Author: Sherry Thomas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy-pr-everything-untoward, historical-fiction, crappy-creepy-romance
It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning. 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. The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.
13 REASONS WHY I suffer still won’t recommend The Burning Sky:
1. A main character who hungers but deliberately keeps skipping out on numerous meals-4, I’m guessing, in the space of a day-because of “reasons” and then takes to complaining afterwards about the same. Sorry, Iolanthe, I can’t with people like you. Yet, in the eyes of the story, she can do no wrong! She be perfect! Act like a boy? Easy peasy. Hit like a trio of boys? Easy peasy. Charm and educate everyone around you? Jesus, why you even asking worthless questions like that?
Makes you wonder if she isn’t secretly Tom Hiddleston in female disguise. (Psst…she has black hair too!)
WHY YOU BE SO PERFECT?
2. Another main character who just wants to be lurrrrved. Lurrrrrved. Honestly, I think I actually liked that bit about him-or at least, what it was intended to be about. However, the melodramatic, repetitive execution of this idea where Titus just wants to give her a chumma. (I hate myself for using that word. I must repent!)
He kept trying so hard to get sympathy from the reader, being all martyr-like, I just wanted to throat-punch him and get the world back on track, impart some wisdom in a disgusted fashion. Like, sister, Tom Hiddleston isn’t gonna fall in your lap if you can do nothing but mope around.
3. Them two being all up in each other’s business. And not the fun or intriguing kind. Basically, these two spend so much time observing the vaguest tick of their tru wuv to, it’s a wonder they get time to hate each other or fantasize about “really” getting up in each other’s business. Hell, after a while, the only indication of whose perspective I was reading left to me was the names they used, since he calls her Fairfax, not Iolanthe; she calls him the Prince as opposed to Titus.
4. A gender-bender setting where a girl pretends to be a boy at Eton in the late 19th century. Nobody discovers her identity as a girl, nobody suspects, no hijinks ensue. WHY oh why would you continue to subsist in such plight if you’re not going to have fun-or provide fun? I suppose to protect oneself from certain death…except that’s boring and the coward’s way out, Iolanthe!
But, of course, I forget how purr-fect she is; would she even aspire to what I want, she couldn’t because she is incapable of making a mistake. Honestly, sometimes even I forget my capacity for obtuseness.
5. Excessively formal, stilted prose. Ask me no more.
6. A deceitfully intriguing introduction to a magical world that sadly wasn’t explored. I do think I could have loved the setting outside of the boy-school but I wasn’t given the chance, dammit! How many realms are there? Who is the Bane? How is he the Bane? What the actual fuck happened?
WOULD YOU PULL YOUR HEAD OUT HER ARSE, DEAR PRINCE, AND GIVE ME SOME INFORMATION ON YOUR WORLD? I HAVE QUESTIONS!
7. The convincingly morbid romance. Heheheh. Morbid. I hope it turns out to be as such and everything burns in Fiendfyre while I laugh fanatically at a safe distance. I can’t say it was unprecedented seeing as how those two started obsessing over each other the moment they realized oh shit, opposite sex! and bound in secrecy and camaraderie by the fact that a certain someone and his ministry hates them both, with varying degrees. Try to suffocate yourself; the feeling would be quite similar to what was evocated in me courtesy of their hesitant, and latterly outright, courtship.
8. THEIR PLANS! THEIR ACTIONS! THEIR PLANS! THEIR ACTIONS! They made no sense whatsoever to me but I have never claimed to be a particularly bright second-hand tubelight. I shine intermittently much like the rare pauses in between my brother’s sneezing in the morning when he’s caught a cold. (See how I didn’t compare myself to the phlegm he emits to the light *I* emit? Contrary to the opinion of some people, even I have some standards.)
9. Okay, now I’m just scratching my head for reasons to maintain the (facile) integrity of the review. Soon I’ll have done the job-effectively, mind you-of a hundred head lice and their prodigies. Certainly, I’d also be draped in blood but I think that would only complement my “Employee of the Month” photo, eh?
10. The badly-written, long-awaited climax. It was set in real-time fairytale land, on a wyvern. Although I witnessed it myself, I ask you HOW COULD IT HAVE GONE WRONG? The complexities and contradictions of this world baffle me. However, it is on my best interests to inform you of the fact that albeit I wasn’t particularly fond of the writing, I hated it all the more when it changed in the climactic part and became over-simplified, losing all sorts of momentum required to propel an action scene.
11. Frankly, at this point even if rainbow cat farts had come into the picture, I wouldn’t have cared. But I’m almost at the cliff, a few more jumps and so: the “wand” cracks. I LOVE “wand” cracks. I obsessively go through Harry Potter books for them. (Come on, you do know JKR has hidden a ton, right?) They’re better than fart jokes by several degrees. Titus makes a couple-one intentionally-but what happens before and after ruined them for me. Iolanthe giggles and they both feelssss! THEY FEELS! Eugh, as if they didn’t already feel enough.
WHY DON’T PEOPLE JUST STOP FEELING? YOU’RE BURDENING THE WORLD! YOU RUIN ALL THE DIRTY JOKES!
12. An Indian boy who studies at Eton because the stars told him so. Well, astrologers told him so. To study at Eton. AT ETON. I’m just trying to picture the scene-the tantrik feeling his hand up and down like it’s something else, hmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmmmm… my dear boy, the gods have fated that you shall attend that very reputable institution of learning, ETON!!! lest malevolence befall you, hiding itself as inferior(from a colonial POV) education. *cue peals of godly laughter in the form of thunder and lightning*
13. The potential this book had. By god, I could have loved it. The realms, the magic and carriages, the occasional peek of actual personality in Titus’s menial portrayals. It had entertainment factor and a suspicious, soothing dearth of sexism that you don’t usually find in high-fantasy books.