Wonderful fantasy for young adults full of action and subtle romance
Sherry Thomas was already known to me as author of several historical romance novels. I heard a lot of praise from my romance-loving friends and I planned to check out her work some day. Then I heard about The Burning Sky. Adult romance author writing a young adult fantasy novel? To say I didn't think the switch will work out would be an understatement. That’s why I haven’t read eARC of The Burning Sky, although I had it on my Kindle since March. Well, you can not imagine how sorry I am now because this book was awesome. It had all the elements of good ya fantasy novel I like and hit all the right feelings.
Iolanthe Seabourne is mage who can control the elements (fire, water, earth). When she tries to purify the potion-gone-wrong by hitting it with lightning (and pulls it off), Iolanthe reveals that she wields amount of elemental magic that only heroes from long-gone-times had. And, that’s how Iolanthe becomes ‘a girl who would never again be safe anywhere’…
Warned not to trust anyone, Iolanthe finds an unwanted ally in a young prince Titus. Together they run through their homeland, 19th century England and The Crucible (magical playground). Prepare yourself for flying horses; carpets; elemental, mind and other kinds of magic; dragons and a lot of action.
Iolanthe is the kind of heroine I wish all young adult novels have: smart, resourceful, with good decisions and set of values. Even when she is disguised as a boy in 19th century Eton, she’s not shy. She radiates charm, cockiness and confidence. Her playful banter with prince Titus often made me smile.
“If I hadn't interfered earlier, you’d be a drooling imbecile by now. So shut up and let me make my own decisions.”
He almost smiled. “That doesn't sound right. I am the brains of the operation. You are only supposed to provide the muscle.”
She wanted to touch his cheek, but did no such thing. “When there is enough muscle, it develops a mind of its own.”
And, as the quote above hints, there is an ongoing attraction between Titus and Iolanthe that slowly builds and makes them from enemies to… something more. Sherry Thomas used her previous experience in writing romance novels in the best way possible. The love story in The Burning Sky is not the theme in the book. It’s subtle, but it’s always there in small glances, touches and thoughts that will make you sigh and smile and swoon and get all misty-eyed.
The only negative thing that I can say about The Burning Sky is that it needed more world building. There are a lot of holes that are left to be explained in sequels and although most of the times these things can really irritate me, The Burning Sky had me in tight grip with action and romance so this didn't bother me at all. I can't wait for September 2014 and the sequel!
IN THE END…
It feels like Sherry Thomas took a list of my favorite elements in young adult fantasy novels and wrote The Burning Sky. It has a lot of action, strong complex characters, awesome magic contraptions, heroine masquerading as a boy, slow-building romance without any hint of love triangle and it even has dragons! And if you are my friend be prepared that I will recommend it to you soon. ;)
Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.