- Page Count: 449
- Release Date: September 17, 2013
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
“A messy business, rescuing princes.”
3.5 stars. There are dragons and magic princes and they go to freaking Eton of all English boarding schools! How could I not love this, right?! Just check out the opening:
“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 that 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.
Iolanthe is prophesied to be the greatest mage who will defeat the Bane and be the savior of the Realm, etc. You know the “chosen one” drill. (There is a bit of a plot twist there, so don’t hold it against the book too much). She goes to hide at an English boy’s boarding school with Prince Titus, who guards her and helps her train in a magic Crucible world inside his book.
The plot definitely is something I would absolutely adore… if it were better executed. It was still really fun, but definitely got frustrating at times. The whole story somehow managed to simultaneously speed through everything AND drag. There was just a lot more telling than actually doing… even the action scenes were somehow boring and unclear. I wasn’t totally certain what was going on half of the time and the characters themselves were hard to pin down.
And the instalove was odd… it was instantaneous and based on nothing, yet took the entire book to play out without ever really building into anything more. So I don’t know what to do with that but I somehow still ship them??
The story itself was hard to get through because the narration alternated between Titus and Iolanthe by flipping back and forth chaotically within the same chapter and then sending the reader to the back of the book for random footnotes. So that totally disrupted the story for me. Even the potentially awesome battle at the end was a mess that lost me between the POV shifts and passive writing. And despite a major infodump, I still couldn’t get a strong sense of the world or the Atlantis villains that the whole story revolved around.
So that was kind of frustrating BUT I still really, really liked the idea of this story. And despite all of my complaints, there were some fun bits. I liked most of the characters, the setting, and a lot of the awesome elements like PRINCES & MAGES AT AN 1800s ENGLISH BOARDING SCHOOL. And I’m glad I stuck with it because the last 20% was infinitely better than the rest. Hopefully this was just a rough setup for an awesome trilogy?