Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Published by: Balzer & Bray on September 17, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
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It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
I liked The Burning Sky but it didn’t wow me like I hoped it would. Before starting it, I read tons of reviews that raved about this book. People compared it to Harry Potter and went on and on about how fabulous it was. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think The Burning Sky was a bad book by any means, I just didn’t love it.
I did really like the magic elements of The Burning Sky. There are varying levels of elemental mages, which are categorized according to how many different elements they can control. Iolanthe is like “the chosen one”. She has the potential to be a “great” elemental mage, control all the elements, and “save the world” (or kill the Bane). I really liked the aspect of controlling the elements, especially fire and lightning!
I think my first problem with the book was the characters; I never loved any of them. I just lacked that connection with them. I don’t think either of them were annoying, I just didn’t get invested in their fates or relationships. And I think this problem got even worse when a small romance developed between Iolanthe and Titus. I didn’t sense any chemistry between them and a few scenes were a bit weird… View Spoiler » [Like at one point, we learn that Titus customized his Crucible (kind of like a virtual reality) scenario so that Sleeping Beauty looked like Iolanthe. And he “programmed” her to say stuff like “I missed you! Kiss me again!” I just found it a bit weird and awkward how he had a little fantasy world with a fake Iolanthe in it who worshipped him. O_O « Hide Spoiler]
I also felt a general lack of intensity throughout all of The Burning Sky. I never felt like things were heating up or getting intense. The book never made me feel excitement, nervousness, or anticipation. Although parts of the plot were interesting, they just weren’t delivered in a very exciting or suspenseful way.
The Burning Sky was also loaded with paradoxes. Titus’s mother was a seer so she had visions of the future, which she recorded in her diary. I know there are tons of paradox issues with seeing the future in general (it happens all the times in movies/books), but they really stood out to me in The Burning Sky. For example, Titus’s mother had this one vision of a woman writing something in the margin of a book. She kept seeing the vision over and over again, until she finally realized that the woman was her. Then, years later, Titus’s mother found herself looking at that same book, so remembering the vision, she wrote that same note in the margin of the book. But, then, she only actually wrote that note because she already saw herself do it in the vision. If she hadn’t seen the vision, she never would have written it because she didn’t have that knowledge. So where did the knowledge of what to write come from? MIND.FUCKED.
I know I’m doing a lot of complaining, but again, The Burning Sky wasn’t a bad book. It has a good villain (or two), an interesting story, and some great world building (mostly). I loved the wyverns, the spells, the non-magic school, and the whole idea of the Crucible was pretty cool. I felt those things were extremely well developed, and in general there were a lot of really interesting ideas woven into this magical world. But on the other hand, there were a lot of things that just weren’t explained. (We learn next to nothing about the Bane, or how the magical world works with the non-magic one, etc.)
Ultimately the book just never completely won me over; I always felt a bit.. indifferent. I wasn’t attached to the characters and the plot lacked a certain degree of suspense and excitement. As a result, it took me several days to finish it just because I was never that hooked on it. And when I have no problem putting a book down for long periods of time, that’s an immediate a sign that I’m not loving it. Also, the end… very anti-climactic.
I think that if it weren’t for my mild indifference, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more. So if fantasy is really your thing, then I’d encourage you to give The Burning Sky a chance!