Pages: 464 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013 (It's out now!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
When I heard that Sherry Thomas was writing a young adult novel, I got really excited. The historical romances I've read by Sherry (Not Quite a Husband, Ravishing the Heiress and Tempting the Bride are my favorites by her) are really good and I was expecting the same with her young adult novel.
Guys, The Burning Sky was awesome! It's been a while since I've read a YA fantasy and this novel definitely reminded me how much I miss reading the sub-genre. Admittedly, the beginning did not capture me right away but after a few chapters I got really into the story.
Sherry did a really great job with the world-building. The world was complex, with many different facets to it and I'm excited to see it explored more fully in the next two books in the series.
I really liked the main characters Iolanthe and Titus--The Burning Sky was told in third-person and it goes back and forth in perspective between the two of them. I generally like dual perspective so it worked for me and the third-person was refreshing (I've been reading too many first-person novels lately).
Iolanthe and Titus were both interesting characters, but Titus especially. It was prophesied that he was the one to take down the powerful, untouchable and tyrannous Bane, free his people and avenge his royal family. He's basically a puppet prince, and because he was always watched by the Bane's spies and agents, he grew up having to pretend that he was stuck up and empty-headed to hide his true motivations. He couldn't trust or get close to anyone especially Iolanthe, who was basically a means to an end in destroying the Bane.
As for Iolanthe, she was clever and witty (I really the banter between her and the Eton boys) and brave. But she started off being frightened of the role she's to play in taking down the Bane--she didn't want to die and she was mad at Titus for what he's asking her to do. I liked that she had a very natural reaction to the situation. However, as the story progressed her character grew. Sherry did a fantastic job with her character development.
One of the things I was looking forward to was the romance of this novel, especially since Sherry is a romance author. Well, guys, she did not disappoint. No insta-love here, folks! Iolanthe and Titus had mutual interest in each other, then dislike, then they both tried to brush aside and deny their feelings but the chemistry was there and it was undeniable. I loved the romance between Iolanthe and Titus to pieces!
The Burning Sky was not the most fast-paced or action-packed book but reading it was an adventure all the same. It was very imaginative, romantic and readable with a Harry Potter sort of flavor to it (maybe because of the wands, the boarding school, the spells and magic). I had a great time reading it and I'm very much looking forward to book 2.