Release Date: 09/17/13
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.
My thoughts on the book:
I am new to the world of fantasy (though I like to consider myself an urban fantasy/paranormal romance veteran), and there are a lot of fantasy books out there that are just too Chaucer-like for my tastes, but I really enjoyed The Burning Sky. While this book is not without faults - some of the writing is clunky and the author's vocabulary is lacking (I'll go into greater detail later) - I really loved the leading characters, and the plot kept me interested. I'd recommend this to both fantasy buffs and people who just like the occasional fantasy read, like me.
The two main characters, Titus and Iolanthe, are well-developed and somewhat complex. However, the secondary characters and villains are merely shadows of complete people. I really liked both Iolanthe and Titus, and I sympathized with their plight. I also cared about what happened to them. Iolanthe grows quite a bit throughout the course of the novel - she starts out extremely selfish and somewhat bratty, but eventually learns what is and is not worth sacrificing. Similarly, Titus grows and learns his place in the world. None of the secondary characters really stood out to me, which is a shame, because many of them had the potential to be interesting.
The plot itself is dynamic and full of suspense, romance, and emotion. However, the world-building is lacking quite a bit. I'm still unclear on whether the Domain exists in another dimension or if the world as we know it is simply divided into mage and non-mage parts. That is something that needed to be clarified. Also, Iolanthe's backstory could have used a bit more fleshing out, and I wish I could have learned more about her childhood and life previous to the lightning strike. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but many of the problems introduced in this novel are cleared up. I am interested to see how certain mysteries that were introduced throughout this book are addressed in the next installment, and what impacts they will have on these characters. The pacing is pretty spot on, and I never got bored and the scenes never felt rushed. The author's writing leaves much to be desired, however, and I got so tired of reading about things attacking, inflicting damage upon, coming in contact with, and/or affecting someone's person. I mean saying "The shoe hit Titus" is sufficient. "The shoe hit Titus' person" is excessive, superficially wordy, and redundant. I assume that Thomas was trying to keep with the language of the Victorian era, but she over did that a bit. She also overused the phrase "the latter." Because of this, I wanted to throw my Kindle out the window a few times, but I persevered due to the fact that the story itself is so good.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy the occasional fantasy read, or who are really into fantasy. If you don't like the sound of dragons, mages, and flying unicorns, then do not read this book because I doubt you'll like it. Also if clunky language and bouts of subpar writing offend you, then this novel isn't for you. If you read books for the main characters and their stories, like I do, then you will absolutely love it. I, for one, can't wait to see what is in store for Iolanthe and Titus next.
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