Published: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
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.
The Burning Sky is a wonderful mish-mash of fairy tales, legends and mythology, which on the face of it shouldn't work - but it does, and brilliantly at that. This is an incredibly well thought out and executed Victorian type society with a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it. This is because of a magical subset of society that the average person is unaware of.
The two main protagonists, Iolanthe and Titus do not hit it off well at all in the beginning and while it is somewhat obvious that they will eventually end up together, this is not going to be a smooth ride. I enjoyed that fact. Both characters are feeling an attraction but neither acts on it, for various reasons and it all read very believably. Titus is a bit of a tease and Iolanthe's reactions are just wonderful.
The bad guys here are the 'Inquisitor' and the somewhat mythical 'Bane'. These two are out to get Titus and Iolanthe and really don't care who gets hurt in the process. It was very easy to dislike these characters and Ms. Thomas managed to avoid making them into caricatures.
My Goodreads review on this one was short and sweet, but I really can't say it any better -
Bloody brilliant! Take some fairy tales, mix in some legends and mythology, then add a drop of Harry Potter'ish wizardry in an alternate Victorian school and that just about sums this one up. Absolutely loved it.
If you are a fantasy fan, add this one to your list.