Magic, romance, and intrigue combine in this extraordinary novel—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and Kristin Cashore. Publishers Weekly called it “a wonderfully satisfying magical saga” in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews said it “bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success.”
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.
Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.
My first disclaimer would be that fantasy is not my thing–I really only gave this book a shot because my sister really raved about it. It’s a mix of fantasy, romance, and just a hint of historical fiction (though a part of this book would take place in “real life” London in 1883, that aspect of the setting does not play a big part in the plot. It could have taken place in modern day London and wouldn’t have made much of a difference!).
My first impressions of the book was that it was alright. The back cover had compared The Burning Sky to the likes of the Harry Potter series and I must say that it’s a bit of an ambitious comparison and the book didn’t exactly live up to Harry Potter. For me, the pacing was a little bit slow and for the most part, I didn’t really find this book to be a page turner–I will admit that it was a bit of a struggle to continue to turn the pages. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t good but that it simply lacked a drive that pushes the reader forward.
I will say, however, the book is good in its own rights and that sticking through it ended up being a good decision. The author is a romance/historical romance writer and I feel like it shows in The Burning Sky in both a positive and slightly negative way–I feel like the romance between Iolanthe and Titus was done fairly well, albeit a bit cringe-worthy at times but overall, well thought out with the right mix of chemistry and tension. At the same time, the I wish there was more as far as the fantasy element was concerned. The story-telling could be tightened up a little and Thomas could have done more to drive the plot forward. It was a good story with a good plot, and in the end Thomas did deliver what the synopsis promised, but it lacks a bit of ‘oomph.’
I think one redeeming aspect of the story is that although it is a trilogy, it stands well on its own. Of course, Thomas leaves some loose threads at the end, but the main plot was definitely tied up. There is no frustrating cliffhanger ending and readers who are interested in this world can certainly continue going.
Will I? Most likely not–however that isn’t due to the plot or the writing, but my own general disinterest in reading fantasy novels. I will, however, keep an eye out for this author as there is talent and potential in her books and writing!
4/5 stars for this book.
Purchase the book