ARC Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

November 6, 2013 Review 47 ★★★★½

ARC Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: Publisher
Pages: 464
Release Date: September 13th, 2013
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


THE BURNING SKY was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and unlike BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, this one did not disappoint. Although this one took me awhile to finish, I savored every second of it and can not wait for the sequel.

THE BURNING SKY has everything I enjoy in a novel, slow-burning romance, good pacing, excellent characters, fantasy, amazing world-building, and some truly great villains (which I am always a sucker for.) Prince Titus’s life goal is to train and protect Iolanthe Seabourne, an elemental mage of great power, to defeat the Bane, the most powerful and sinister mage of all.

This one starts out a bit slow, but it is worth exercising your patience for. Things pick up relatively quickly after that, and the story never slows down again. In fact, my experience getting into the story can be summed up in this gif:

That. World. Building. A great fantasy novel is nothing without great world building, and that can make or break the genre. The setting of THE BURNING SKY was gorgeous and very well written. It was easy to imagine and understand everything, including the unique magic system and the difference between elemental mages and those who could do regular magic.

Finally, the romance. If you can give me a fantasy novel that has romance in it and perfectly balance the two, you have made me a fan for eternity. THE BURNING SKY did just that, not only did it tell a incredible story, but it depicted the growing bond between Titus and Iolanthe perfectly. It had a slow build, and connections between the characters were established over time and through their experiences.


Rating Report
Overall: 4.3

47 Responses to “ARC Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas”

  1. Kaitlin

    One of the best things is a great fantasy with nice romance and amazing world building. I always seem to enjoy those books a lot. It’s a good thing it’s on my bookshelf. Hopefully I can get to it in one of my upcoming breaks from school.

    Great review. I love the penguin gif. :)
    Kaitlin recently posted…HEA Endings Discussion (Survey Portion)

    • Alise

      Yep! Any fantasy with those elements is always a winner in my book :) Ooh, nice! I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

  2. Pam@YAEscapefromReality

    This is one of the best fantasy YA novels I’ve read, I absolutely loved it. I completely agree, the world-building was fantastic and I loved Iolanthe and Titus, both as individual characters and together. There is such great chemistry between them and I love that the author such great tension between them. I cannot wait for the next one! Great review, so glad you loved it too!
    Pam@YAEscapefromReality recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (18)

  3. Joy (Joyousreads)

    OMG, yes. I have been dragging my heels on this one. But your review sold me. Actually, yours and Karina (of NBR). I’m not normally a huge fan of fantasy but I love all the wonderful points you’ve mentioned on this one – regardless of the slow start.

    Great review, Alise.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 93

    • Alise

      I am so glad to hear that! I hope we haven’t lead you down the wrong road, let me know when you get a review up for this one!

  4. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I’m so glad to hear this one lives up to the hype! I have it waiting on my shelf, and I think it’s actually the first fantasy I’ll have read in a while that isn’t “girl finds out strange things” or blended with sci-fi/dystopian elements. Can’t wait to open it up now!

    And I’m really glad to hear the romance doesn’t overtake the fantasy elements. If I want a romance, I’ll read a contemporary, but I always feel that fantasy is somehow sacred, you know? Come to think of it, that’s why Eragon bombed for me after the first book. That angst between Eragon and Arya slayed me.
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Weekly Update 3 (11/03/13 – 11/09/13)

    • Alise

      It really did for me! High expectations usually leads to disappointment, but that was not the case here!

      Yeah! I have only read the first book so I can’t relate with Eragon but I do hate whenever romance takes over a story.

  5. Bookworm1858

    I was so engaged with this book but I was surprised by how long it took for me to get “into” it-I wouldn’t have put it down for anything but it took me ages to read the first half when usually I’m a really fast reader. Like you, I now eagerly anticipate the sequel!
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  6. Delaney

    Oh gosh this sounds so GOOD! I was counting all the things I was loving about this book already. Good storyline, action, nonstop once things got going, adorable sounding romance (ehmm yeah, I’m a sucker for that), GOOD WORLD BUILDING!!! This is epic. It just sounds too epic for words. Yes I do need to pick this one up.
    Delaney recently posted…Some Stuff

    • Alise

      I know you did, I read your review-it was what convinced me to give the book a try. I’m really sad I didn’t enjoy it as much as you, but I’m thinking about giving it another chance so who knows!

  7. Tanja

    This one is already on my to-read list I just need to find some time to read it. I love the sound of it and you’re right if I get a great fantasy books with nice romance, you’ve got me for eternity. I’m used to fantasy book starting a bit slow and I don’t mind that. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#69)

    • Alise

      ” I love the sound of it and you’re right if I get a great fantasy books with nice romance, you’ve got me for eternity.” YES. It’s like everything I’ve ever wanted in a book haha. Thanks!

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