Merchant’s Ransom: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

July 26, 2014 Review 28 ★★★½

Merchant’s Ransom: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: Purchased
Pages: 464
Release Date: September 17th 2013
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, 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.

bec (2)

Major Selling Points:

Elemental Magic

Most books featuring some form of magic are very, very interesting. There’s so many different interpretatioons, so many forms the magic can take, it would be hard to find two books in which the magic is exactly the same. Elemental magic is a specific type I find myself gravitating toward a lot, maybe because the ability to manipulate the physical world around you is extra fascinating to me.

Girl Disguised as Boy

I think this trope/whatever is becoming a guilty pleasure of mine. But I don’t feel guilty about it because every book I’ve read/thing I’ve watched in which the main character has to disguise herself as a guy for one reason or another has been fantastic. Not to mention the tension it creates… ;)


When you take into account the size of the book and compare it to the number of major events that occured, not a real lot happened. It was quite slow. But there was an awesome world to explore, scenes that made me laugh, epic magic usage, and just some generally great, fun scenes. And an absurd amount of feels. I don’t even know where they came from I just started feeling things and jkfhskf


The writing in this was so… sophisticated. Long descriptive sentences that were well written really didn’t help the pacing issue (not that it was hard to read. Even though it was slow I could keep turning the pages). A lot of big words were used, some I’d never seen outside of my anatomy classes before! I didn’t realise words like corniculate were actual adjectives and not just a descriptor of a particular process of the arytenoid cartilage in the larynx!  (Don’t get me started on anatomy and how ever little lump and bump has a specific name)



My memory of what I thought of Iolanthe have been overshadowed by another character (DAMN TITUS) but I remember loving her right from the start. She’s a strong willed girl who stands up for herself, is studious and talented, and is not going to bow down and follow someone else’s plan for reasons she doesn’t believe in. And her magic is badass.


TITUS IS A LIFE RUINER. I didn’t need another book boyfriend that I wanted to pull from the pages in into real life. I didn’t ask for these feels. Why must there be so many admirable, handsome, smart, funny, caring, and basically perfect fictional men.


Not going to lie, the potential romance was another reason I picked up this book. And it was great. The tension throughout the entire novel was perfect, and you would be teased with a romantic scene and then left wondering if anything was actually going to become of it for a few chapters, when a different scene would happen. It didn’t interfere with the plot at all but accompanied it wonderfully and I still wish there was more, but at the same time I’m glad there wasn’t. The balance was pretty good.


  • Titus x Iolanthe
  • The Bane x Death
  • This books x More fantasy creature encounters
  • Book 2 x My bookshelf
Rating Report
Overall: 3.5

28 Responses to “Merchant’s Ransom: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas”

    • Bec

      YES! So would I. Though I love that type of magic as well :D

      I can’t wait for The Perilous Sea! It needs to get in my hands SOON.

      Thanks :)

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Elemental magic is a huge draw for me, I just think it’s so freaking cool to be able to manipulate elements like that. And I LOVE the Aang gif with him in the avatar state with ALL the elements ♥

    Ok so, I really enjoyed this book too, it has a lot of potential I think to become a really thrilling series. I’m planning on starting the sequel very soon, can’t wait to see what’s in store for Titus and Iolanthe :D You’re right though that this one was on the long side and it screwed up the pacing a bit, but it was wonderfully written nonetheless! Fantastic review ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: The Young World

    • Bec

      It took me a while to find that gif. But I had to use it. I had to!

      I definitely think things will pick up in the sequel. And the fact that it was well written and I loved the characters meant the length didn’t bother me to much. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

  2. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    The Bane x Death! Love that. ;)

    So glad you enjoyed this book! I adored the romance. I think it might have been my favourite aspect. I also really like the girl disguised as a boy trope. Unlike everything else, it’s just one of those things that never gets old for me.
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Shimmer by Paula Weston

    • Bec

      haha same! I always gravitate toward that trope and it’s never annoyed me once. It always ends up big hilarious and entertaining!

  3. Andreea

    I think I had this book on my wish list, but then removed it, because I have read some negative reviews of it. Hmm, now I’ll add it again. Don’t know.

    Anyway, thanks for the awesome review!

    • Bec

      Both Alise and I really enjoyed this one so I do hope you decide to give it a chance. But it has certainly received some mixed reviews…

      No worries :)

    • Bec

      I did really enjoy reading it, but the 3.5 is sort of how I feel overall when I consider the slowness compared to size and what not. If I was just rating the romance, the characters, the magic and a few other factors it would get 5!

      Thanks :)

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    That’s exactly why I love magic books, so many things you can do with it. Okay, I think I have read a few with the whole disguised as a boy thing, but the most recent was Take Back the Skies and it just- no. Did not work for me at all. So hoping this does, but I’m going to be reading it for the romance, the elemental magic sounds great and fun and all but THE ROMANCE just sounds <3.

    Why must there be so many admirable, handsome, smart, funny, caring, and basically perfect fictional men. Because they don’t exist in real life? :(
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Girl from the Well (yes, that well)

    • Bec

      I’ve heard some not-so great reviews for Take Back the Skies. I didn’t know it had the girl disguised as boy thing though. It’s a shame :/ Hopefully this is will be more enjoyable for you!

      Whatever the reason those amazing guys don’t exist in out world, it isn’t fair!

  5. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader

    I just reviewed this book, too! I absolutely loved it! And I agree 100% with you! Titus is definitely book boyfriend worthy! I loved the word and the magic within this story and I’m so excited to see it fleshed out more in the sequel. You’re right, not much happened considering how long it is but it was so well written that I didn’t even notice. I was so sucked in my the magic and the characters.

    The Bane x Death (lol, that was perfect)

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!
    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader recently posted…Review: The Burning Sky

    • Bec

      The writing was really good! It drew me in to the story enough you really don’t notice the lack of bit plot events. I think book two will bring in more of those!

      haha thanks XD

  6. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I feel exactly the same! I mean it took my a whole year to read it D: However I really liked it! It was just that it was slowwwww.

    The Bane x Death is my ultimate ship xD

    And DAMN TITUS. I was so happy not being attached to him but then he did awesome things and he turned me into an emotional wreck and GAH.

    Great review, Bec!
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

    • Bec

      At least it was memorable enough that you didn’t forget any of the details! Well at least I didn’t over the two weeks I read it.


      haha yesssss. I went in thinking I’d just like Titus. Then he was so amazing and nice and AAAAH WHY I DID NOT ASK FOR THESE FEELINGS

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      Why thank you. I’m glad someone finds me amusing :P

      Casting spells is so much fun to read about. Better than potions. You know, this is a very modern view. I want to see the results NOW not later XD

      Thanks :)

  7. Romi Foster

    Firstly, that “Swoonability” gif is hilarious. I find it very amusing!

    Secondly: Hmm… I’m not sure about this. Certain aspects definitely sound like my cup o’ lit, the characters especially seem really fantastic from my point of view, but the fact that, for the size of the book not much happens on and it’s pretty slow, well that makes me think I’d struggle with this. I’m not sure… I mean, there’s not much to loose if I do give it a try, and since you used a gif from my favourite episode of Ouran High I’m going to trust you and give it a try.
    Thanks, Bec!
    Romi Foster recently posted…As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka…

    • Bec

      haha it’s a great gif!! And YAY SOMEONE RECOGNISED OURAN!! I wanted to use a Haruhi gif (because it would be so appropriate and hilarious to people who got it) but I couldn’t find a suitable one :/

      Yeah, I can understand the hesitation there. But honestly I found the writing, characters, romance, and everything else good enough that I didn’t really notice the lack of things happening until I finished and was reflecting on it.

      I hope you give it a try!

  8. Tiffany (AboutToRead)

    HAHAHA! Your description of Titus – I just loved it.

    I’m a huge fan of The Burning Sky and I’m starting the sequel tonight. I also seem to really like books with girls pretending to be guys. Defy by Sara B. Larson and Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet are two of my favorites.
    Tiffany (AboutToRead) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday

    • Bec

      I LOVE Song of the Lioness!! Still need to by my own copies of the all the Tortall books they’re amazing. I also enjoyed Defy, but had a few issues with it so didn’t love it quite as much as Alanna’s story and THE BURNING SKY, but still enjoyed it :)

      I’m so jealous you get to start the sequel! I hope it’s good :D

  9. Sarah P.

    I absolutely love a girl disguised as boy trope as well. I don’t know it just makes me think of wonderful opportunities and possibilities mostly of the love variety. Heh!

    It’s actually my first time to hear corniculate and I’m from the medical field. Guess, my times of not paying attention in class will come and haunt me in the end.

    Also the characters are promising and yay for magic. Lovely review, Bec! :)
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: Evil Faeries Love Hair by Mary G. Thompson

    • Bec

      hehe so many opportunities :3

      Maybe corniculate process is just part of the arytenoid cartilage in animals. I’m afraid I don’t know human anatomy, it’s not what I’m studying :)


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