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The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

published by Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-220729-6



Iolanthe Seabourne is an elemental mage who is born in a region controlled by Atlantis. She conjured lightning to repair a light elixir that she had made for a wedding. She did not realize that it would draw the attention of Prince Titus VII, or that he would come to protect her from those who sought to harness her power for themselves. Titus tells her of his plans to protect her and to kill the Bane, the person who most wants to harness her abilities. He asks that she work with him toward this goal. She reluctantly agrees.

In order to protect Iolanthe, Titus hides her at boarding school for boys. She is given the name Archer Fairfax and makes a convincing boy. She makes friends quickly, especially after showing her prowess on the cricket field. Meanwhile, Titus and she use a book called the Crucible to strengthen her magic powers. They enter the Crucible and participate in fairy tales. Each teaches different abilities and presents different obstacles. For example, in Sleeping Beauty they must get past wyverns.

The biggest obstacle Iolanthe has to overcome is her own doubt. Before she meets Prince Titus, she knows she is gifted with fire, water, and earth. Her guardian, Master Horatio Haywood, convinced her that she had no ability when it came to the element of air.

Titus faces the real obstacle of the Inquisitor, who is a mind mage. He must also convince Iolanthe that she can manipulate air, that she is the most power elemental mage of their generation. He also has to hide Iolanthe from the agents of Atlantis.

Personally, I understand Master Haywood going to great lengths to protect Iolanthe. I would do that with any of my sons. I also understand Iolanthe’s reluctance to believe in her own abilities, especially after being told for so long that she had no ability to manipulate air. I do not like the Inquisitor. Her abilities have brutal results.

I like The Burning Sky for its storyline. My favorite parts is the adventures they main characters have while in the Crucible. The only thing that would make this book better would be to increase the depth of the characters, perhaps by adding more of their background stories. I would recommend this book to middle grade and adults who enjoy these books. I think girls will find the book most interesting.

I won an advance reader’s edition of The Burning Sky on Goodreads.com.

Michele Rice Carpenter


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