The Burning Sky
by Sherry Thomas
Published on September 17th, 2013
by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Narrator: Phillip Battley
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes
Source: Purchased for Audible
Amazon | Goodreads
Also by this author: The Perilous Sea, A Study in Scarlet Women, A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)
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.
Let’s try this again. I’m in love with The Burning Sky, so let me start by giving Andye from Reading Teen a big THANK YOU for pointing out that I would indeed love this book.
I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter series (who isn’t? *I’m looking at you Hannah*), and there is no way to read The Burning Sky without comparing it to that beloved series. Even though they have things in common, for example the mix of fantasy and ‘real world’ and the use of magic, spells, potions, wands, etc. they are unique enough for me to love them both equally. Now that the big elephant in the room has been addressed, let start this review. Shall we?
The setting is very interesting as there are mage and non-mage countries or kingdoms. For instance, Titus is the prince of The Domain, but he is sent to school to Eaton in London in the 1800s (I think). Thus the book is part historical romance and part fantasy. I love the combination of both, the world building is amazing. The Domain has castles, fantastical creatures (like dragons!), a tyrant, a different mode of dress and a different culture, worlds that exist within books, places folded into another dimension, and vaulting. It was all exquisitely thought out and explained in a way that didn’t invite confusion.
“I live for you, and you alone.”
There are two types of “magic”, one that relies in spells and one that is elemental. Elemental magic has fallen out of use and there aren’t many powerful elemental mages. Until Iolanthe came along. Iolanthe has been protected by her guardian all her life, but at the blurb explains “It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning”. She is naïve and clueless, but also loyal, intelligent, talented and powerful. She learns quickly what to do in order to survive, even if she has to pretend that she is someone else.
“You can live forever for me.”
Titus is such a complex character. He is certainly one of the favorite characters of all times! He is a prince by birth and had every privilege growing up. At the same time, he’s been isolated, spied on and betrayed more times that he can count. This has made him very cautious and he’s a very good actor in front of others. He is extremely smart, a great mage and an amazing strategist. He is very slow to trust and to show his feelings. Titus’ mother was a seer and she predicted that he would find the prophesied elemental mage and it would be his duty to protect him (hmm… in this case “her”); needless to say, he spends endless hours practicing magic and plans to fulfil what he considers his sacred duty, even if he has to forfeit his own life.
“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 romance that slowing develops between Iolanthe and Titus is so sweet. There is nothing that Titus won’t do for her, to keep her safe and anticipate her every need. Neither one wants the entanglement and complication of having feelings for each other, but they learn to accept and embrace the inevitable. There is no instant love, no triangle, no clichés.
The Burning Sky has everything you might want in a book, fantasy, romance, adventure, mystery. The writing is incredibly good, easy to read and understand. He world building and characterization is amazing. As you can see, there isn’t much I didn’t love about it!
Overall, The Burning Sky is a must read for fans of fantasy and magic, I already started reading The Perilous Sea and I’m loving it so far!
About the narration: This book was narrated by British actor Phillip Battley. It’s my first book narrated by him and I loved it. I think that his voice and his interpretation made me love Titus even more. I loved his performance!
About the cover: Gorgeous! It shows a fire phoenix over a castle with the mountains in the background. We can see darkness and the turmoil of clouds and lighting. I also love the font of the title.
“He removed his arm from his face and opened his eyes. She was sitting on the carpet before the low table, wearing his gray, hooded tunic, but not his trousers. Her legs were bare below mid-thigh.
The sight jolted him out of his lethargy. “Where are your trousers?”
“They had no braces and won’t stay up. Besides, it’s warm enough in here.”
He was feeling quite hot. It was not unusual to see girls in short robes come summertime in Delamer. But in England skirts always skimmed the ground and men went mad for a glimpse of feminine ankles. So much skin—boys at school would faint from overexcitement.
He might have been a bit unsteady too, if he were not already lying down.
“You never answered my question,” she said, as if the view of long, shapely legs should not scramble his thoughts at all.”