The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted July 16, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky

by Sherry Thomas

Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray on September 15, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Target Age Group: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult
Rating: ★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been 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 most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he 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 tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.


Wow this book went by quickly!  Just when I was starting to get into it, it was wrapping up!  I definitely think Sherry Thomas’ Elemental Trilogy is going to be one of those series that feels like one long book broken into three pieces.  Which, honestly?  Is super fun.

Fantasy fans will enjoy this one.  The Burning Sky takes familiar tropes like elemental magic, boarding schools, orphaned royalty, and chosen ones and… well… you know it doesn’t do too many unique things with them if I’m being honest, but it’s still a delight.  There are bits and pieces to make it fun and interesting beyond the tropes!  I enjoyed the magic use (transmogrification was great!) even though I didn’t feel the magic system was explained very well.

Even though the roles are familiar, the characters playing them are a bit different.  Titus is a contemplative action hero, and I like that we’re meeting him well into his journey – he knows his endgame, and he’s been preparing for it for years.  On the other hand, we have Iolanthe, who is just learning the extent of her abilities and the path destiny has laid for her… much against her will.  I very much enjoyed moments where there were gender role swaps.

So I can’t say much for originality in this one, and while the world itself is a delight, it’s not presented with the type of writing that gives it that actual magical feel.  The writing style is a bit flat and presumptuous.  Honestly, it’s normally the type of thing I’d throw under the bus, but there were too many things in the story I really liked.  The world building is all tell, no show. The character development is forced, the love story is forced.  The more I think about the actual execution of the story, the more I realize how rough it was.


I liked it.  I liked it anyway.  I liked the world it was in and I want to see them finish their quest and so even though I know that in a very technical way, The Burning Sky isn’t the best book in the world, for sheer enjoyment value, I’m in it.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★
Writing: ★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2


Do you ever continue stories even though you know they’re not well-written?  Which books do you enjoy even though you know they’re not, in a technical sense, that good?  Let me know your guilty pleasures in the comments!

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