dependent on the notion of destinies. Most specifically, it’s all about preordained events and running the risk of self-fulfilling precognitions. Titus’ mother, being a seer, outlined his future as a constant course of preparation, all leading to an ultimate battle against evil. But in a sense, he is driven by a need to self-fulfil his destiny. And he is chained to this thought by love.

Love was the ultimate chain, the ultimate whip, and the ultimate slave driver.

It is his love and dedication to his mother that keeps him bound to this path. It is love that fuels his need to be cold-hearted and manipulative. Because other than that, we’re lead to believe that should Titus have been unburdened by his sense of loyalty to destiny, he would have been a rather kind, self-sacrificing and princely soul. Hell he is. This side of him leaks out, bit by bit, with each interaction and moment that he shares with Iolanthe. It is a beautiful thing.

On top of it all, we see something so rare: the lovely reverse insta love trope. Otherwise known as my favourite thing in the whole wide world. Essentially, I just made it sound all appealing and all, because reverse insta love simply denotes the feeling of initial physical attraction which is disallowed from progressing further into dramatics by a sense of intense distrust. I love it. Initially, Titus and Iolanthe are rather attracted to one another. He’s a good looking rich and charismatic prince who saves Iolanthe from a rather tragic fate. Iolanthe turned out to be a pretty girl, as opposed to the being an ol’ boy kinda companion that Titus was always expecting. And you know, the idea of nearly dying can make your emotions rather heightened. And they feel the chemistry. But distrust can pretty much sever all connections. Iolanthe is cheated into their partnership and that pretty much brings an end to all the eye batting. What we get next is beautiful. Over the course of their partnership, their relationship blossoms into something wondrous. They have a beautiful dynamic together, whether they are masquerading under their guises as Prince Titus of the court of Saxe-Limburg and Archer Fairfax, pupils of Eton, or as Iolanthe and Titus, destined to defeat the Bane.

There’s no denying that this ship is beautiful. In fact, it’s the only thing driving my love for this book, to be honest. Their banter is on point and rather wittingly suited to their context of Victorian England. The dialogue is pretty much the winning factor of this book. That and the sexual innuendoes. How does one do a magical book and not throw in a wand innuendo. Look out for that one. This ship pretty much sails itself. They’ll worm their way into your heart.

Honestly, if you wanted a nuanced magical world that is crafted with an excellency capable of overshadowing faults then you’d best turn around now. The plot is rather confusing, and the first chunk of the book is horribly off-putting. It’s a case of survival with this one. You’re the baby bird and mama bird has pushed you out of the nest and into the wild. If you persist, you’ll survive. If you persist, this book and it’s characters will leech onto your heart and then you’ll never be able to let them go.

*Notice that I do use Harry Potter references in this review. This is only so in order to anchor you all onto something. The Elemental Trilogy does not resemble Harry Potter.
Profile Image for Allison.
554 reviews575 followers
March 7, 2017
This is the kind of Fantasy that I can just devour in a day. It's light, adventurous, romantic, and hard to put down. Soooo not epic. It's not that I don't enjoy Epic Fantasy, too. It's just such an investment, and you have to have patience, and often the characters are just a little too remote. Usually I have to take breaks from the Epics, both during and between installments.

Sometimes I just want to jump in and enjoy. I want a couple of characters that I can like, with problems that are a bit smaller so I can just enjoy hanging out in the world and getting to know them. It doesn't have to be impeccably detailed. It can have elements of what some people might call tropes, because - let's be honest - the tropes are the core of what I love about Fantasy in the first place. So although I do appreciate the grand, epic tales, I have to admit that I like this kind of Fantasy better. This is the kind I save up for days when I have plenty of time to read because the hours are going to fly by.

So, I really enjoyed reading The Burning Sky. It has fun magic (and plenty of it), romance (but not overwhelming), 19th Century London set alongside mage realms, British boarding school experience, a girl disguised as a boy, and magical training in a virtual reality type world. Oh yes, there are also wyverns! And just to keep it from being boring, there's overarching danger and a suitably detestable villain or two. But it's the development and interaction of the two main characters that really carries the story. Pure fun. I can't wait to see what comes next.
Profile Image for Cinda.
Author 33 books11.2k followers
March 29, 2013
The Burning Sky combines one of the most creative magical system since Harry Potter with sizzling romance and characters who will win your heart.
Profile Image for Debby.
589 reviews538 followers
April 16, 2021
First read: September 2013
Second read: September 2015

4.5 stars

The Burning Sky is one of those books with a premise and a cover that pretty much had me salivating. It sounded perfect for me. It hit all the right notes. And while I recognized many points on which the book could have been better, this was such an engaging and absorbing read that I loved it all the same.

Let's get the elephant out of the room: the romance. It is... amazing. Irresistible. Addicting. Iolanthe and Titus have a chemistry that drips off the page. It didn't take long at all for me to be head over heels for them. It was just the right kind of development for me: starting off with mild interest, turning to disdain, turning to fervently denying any affections and trying to resist... but it being inevitable and unavoidable. All around though, the slightest mention of any affection between the two main characters had my heart pounding. It was just so beautiful. And then you end up with irresistibly adorable quotes like...

Now he could work her likeness into any story of his choosing.
Now he could fight dragons for her.
And now he could kiss her again. - The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas


This leads perfectly into my immense love for the main characters. Iolanthe, the elemental mage of prophecy, gets recruited to go on a quest to save the realm from the Bane, a tyrant mage of Atlantis, by the Prince, Titus. The book actually gets told from the alternating perspectives of Iolanthe and Titus. If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm not typically a fan of alternating perspectives. But, here it wasn't alternating chapters - sometimes they switched multiple times in one chapter, and each switch felt necessary. Not only because you see the two characters gradually falling for each other (which is irresistible, as we have established), but also because they have such different motives and perspectives during their mission. Their voices, in that sense, were also really distinctive. Titus, the prince, is absolutely charming in every way, even though he can act like a prick - and does that as an act to the outside world. But his bravery and dedication run so deep that I absolutely love him. Iolanthe starts off completely frightened by the situation, and then starts resenting Titus (due to spoilery circumstances). Over the story though, she develops and grows in a huge way, and by the end she is so courageous and confident, that it's almost like she's a totally different person. It's character development at its very best.

The plot itself had its ups and downs. The beginning was strong, with Titus coming to rescue Iolanthe and them running to safety while being introduced to the prophecy and the two wonderful main characters. The middle, however, could have been way stronger. While I liked reading more about the characters and the budding romance, the plot had its moments where I was wondering where in the world it was going. However, the end pulled it all together again. It was fast-paced, heart stopping action that I just loved, with magic, dragons, battles, political intrigue, etc. In short, it took a while to get there, but the plot was convincing too.

So while for most of this book I was so overcome by feels that I managed to ignore any prevailing negatives, I do recognize that this book wasn't perfect. Most of my qualms (in fact, all of them) related to the world building. See, young adult high fantasy is hard to accomplish. Younger readers are less tolerant of the long exposition sections typical to high fantasy: the info-dumps that create the world. However, in high fantasy, you're creating a world from scratch, so to be thorough, those info-dumps are almost necessary. The Burning Sky did not contain those info-dump expositions, so younger readers won't be scared off. But, this means the world was a bit underdeveloped for my taste, and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions.

For instance, there are different types of magic: elemental magic, subtle magic, and mind magic. What each type entails and where the boundaries lie remains extremely vague. Also, all throughout the book I was wondering whether the people in the human world knew about the existence of magic or not - because it's never explicitly stated either way. And I was also confused about the intersection between the magic realms and the nonmage realms - are they in the same plane, are they different dimensions, or what? I couldn't figure it out, and as a bit of a world building fanatic, that did bother me. I wanted a map (especially of the capital city in the magic realm) and I just wanted clarity, especially also in some scenes where magic was used and the descriptions were so rushed and vague that I couldn't picture it that well in my imagination. But, as a reader who obsesses over world building, the fact that I managed to ignore this issue so well, due to the overwhelming and beautiful feels, means that the book doesn't suffer so much from this. It's still an absolutely wonderful read. (Here's hoping this is cleared up in the sequel!)

Summing Up:

Seriously, this is a favorite. This is a Debby Book™. This beautiful story, and especially the romance, had me flailing around on my bed, seriously stifling sobs and squeals. It struck me in the heart like Cupid's arrow. I will be rereading this so often, and the world building issue is almost negligible at this point. I just love it! I will go crazy for an ARC of the sequel, because I need that in my hands as soon as humanly possible.

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

People who like FEELS (AKA everyone), and fans of Throne of Glass  and Shadow and Bone .

**An electronic ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews332 followers
August 10, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
538 reviews658 followers
September 15, 2018
*1.5/5 stars*

“A messy business, rescuing princes.”

This book was so slow for me. So. Slow. Very little happened for most of the book and everything was packed just in the last chapters. And I just did not care. I didn't care about the story. I didn't care about the characters in the slightest.

The story is alternately told from two POVs: Iolanthe - The Chosen One elemental mage, and Titus - scheming prince of the realm. While Titus's character had some personality at least, Iolanthe was entirely one dimensional. Most of her character consisted from being the future powerful elemental mage and being the Chosen One for defeating the Bane - usurper and the story's bland (practically missing) villain. Sadly, I felt very detached from the story because of my lack of connection with the characters. Also, the characters felt quite a bit childish to me, I don't know why exactly, but this novel felt a bit more like a middle grade read - If the author only switched the age of the characters three or four years younger, I wouldn't think this was a YA.

The world building was practically like a mix of Harry Potter and Narnia... In an overwhelming way. The Burning Sky was simply overfilled with magic, magical objects and beings to the brim. There was way too much magical elements and it just didn't work for me. The world building was overstuffed and confusing and while some magical objects were an awesome idea, I found myself uninvested.

The writing style felt stylish: like a historical fiction and it may seem a bit dense to some, but it was actually one of the things that worked for me. Though I had problems with how the story was told - mainly that there seemed to be way more telling than showing and the plot really dragged.
I absolutely did not care about the romance, which despite being hate to love (one of my favourite tropes), felt like just another bland insta-love with no spark.

The thing about The Burning Sky for me is that while I didn't hate anything about this book, I didn't love any aspect (except being interested in parts of the world building) of it either. It mostly hit the mark between 'it was bland' and 'it was ok'. So here you go two stars. I'm going to continue the sequel sometime mainly because I want to see it the story improves for me later on.

“This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known.
Expect magic.”

I don't even know why, but I had very high expectations from this one and sadly ended up being disappointed.



Because I obviously need to read yet another series about elemental magic after Air Awakens!
Profile Image for Renu (The Page Turner).
96 reviews119 followers
July 16, 2017
He kissed the shell of her ear. “Then let me tell you this: I live for you, and you alone.”

The Burning Sky is a mesmerising epic fantasy with compelling characters and a heart achingly beautiful romance.

The world building in The Burning Sky is phenomenal. Thomas has weaved together a world of magic, adventure, and intrigue. In an effort to correct a tainted batch of light elixir, Iolanthe Seabourne summons a bolt of lightning and sets in motion a chain of events that will forever change her life. Watching from a great distance, Prince Titus spot the lightening, and recognises immediately that the prophecy for which he has been preparing for his whole life has come true. The mage who has summoned this extraordinary lightning bolt is prophesied to be the greatest elemental mage of her generation, the one that can help him free the realm from the grips of the greatest tyrant the world has ever known. Titus must train Iolanthe, all the while keeping her identity a secret from the world, because if the Bane finds out he will stop at nothing to find her.

Iolanthe is an incredible heroine. In order to keep her identity a secret she joins Titus and masquerades as boy at Eton college, a public school for boys. This is the only way she can train without arousing suspicion. For someone who is thrust into an unexpected situation with no preparation or training she adapts quickly and plays her role as Archer Fairfax well. Although at times she is uncertain, she never complains or whines making her an admirable mc in my books.

The burden of the prophesy weights heavily on Titus as he knows for that for him, it is the beginning of the end. Despite this, though, he is determined to uphold his role as a mentor to Iolanthe and help her take down the Bane. Titus is a brilliant and multi-layered hero. He knows that he can't let anyone get to know the real him so puts on a air of self-importance and condescension. At first he keeps Iolanthe at arms length, because as he repeatedly tells her people like him can't have friends. Only this turns out to be much harder than he anticipated as he hadn't expected to fall for her...

"Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today", and I can certainly see why. The relationship between Iolanthe and Titus is one I found myself easily rooting for. The back and forth banter, the slow burning romance and the eventual build up of trust was perfectly executed.

The Burning Sky is most definitely one of my favourite books of the year so far. The first in a planned trilogy this is a must read for fantasy fans!

This review also appears on my blog, The Page Turner.
Profile Image for Emily Duncan.
Author 5 books2,757 followers
December 7, 2020
reread in 2020 (first read in 2013? 2014?) and JUST as incredible as the first time I read it. I love grouchy, lying Titus so much.
757 reviews2,350 followers
April 22, 2017
I have changed my rating from a 3 to 2 1/2 stars.

Beware, this review will have a shitload of The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra gifs.

Well this was a lot different from what I was expecting.

It reminded me a lot of my baby Zuko. *Heart eyes*


And how could I forget dear Mako?


Now enough of that.

"It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

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."

Iolanthe was an annoying character. She was literally perfect at whatever task Titus threw at her.

"This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known."

"'My Latin is fine. It's my Greek that's as ghastly as your lovemaking,' she retorted. The boys howled, including Titus, who laughed out of sheer shock-and relief.
She was good.
Brilliant, in fact."

"Fairfax! And by catching the ball before it had landed, she had dismissed Wintervale, one of the best batsmen in the entire school."

"She was gifted: fast, strong, and marvelously coordinated."

All right Titus we get it.

Other than that Iolanthe was basically Korra 2.0. Iolanthe couldn't control air. #Korravibes

And she had to save The Realm from the bad guys with Titus!

Titus. I couldn't take that guys character seriously at all. Tit-us. How can you take a guy with that name seriously?



Titus is the Prince of Eberon (One of the realms) and he has prepared his entire life to protect the greatest elemental mage. Titus is always lying and deceiving people since he is constantly being watched.




The romance was meh. It was basically a love/hate relationship in this case. There is no love triangle.

The setting takes place in London. A place filled with people who can control the elements, called mages and non-mages.


Even though it took me a while to get into this book, I ended up liking it. Sadly, I didn't really feel anything for the characters or anything for the story really. It's just meh.

The story's pace was good and it was easy to read.

I will be reading the rest of the series since I want to know what happens.

Profile Image for Grace A..
414 reviews39 followers
March 18, 2022
The realm has been enslaved by Atlantis and there is a girl, the main character, Iolanthe Seabourne who was prophesied to deliver them from the clutch of the overlord of Atlantis, the Bane, who despite all attempts at killing him keeps resurrecting.
There is only one problem, Iolanthe was unaware of the prophecy or her destiny. When she made a mistake of correcting a seemingly harmless potion with her lightning power, the Bane was alerted to her whereabouts and her life was in danger, as the Bane sought to kill her.
The official ruler, a young prince, Titus, swore to protect Iolanthe and prepare her to fight the Bane. In the meantime, she had to disguise as a boy, practice her magic and attempt to kill the Bane once more.
All the disguise in the world did not keep Iolanthe and the prince’s attraction to each other at bay. It is this love ❤️, and desire to protect each other that’s became a vital part of their survival.
So far so good...on to the next book in the series...3.5 stars
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews1,012 followers
January 3, 2020
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

In a somewhat amusing turn of events, I actually picked up a copy of Sherry Thomas' debut young adult fantasy THE BURNING SKY because I read one of her adult historical romances several months back and really loved it. How's that for a commentary on the state of affairs in my neck of the woods these days? And while I really do love the cover after having read it (and for blessedly not featuring any actual human beings or, worse, a young boy reaching out to a young girl in space), I really don't know if I would have picked it up on its own. In my experience, when an author transitions from adult to YA, it is often (sadly) an absolute train wreck. As though the writing has been . . . sanitized or lobotomized . . . and all I want to do is wipe my mind clean of the lost chance. This is not always the case, of course, and there are instances of the exact opposite. And when that happens, everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. But. I do tend to hold my breath. Especially when it is a beloved author. But knowing how much I loved Ms. Thomas' writing before, I just had to see what she would do with a whole new world and a whole new readership at her disposal.

Iolanthe Seabourne has spent her life in relative isolation, living in quiet scholarship, moving from village to village with her increasingly unreliable guardian. And then one unsuspecting morning, as she is busy preparing for a local wedding, her life splinters into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. As an elemental mage, she is able to control three of the four elements, and her powers with fire (her best element) are often sought for weddings and other local celebrations. But when she succeeds in summoning an actual bolt of lightning, all manner of hell breaks loose and Iolanthe finds herself unceremoniously magicked away to a far corner of England where a strange young man insists she disguise herself as a boy. At Eton College, no less. Prince Titus of Elberon has been nothing more than a figurehead his entire life. With his country all but occupied by the fearful Empire of Atlantis, and the dreaded Inquisitor breathing down his neck day and night, Titus has retreated deeper and deeper within himself in an effort to keep the secrets he so carefully guards. And as long as Titus can remember, he's waited for his mother's prophecy to come to fruition. For the most powerful mage in the world to show himself and make it possible to join forces with the prince in his mission to save the world as they know it. When that most powerful mage turns out to be a 16-year-old girl, Titus is forced to regroup and convince her his cause really is worth risking her life as they train together to face the nightmare that is Atlantis.

The whole thing begins with the following irresistible opening lines:
Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys. A sixteen-year-old pupil named Archer Fairfax returned from a three-month absence, caused by a fractured femur, to resume his education.

Almost every word in the preceding sentence is false. Archer Fairfax had not suffered a broken limb. He had never before set foot in Eton. His name was not Archer Fairfax. And he was not, in fact, even a he.

This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known.

Expect magic.

As you can tell, I really stood no chance at all. In fact, the almost immediate affection I felt for this book caught me unawares. The writing is there in all its subtle glory, which was the first relief. The worldbuilding is both cheeky and charming, which was the second. But the characters. How I love these characters. What impressed me the most was how Ms. Thomas was able to make me both hate and weep over Titus, this prince who has given everything, including his heart, to destroying the evil force that haunts his homeland. There is little but lies left to Titus when he first crosses Iolanthe's path, and none of them nice ones. Similarly, I devoted every reading moment to wishing Iolanthe would vault herself as far away as she possibly could from Titus and his impossible desires, while at the same time hoping somewhat feebly that she would see why he had molded himself into this callous instrument of vengeance and perhaps find a shred of something there worth saving. There is little but unexplored potential to Iolanthe when she first dons a boy's trappings and insinuates herself into life at Eton. But my, do they grow. And down such twisty paths, too. It was so much fun following these two along their dreadful road to confrontation. The stakes managed to be at once epic and intensely personal. And that is all I ever ask of a book. Well, that and a real villain. Interestingly, the villain in THE BURNING SKY is something of a double one. I feared the one I could see and the one I couldn't in equal measure. Of the Inquisitor, Titus makes the following chilling observation:
Gazing into her eyes was like looking at blood running down the street.

Talk about a Madame Defarge moment. That is exactly how I felt whenever she inhabited a room. Her malevolent emptiness made me want to turn tail and head for the hills, which means that I understood Titus' old terror as well as Iolanthe's fresh one. It was an altogether unsettling and addictive sensation. To say nothing of the Crucible, which was spectacular in every way and which I think I'll let you discover for yourselves. As you can tell, THE BURNING SKY comprehensively exceeded every one of my expectations. I closed it incredibly satisfied and perfectly delighted that there will be two more in this excellent new trilogy from such a talented writer.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews373 followers
August 26, 2013
A breathtaking masterpiece!

Wow! Have you ever finished reading a book and just wanted to sit there and hug it and read it all over again? The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is that kind of book.

One of the things that I enjoyed about The Burning Sky was the complex and interesting world. The book is set in England at the Eton School at the end of the 19th century. But it is also set in a parallel magical world where elemental mages are hunted down by a powerful Inquisitor and a formidable mage known as The Bane.

The magic of this world is really cool. Mages have an interesting mode of transportation. They can vault (teleport) from one place to another, the distance dependent on the mage’s power. If that mode of transportation is not suitable, there are chariots pulled by dragon-like creatures, or even rides on the backs of dragons. I loved The Crucible, a storybook world where each area followed a particular fairy tale, a world within a world – so neat!

One of my favorite things about this book was the characters. Iolanthe Seabourne was an elemental mage who had been hidden in plain sight by her mentor. She draws attention to herself when she uses her power to summon lightning. Iolanthe finds herself running for her life from the Inquisitor and ends up with Prince Titus who has seen her in a prophecy. He believes that she is the one to help him defeat the Bane.

Iolanthe is an exceptional character. She is strong, bright, and a powerful mage just coming into her powers. Throughout the book, she masquerades as a boy - Archer Fairfax, the Prince’s companion. She is able to pull off the deception quite well and manages to fool her classmates. Iolanthe is no shrinking violet. She stands up to the Prince on numerous occasions and challenges him. I loved the banter between these two. They are clearly attracted to each other, but put aside their feelings in order to defeat the Inquisitor and the Bane.

The Burning Sky is beautifully written. The story is captivating and I found it difficult to put down. The court intrigue, the magic, the power plays, the dragons – all made this book one of the best young adult fantasies I’ve read this year so far. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for a review copy of this book.

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.

Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews884 followers
November 26, 2017
Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys. A sixteen-year-old pupil named Archer Fairfax returned from a three-month absence, caused by fractured femur, to resume his education.

Almost every word in the preceding sentence is false. Archer Fairfax had not suffered a broken limb. He had never before set foot in Eton. His name was not Archer Fairfax. And he was not, in fact, even a he.

Is it not one of the greatest prologues that you've read in a while? That was the question I asked myself as I started reading the Burning Sky. So very promising a book, I thought. But perhaps I am bound to meet harsh disappointment, especially that many reviewers I respect were somewhat critical towards Thomas' writing. And yet, despite my fears and initial apprehension, I found The Burning Sky one of the best books I have recently read and let me tell you why I think so.

Iolanthe, I'm so glad you exist. Finally a heroine I like. Not a Pain Jane and definitely not a Mary Sue, just a girl faced with the impossible and trying to make the best of it. And she does it gracefully, most of the times at least. But even when she stumbles, or yields to a panicked sense of self-preservation, she does it without unnecessary theatrics. It makes her more human, not attention seeking and emotionally unstable. What I like the most about Iolanthe is the fact that before destiny slapped her in the face and told her to save the world, she was an invisible hero of daily-life, caring for herself and her guardian, Master Haywood, addicted to a substance called merixida. In spite of being only 16, she was forced to be an adult, to carry on no matter what and make the best of every terrible situation. And when she tries to secure his employment, and run the house and hide his miserable state from other people, she does it without bitterness or the "you-owe-me" attitude, which I hate. For this reason, it is easier for her to face what must be done. Even if the decision does not come easily.

Titus is just a boy to fall in love with. Instantly. And then to live happily ever after. He is handsome (of course), he is smart (how could he not), but he is also mature and has, as Thomas writes "a nobility to his bearing that had little to do with his bloodline and everything to do with the sense of purpose". This purpose, this quest bestowed upon him by his very own mother, is to bring down the worst and most powerful dictator of all ages. Titus devotes his whole life to this task. Posing for a selfish, spoiled, and jaded princeling, secretly he spends every minute training, preparing, anticipating and... waiting for the foretold great elemental mage. The tension between his public image and the real self, with all the ramifications of such life, is superbly shown by Thomas.

"There was always a melancholy to him, a heavy-heartedness that came of being entrusted with too great a burden".

Brace yourselves ladies, Titus will melt your hearts.

The love between them follows the traditional boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy fights for a girl scheme. Nevertheless, it is far from schematic, it is not shallow, and more importantly, it is convincing. The bathing scene with Iolanthe as a canary is both hilarious and heartbreaking as is the Sleeping Beauty theme.

The Bane is just a standard evil-incarnated figure but we only have glimpses of him in the Burning Sky. Do not despair however, for Madam Inquisitor will give you your hate&fear fix. Oh, Madam Inquisitor! What a fine figure! "Gazing into her eyes was like looking at blood running down the street." Do you need more encouragement to get acquainted with her?

The world is rich, with magic, history, culture and everything, painted not in brash, crude strokes, but rather artfully sketched. I like the way Thomas immerses the reader in her world. It is not happening immediately, in the opening chapters, with long pages of descriptions and explanations. Getting to know the Domain (and other realms) is like soaking with a sweet summer drizzle. You don't even notice when you are all wet. And even if not everything makes instantaneous sense, all the loose ends come together. Magic is fresh and versatile. The way the mage and non-mage realms blended was interesting, although not as nicely done as it was in Between Two Thorns (although that is the only good thing I can say about Emma Newman). I thought some of the ideas were truly ingenious: vaulting, otherwise spells, and the Crucible specifically. And it is not easy to come up with something original in fantasy! Oh, and I love the notes explaining bits of magic laws or particular spells, they are a nice touch. And are funny, too!

There are only two minor plot-related faults I detected. Not even inconsistencies, rather knots in an otherwise seamless piece All in all, I find The Burning Sky quite unjustly lumped together with other books of average quality below 4 stars (especially when one thinks that monstrosities like The City of Glass or Uprooted or The Queen of Shadows all belong to the 4+ stars club).

The Burning Sky deserves much more! But it also means that my expectations are high with respect to The Perilous Sea. Please don't fail me...
Profile Image for Anali.
588 reviews98 followers
April 20, 2018
Actualización de Review - Relectura

“You can live forever for me.”

En serio, me encanta esta novela.

La historia es genial, los personajes son fuertes y valientes y el romance es simplemente perfecto. Me parece que es una novela juvenil que tiene la dosis adecuada de magia, acción, romance y tensión.

Sigo manteniendo mi puntuación porque la disfrute mucho. Muy recomendada :)

Review - Primera lectura

“You are asking me to give up everything for a cause that isn't mine. I don't want to be part of any revolution. I just want to live.”

*O* WOW!! Burning Sky ha sido realmente increíble!!! Es una historia de fantasía genial llena de magia, romance, acción, personajes fantásticos y muchas situaciones imprevistas. Me lo he pasado en grande con este libro y me ha sorprendido porque no esperaba que me gustara tanto.

La trama está muy bien construída, es muy buena e interesante, pero lo mejor es la magia. En este libro he encontrado varias cosas muy innovadores y que no había visto en otras novelas de fantasía juvenil pero Sherry Thomas supo crear un mundo extraordinario con criaturas mitológicas, con hechizos, situación de tensión y suspenso y muy buenos personajes.

Algo que ha estado muy bien también fueron los personajes. Los buenos, los malos y los intermedios estuvieron bien definidos. O los amas o los odias o desconfías. A mi me encantaron los chicos de Eton y me siento un poco mal por que estén siendo un poquito engañados, pero bueno...

En cuanto a los protagonistas, no tengo mucho que decir. Me FASCINAN!!! Iola y Titus han sido increíbles. Ambos. Tienen muchas cualidades buenas: son fuertes, leales, valientes y decididos. Me agradan un montón a pesar de que también tienen sus errores o sus ratos donde terminan metiendo la pata.

“As long as I live and breathe, I will be with you.”

Sin embargo, más que nada, me encanta que estén juntos. Es que simplemente son tan lindos que da gusto. Su romance me parece super acertado porque no fue precipitado sino lento y algo incierto pero con muchos sentimientos y declaraciones expuestas. Se han ganado un puesto como una de las mejores parejas romántica para mí.

Iola es mi personaje favorito aunque tengo que admitir que estoy enamorada de Titus (Es q es tan cool y divertido y guapo jajaja)

Debo decir que todo en la historia me atrapó así que seguiré con el segundo y luego llorare y esperare desesperada hasta que salga el tercero.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
801 reviews2,913 followers
February 17, 2021
Dnf-ing this at 47%

It's just not working for me.
I find the writing to be incredibly dry and detached, and the story, while interesting, seemed approximately put together.
In fact, in my opinion, the world-building is heavily underdeveloped and the magic system lacked substance. I mean, I haven't read the whole thing, but if by the first half of the novel I still have no idea why everything that's happening is happening, because the author forgot or choose to present the basics, I'd say we have a problem.
Some things you're just being told and you've got to just accept them without needing the info you clearly need.
For example...what's Atlantis and the Band's purpose being their evil actions? Author tells you they're bad but gives you no backstory for why this feud even started.
And that's just one thing that didn't convince me.

I also couldn't really connect with the characters, but I've got the feeling it's to partially blame on the writing, once again. Sure, Iolanthe is a terrible, reckless Mary Sue main character and Titus isn't much better, but I can't be too harsh on them since I didn't finish the book.

I'm not sure I'll give this series another chance, to be honest. I was expecting something, don't know what, just not this.

#PenguinOnATBRMission: book #8

this hashtag is something I self-indulgently created for fun when I decided to thin out my immense tbr list as a new years resolution starting from books I added on GR back in 2017/2018/2019 those I added more recently will be shelved normally. So please feel free to check out the shelf with the same name to check out how it went with previous books, to keep up with this insanely over-hyped adventure I got myself into or to simply share with another overdoing, picky, messy reader your very own reading experience. Happy reading and stay penguin-y!

To Be Continued...🐧
Profile Image for Gillian.
457 reviews1,088 followers
March 15, 2019
Rating: We went from a hot mess of a beginning to an inventive, magical tale with EPIC romance.

Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

I spent all of my Across a Star-Swept Sea review talking about my favorite tropes, and I sort of wish I'd saved that discussion for this book. Because The Burning Sky employed two of my utter favorite tropes brilliantly, so brilliantly that they overcame what I thought was a kind of horrendous beginning: Girl-Disguised-as-a-Boy and I-Hate-You-I-Love-You.

I started this book with ALL THE EXCITEMENT because PRETTY COVER and MAGICAL MAYHEM AWAITED ME! The tiny little prologue really worked for me. It set the whole book up brilliantly and mentioned Eton School, which is a famous public (which means private in England, because Brits are strange) school for boys. So I kind of assumed this book would take place in England, since the prologue most assuredly did.

Nope. We start out in a tiny old-timey village in the realm of... somewhere, where a girl named Iolanthe Seabourne is having some fun with her elemental mage powers. She can control water, fire, and earth, and she's pretty bad-ass at all three of them. Her crabby, drug-addicted mentor/guardian, Haymitch Haywood, comes stumping up at her, shrieking to stop showing off and to not not not go to the wedding that she'd been planning to go to tonight. Iolanthe has been employed to mix the light elixir, which is apparently only something an elemental mage can do. Haywood forbids her to go for REASONS and ruins her elixir. Iolanthe, understandably upset and too stupid to understand there's a dangerous reason she shouldn't go, wrangles a lightning bolt and zaps the elixir, which magically fixes it. It also draws quite a bit of attention.

"The elements are fire, air, water, and earth. Lightning is none of them."
"One could say lightning is the marriage of fire and air."
"One could say mud is the marriage of water and earth," he said dismissively.

Now, that sounds semi straightforward, but believe me, it was not. I had absolutely no freaking clue what was happening, you guys. People kept mentioning Atlantis, but in like a bad, evil way, but it has nothing to do with the famous city under the sea, but seems to have people in it, and then they mention the year is 1021 but just a second ago we were in Eaton in 1888, but wait we are talking about Rumpelstiltskin like he's real, and wait who on earth is this prince guy in a castle in the clouds who can apparently Apparate from place to place SO CONFUSED SO CONFUSED WHAT ON EARTH IS ATLANTIS PLEASE TELL ME

We're not given any time to figure anything about the world-building out. We're flung from place to place and situation to situation at a dizzying, blinding speed, and terms are whizzing by, and we're meant to grasp them. But I just had a frustration headache. And the writing was oddly formal and stilted (which never really changed, but I got used to it).

I only really started to get a handle on things once Titus, aforementioned princely fellow, takes Iolanthe to Victorian England. Apparently, there are different realms, and they're connected. Titus and Iolanthe and their silly names are from a mage realm. Their country, of which Titus is puppet prince, is under the control of Atlantis, which I still don't fully understand. Is it a society? Is it another country? Either way, it's creepy and evil as heck, and is headed by the Bane, baddest, most Voldemort-y mage of all time, and the Inquisitor, a woman who can burrow into your brain and shatter your sanity and collect your thoughts.

The Bane wants Iolanthe for REASONS. For other REASONS I won't tell you, Titus has decided to hide Iolanthe to keep her safe. So he disguises her as a boy and takes her with him to school--to Eton, where no one will look for her.

Ahhhh. That was the sound of me letting out a huge sigh of relief as the book finally starts to make of a modicum of sense. And not jsut sense... but awesome. Because once Tight-ass (hee, hee) and Iolanthe come together, that's when the real magic starts. And by magic I obviously mean

The romance is perfect. I wouldn't change a thing about the way Titus' adorably serious personality plays against Iolanthe's natural charm and bravado. I loved every swoony second of their arc--from admiration, to all-out loathing (Iolanthe's), to the beginnings of feelings they both try to fight against, to... well, I'm to going to tell you! Also, I don't think you can understand how much I love when girls disguise themselves as boys in fiction. I blame Alanna and Mulan and a million other favorite heroines for this. So Iolanthe disguised as Archer Fairfax, confident, cricket-playing Etonion was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Are Titus and Iolanthe a little too good at everything? Probably But I enjoyed the inventiveness of some of the magic spells, and the Crucible in particular, even though I don't like the use of our realm's fairy tales. It felt like too much. A bit of a hodge podge, really. But I loved Titus and Iolanthe's personalities and chemistry, and that they weren't above deceiving each other.They've got an excellent bantery I-loathe-you-but-obviously-I'll-love-you thing going on. And this book is FUNNY. I love books with senses of humor. They have a dirty conversation about "wands" that is truly delightful, and the breast binding is scene is wonderfully, awkwardly hilarious.

"For... resizing your person," he said as he rehemmed the sheet with another spell. 

Oh Titus, you adorable princeling. Let me love you.

So. Was the beginning a tangle of nonsense? Yes. Could the world-building use a bit of tightening? Definitely. Did I shriek and squeal and hug myself while carving Titus + Iolanthe into a tree? HELL YEAH. This ship, it is a good, strong ship, and I am its proud captain. Come sail with me.

"Oh, I am destiny's darling."

*huggles the poor Titus* I would like the sequel sometime now-ish, please. Even sooner, if it's possible.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,284 reviews