Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3448
Swoony Romance, Adventure and Humor Abound
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
What I Loved:
In my experience, YA novels written by romance novelists generally go one of two ways: awesomely or atrociously. Now, this may not be the case for most, but, personally, I go to a romance novel and a YA novel for totally different reasons, and I don't want a romance novel from my YA; romance can (perhaps should) be a part of that, but there should be more going on than that. Thankfully, Sherry Thomas has written an absolutely amazing YA novel, bursting with fabulous characters, action, delightful writing, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Where do I even begin with what I loved when there is so much? Okay, let's start at the beginning, where we meet our stubborn, hard-working, thoughtful heroine Iolanthe. She's practicing hard to do the lighting at a wedding ceremony with her elemental magic, all to protect the job of her guardian, though he's done little to deserve it. Then in he comes, ranting and raving and reminding me of Haymitch (his name is Haywood - coincidence?). He tells her not to perform at the wedding and ruins her light elixir. Consulting a magic text, she learns a thunderbolt (or more accurately lighting bolt) can save her elixir, so she discovers some powers she never knew she had just like that. No big deal. This alerts everyone, both good and bad, to the fact that she is a seriously kick butt elemental mage, and they all want her for something.

Enter Titus: spoiled Prince or hope of the Domain. Because of a prophecy, he knows that he needs this elemental mage to help him save everyone from the tyrannical, apparently immortal ruler of Antlantis. Titus believes in the prophecy and will risk everything, including both of their lives to fulfill it. Though he's very goal-oriented, I took to Titus immediately with his spell-casting and his weird hobby of reading ladies' magazines because he finds them comforting.

Now we're getting to the really good part, namely the one where one of my favorite tropes comes in, and this really isn't a spoiler I promise, since you will guess it in the tiny prologue. Basically, to hide out from the super terrifying bad guy, Iolanthe has to go undercover at a boys' school, because Titus, misguided, assumed the mage of prophecy would be a guy, so he had a male's disguise ready. Oops. Lucky for him, Iolanthe is brilliant and totally rocks at gender bending. Why do I love this so much? Because reasons. That may have to do with the fact that there's always an adorable lgbt subtext. Like, yeah, Titus is straight, but he's totally not bothered by all the rumors that he and his friend Fairfax are actually gay lovers, which is a quality I find charming in a guy. Also, it means the heroine isn't super gorgeous all the time or fretting over her looks, and he likes her none the less for that.

Okay, so, obviously, there's a romance here, and obviously I love it. They have a total hate to love thing going, which is my favorite. They also, true to that romantic arc at it's best, excel at bantering with one another. Thomas really makes you feel the chemistry between them, and I was essentially trying to reach into the book and make them kiss all the way through. Even better, the romance doesn't follow traditional lines, Iolanthe generally being the aggressor physically and Titus the more emotionally committed. In fact, Titus totally spends a lot of time daydreaming and doing the fantasy novel equivalent of doodling her name on his notebooks, and my goodness but it's precious. Oh, and, even better, he doesn't mind letting her save him sometimes.

Leaving the romance behind, I also want to praise Sherry Thomas for how powerful women are in The Burning Sky. On both the side of good and of evil, in the past and in the present, women have achieved both high rank and high power. So often, it's just the heroine who really takes a strong female role, the better to stand out, but the Inquisitor, Helgira, and even Lady Callista are certainly to be feared and admired, in their ways. For once, this is a fantasy world in which everything isn't intensely patriarchal, even more rare in a historically-based fantasy.

What Left Me Wanting More:
My only quibbles lie in the world building, which is a bit of a pop culture hodge-podge. While this didn't detract from my enjoyment one bit, it's a bit to process and might annoy other readers with similarities to other works. For example, I was strongly reminded of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Howl's Moving Castle, and Stardust (one of the cutest scenes of that movie - and maybe book, but I don't remember - gender swapped). On top of that, I found the interweaving of our culture's fairy tales into this fantasy world rather puzzling. I guess this must be an alternate universe then? I'm not quite sure, which is sort of my point. There's a lot happening and it's all fun, but I'm left feeling a bit shaky.

The Final Verdict:
The Burning Sky kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. If you enjoy the fantasy works of Maria V. Snyder or Kristin Cashore, odds are you will appreciate Sherry Thomas' YA debut. The sequel cannot come quickly enough. In fact, I loved the romance and themes in here so much, I may even try her romance novels.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

1 results - showing 1 - 1
Ordering
Already have an account? or Create an account
September 16, 2013
This sounds like one to add to my Must-Read-Fantasy list. I can't believe I hadn't heard about this until just a couple months ago.
1 results - showing 1 - 1
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...
Merged
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seven of our country’s most gifted teens will become Nobels,...
Bury Me
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
No one ever leaves Copper Hollow. It's a town with...
Estranged #2: The Changeling King
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Enter a world of faerie magic and epic adventure in...
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The exciting follow-up to Mightier Than the Sword, the humorous...

Latest Member Reviews

Frankly in Love
 
4.7
"I love this book so much. I read it pretty much in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!..."
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
"WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is an intriguing historical fiction, based on a true story. The boys of Hirta are sent..."
Bury Me
 
4.7
"In horror books and movies, we often see dolls as the main source of scares( such as Annabelle or Child's..."
Juliet Takes a Breath
 
4.7
"Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latina lesbian from the Bronx who travels to..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"i am from Italy hello. Can you help me translate? /rardor"
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
"THE GALACTIC ADVENTURES OF HAZEL - GURECOA takes place in the far future, where our planet is only vaguely recognizable...."
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
"BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (THE GRAPHIC NOVEL) converts the YA novel by Marie Lu into graphic novel format. The plot remains the..."
Adorkable
 
5.0
"ADORKABLE is a book you can easily predict, but the journey is unbelievably delightful. Sally Spitz is a senior in..."
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
"SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID is quite a heavy YA contemporary. We follow Naima and Dew in alternating sections. Naima..."
Wilder Girls
 
4.7
" THIS WAS INCREDIBLE. This book reads like BUTTER...… Moldy, rotten, disgusting butter,..."
The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
 
4.0
"After killing a man in Paris, Celine is forced to flee to a different country and finds herself in New..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"Guinevere has one role to play when she arrives in Camelot. She has to protect King Arthur with her life...."
Unstoppable Moses: A Novel
 
3.3
"UNSTOPPABLE MOSES is quite an interesting YA contemporary. With dark humor, grief/healing, and guilt/blame, this book takes on some big..."
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
 
4.0
"The most amazing thing about classic horror stories is how they still influence many writers today. To read 'the..."
Patron Saints of Nothing
 
4.3
"After learning that his cousin Jun (his best friend and penpal) has died, Jay Reguero heads back to visit his..."
Now Entering Addamsville
 
3.7
"Zora Novak has been accused of a crime she didn't commit. It doesn't help that her family are known as..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
5.0
"Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor..."
Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)
 
5.0
"RUTHLESS GODS is dark, atmospheric, and completely enchanting. It was everything I hoped a sequel to WICKED SAINTS would be..."
The Babysitters Coven
 
3.3
"What worked: This is a quirky, humorous at times paranormal novel where a babysitter's club is really a code name..."