Monday, October 14, 2013

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
eARC received from Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Release Date:  9-17-2013
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Okay, but didn’t live up to its hype
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.

I was looking forward to reading this one because I had heard that it was great.  Unfortunately, while many other reviewers loved it; this just wasn’t the book for me. 

My biggest problem was that the action was very slow up until the midway point.  I think I was over 200 pages into it before I became truly interested.  On more than one occasion, I thought about putting it to the side.  However, I wanted to finish it to see what everyone was talking about.  Overall, there was just too much down time in the plot.  I could have done with 100 less pages; I think it was have blotted out the dull moments and gave more emphasis to the important relationship being built.

Please don’t take this review as entirely negative because it is not.  I would give this book 3 stars because my interest level did pick up once I got to see more of the world that Sherry Thomas was trying to build.  The characters were fun, and while there was nothing special about them, I didn’t find myself not caring about their destinies.  I actually read the last part of the book rather quickly since the action picked up, and I found myself my interested in the outcome.

The two main characters are Iola (also known as Fairfax) and Prince Titus.  They were enjoyable characters, but they didn’t really stand out.  One good thing is they didn’t read as false, so I was never annoyed by them; I just didn’t really take to them all that much.  Iola was strong and stubborn, but I felt like we didn’t really get to know her that well.  Her emotions were not shown very often.  We get to see much more of Prince Titus’s emotions, and as a result, I did like him much more that Iola.  While trained in lies and deceit, he seemed much more real than any of the other characters.  I could see his fear and uncertainty, and for that, I enjoyed him.

While I was somewhat entertained with the plot, I was sadly disappointed in the weak ending.  It seemed like there were 350 pages of build-up, where there was going to be this epic battle.  Then, when the time came for said battle, it was over in a few pages.  There wasn’t much detail in it, and Iola’s break throughs were not a focus.  She is supposed to be this great mage, and yet, she wasn’t the focus at all.  It felt completely flat, and I was extremely disappointed.

Overall, I think fans of high fantasy will enjoy it, although there are many better high fantasy novels out there.  I don’t know if I will pick up the sequel to this one when it comes out.  I just finished the book about 30 minutes ago, so right now I think I’m a bit too close to my disappointment.  So, I’ll wait a bit and decide if it is something I care to try again in the future.