Monday, August 18, 2014

Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas [Joint Review!]

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: September 17, 2013
Hardcover:  464 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Julia and Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
1. Sum up your feelings in one or two sentences.
Julia: The Burning Sky is a fun fantasy novel with lots of magic. It is slow to start, but I enjoyed the second half.
Shannon: The Burning Sky was an fun fantasy filled with interesting alternative worlds and characters.

2. Was this book what you were expecting?
Julia: Nothing like I expected. There isn't any insta-love, there is tons of magic and a fun adventure. I didn't realize it was more of a middle-grade book than young adult/adult fantasy. I'm okay with that!
Shannon: It was very different than I expected!  I thought it was going to be a straight fantasy novel, so I was a little surprised when 19th Century England becomes a setting.  It reminded me a little of Harry Potter in that a magical world and then a muggle world. 

3.  What worked for you?  What didn't?
Julia: I had a hard time believing that everyone would think Iolanthe is a boy, but it did work for the story. I loved all the spell casting! It has been a while since I read a book with magic and spells.
Shannon: Haha, that's a good point.  Iolanthe is apparently the best actor ever.  But I went with it for the sake of the story.  I also thought some of the transitions between the character perspectives were abrupt and confusing.  It gave the book a hectic feel sometimes.  I did like the magic aspects.  And while this book is nothing like Harry Potter, I couldn't help but think of it when reading about spell casting and wands.  Wands!  When was the last time I read about wands?  Probably Harry Potter.

4. How did you feel about the characters?
Julia: The characters are likeable. I think the prince is my favorite, but both he and Iolanthe both evolve throughout the story. They're growing, I can't wait to see if they'll actually be love interests or best friends. Both would work for me.
Shannon: I thought they were pretty interesting.  The prince was my favorite too.  He was definitely the most developed out of everyone and probably had the most interesting background.  I also thought the Inquistor was an interesting (and scary!) character. 

5. What did you think about the world building?  How about the plot?  Action?
Julia: The world building didn't impress me- I felt a little befuddled at the beginning of the book. I can't remember why. I did like the plot, it is intriguing that they can jump into an alternate universe created by the royals. There is enough action, but I'm an action junkie and also could have used more. There were some parts that I found myself skimming because I wanted to know what happened next!
Shannon: I thought the world building was ok.  I think it could have been better fleshed out at the beginning, because I agree that it was a little confusing.  But I think once in the setting, it was pretty interesting and well done.  I thought the plot was fun too.  It was a little slow to start, but once it got going it was pretty good.  I thought the whole premise was really unique and different, but I wanted to dig into it a lot faster than it was presented to me. 

6. What would you rate this book?  Who would you recommend it to?  Will you read the sequel?
Julia: I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, only because when I put it down, I wasn't dieing to pick it back up. It is a great debut fantasy novel though and I'm going to dive right into book 2. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy book, but doesn't mind little to no romance in the back story :)
Shannon: I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  But I will say that when I was reading it, I really liked it.  But now that I've finished, it hasn't really stayed with me.  I would recommend it to fantasy fans though.  I think there was definitely enough here to interest them!  I will definitely read the sequel, which comes out on September 16th!

Disclosure:  We received a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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