Title: The Burning Sky
Series: The Elemental Trilogy, #1
Author: Sherry Thomas
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 15th, 2013
Source: Gifted from Cyra at Rattle the Pages for the Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap
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.
From the synopsis, I expected the typical romantic fantasy sword and sorcery story, but this one was better than anticipated. Sherry Thomas has created a lush world layered atop our own, and characters with more maturity and sense than you’d expect.
Iolanthe is a fantastic young woman: powerful, focused, confident, and dedicated. She’s also human: not eager to run into death, not focused on romance, and not willing to sacrifice herself and her family for a greater good. Likewise, the stoic Titus is self-centered (understandably so), but earnest, and they make an excellent match.
That being said, the focus of the story is not the romance. It grows organically, but it’s second to the driving plot (which I appreciate). And something I love: the author includes footnotes that reference passages from fictional academic texts. How meta is that?! I love me some footnotes.
Overall, I definitely recommend it for fans of fantasy, historical fantasy (the world overlays with our own Victorian history), young adult, logical and creative concept of magic, and strong female protagonists. I will definitely be picking up the second book in the trilogy!