Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Genres: YA | Fantasy | Romance
Published: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My rating: 
It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

 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.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

It took me an agonizingly long time to get into the story. Frankly, this one required a lot of patience and it was a mostly arduous read for me.

Confusion AKA my new friend.

I was so confused throughout the whole novel, and judging by the frequency the problem keeps occurring in, I really can't say if it's me or the book.

 But let me just put my thoughts into words and let you decide if I'm being bias.

  • The world building was hard to keep up with and I badly wanted a map. I also hard a hard time figuring out how the mage-world and the non-mage world operated. I was thinking I finally got a hold of it until this very moment as I type this and realize to my horror that yes, I have confused everything once again. A lot was told of the world, but the quality of the substance was questionable.
  • Unnecessary information. While there definitely is info-dumping, especially towards the beginning of the novel, the problem isn't persistent. The issue I think was that while we were given a satisfying amount of information -- be it regarding the plot, world building or characters -- none of it felt very, how should I put it, useful. In the sense that it wasn't helping anything but more confusion develop.
I swear confusion feels like it could be the one accurate word used to describe this book.
  • The narrative style made me feel disconnected. The story was confusing in itself. But add to that a third-person storytelling that switched not very gradually between point of views -- to the point you confuse whose point of view it is, and you've got yourself the perfect formula to have your brain rot, one cell at a time.
The heroine was so wasn't a good thing.

Iolanthe was perfect. She was the one. The character extraordinaire. Luck? Her best friend. Sucking at things? Not a set of words in her vocabulary. 

She hid among boys and blended in so well that not even one person questioned it. Not even a crack in her facade. She tried a sport for the first time, and she was masterful at it, thanks to her special abilities that make her a superwoman figure (which is also the explanation for her being good at pretty much everything).

Iolanthe the strongest, Iolanthe the best, perfection in its full form. Heck, let us all hail the almighty Iolanthe.

Don't get me wrong. She had her moments where she was admirable, like when her determination and courage showed through. But even then it just felt like an addition to her overall perfect image.

It's a little hard to like a character without flaws.

Other characters

Apart from the fact that he had a POV of his own, Titus didn't feel like a main character to me at all. So there, I'm just gonna label him under "other characters." I actually thought I was going to like Titus and needless to say, I was surprised.

He was demanding, somewhat  manipulative and wanted everything to be the way he wanted it to be. His melodramatic, all-I-want-is-love attitude was topped off by a layer of dust that was all about fishing for sympathy from the reader.

Apart from our two main characters, there aren't any remarkable characters in this novel. There are other characters, yes, but all of them had personalities that lacked depth. I think it's fair to say there were no supporting characters, no one to fill in the places  Iolanthe and Titus weren't able to fill. One of the biggest reasons why it failed character wise for me.

And of course, the feels.

What with all the plans and action shared by the two main characters, the dreaded feels were expected. I actually liked the romance aspect more than I thought I would. It grew slowly, nothing to rush and the chemistry was incredible.

"Love will make you weak and indecisive, remember?" she murmured. 

What a fool he had been. For a journey like theirs, love was the only thing that would make him strong enough. 

"Don't ever listen to an idiot like me," he answered.

I may or may not have continued this story just for the romance.

The chemistry, guys. Titus may have been a basic jerk and Iolanthe might have been a basic Mary Sue but I'm certain they would kick ass together.

I'm confused. I feel like if I were actually in the mood to read a book that sounds a lot like folklore than anything, I would have enjoyed this more. Which I believe explains my initial confusion.

Anyhow, this was a fairly rocky start to a novel, but it holds so much potential I don't think I want to miss out on The Perilous Sea, book two.

 So yes, guys, read it for the second book. (And the potential). Give me a yay.

What are your thoughts on this book?
(Does third person POV bother you?)
Tell all, my friends.