Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

I had heard a lot of good things about this book, and knowing that there was a prince in here too only made me want to read it more. So I checked it out from the library and began reading it. The first page - I suppose it was the prologue - gave me high hopes for this book. This is literally how it went.

"JUST BEFORE THE START OF Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys. A sixteen-year-old pupil named Archer Fairfax returned from a three-month absence, caused by a fractured femur, to resume his education.

Almost every word in the preceding sentence is false. 

Archer Fairfax had not suffered a broken limb. He had never before set foot in Eton. His name was not Archer Fairfax. And he was not, in fact, even a he.

This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world had ever known.
Expect magic."

I'm not a huge feminist or anything (I always appreciate a good damsel-in-distress story), the prologue caught my attention a the very beginning, and if I didn't have expectations before, i did then. However, after that first page, it was all ups and downs. Some parts were really interesting, especially some of the romantic scenes between the Prince and Iolanthe. And then of course the time Iolanthe was turned into a canary, that entire chapter was amazing. And of course Iolanthe dressing up as a boy in Eton is something that can't NOT keep you reading, especially since there are so many ways she could get caught: taking showers with the rest of the boys, going to the bathroom, her walk, her talk, etc. But the canary scene was definitely the best. Though there were several good points to the book, I believe there were more problems than not.

I recently read a review stating that Prince Titus was the perfect hero, that rare combination of awesome that made the reviewer want to rip him right out of the pages. I disagree. While Titus wasn't as annoying, brutish, and boring I had made him out to be when first starting 'The Burning Sky', he still didn't evoke much emotion out of me. The romantic scenes between Iolanthe and Prince Titus were adorable, and they sure did make me laugh, but it seemed like a childish sort of romance. I have a feeling that if I had read this novel when I was younger, I probably would have appreciated it more. In fact, after reading the epilogue, I was hit by this book's similarity to Harry Potter. The academy, the wands and spells, the fight at the end, and the promise of more fighting in the epilogue. And of course the temporary happily ever after. I'm surprised it didn't hit me sooner!

The plot was interesting, but I disliked the fact that we didn't meet the Bane until almost the very end. More than that, I wish we actually got to meet him at least once. Meeting Bane is as essential as meeting Voldemort. As of now, all I know is that Bane is the bad guy in the book, and he is resurrected every time someone kills him. I don't know about you, but I'd like to know a bit more about him than that.

As a whole, 'The Burning Sky', a novel indeed filled with magic as the prologue implies, didn't meet my expectations, and wasn't a story that really garnered my interest. It's probably more suitable for younger readers, maybe from 12-15. I'd recommend it to fans of fairy tales and magic.

Book Synopsis: 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.

Source: Borrowed the hardcover from the library.

Title: The Burning Sky
Author: Sherry Thomas
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: High Fantasy, YA
Pages: 464 pages