The Burning Sky Review: Pros and cons of being an elemental mage

December 6, 2021 by Bec | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

The Burning Sky Review: Pros and cons of being an elemental mageThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 17th, 2013
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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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 Good Things

  • The first book in a YA historical fantasy series and a reread for me! I first read this back in 2014.
  • It’s filled with some of my favourite fantasy tropes: a chosen one/ prophecy, elemental magic, a big evil, a world with brewing rebellion, and characters in disguise.
  • I loved the magical parts of the world! There was plenty of elemental magic (my favourite type of magic), word-based spells, wands, and potions.
  • It was really cool how some traditional fairy tales were woven into the mage-world’s history and lore! Almost every scene involving the Crucible, a magic book that had virtual reality vibes, was a favourite.
  • One of the few books I’ve read with footnotes! You don’t need to read them to understand what’s happening, but they add extra bits and pieces to the world building.
  • The writing does such a good job at setting the historical tone!
  • I love both main characters, but Titus is my favourite.



 The Not-So-Good Things

  • A lot less happened overall than I remembered. This is very much a set up book, establishing the world, plot, and characters. I expect there’ll be a lot more epic fights and plot in the sequels.
  • I really just wanted more of everything.
  • The romance did develop faster than I was expecting. I’m still deciding how I feel about it. I ship the characters, but I prefer the super slow burn romances that develop over multiple books.


An enjoyable YA that’s a unique blend of high fantasy and historical fiction. While it was a slower paced book that didn’t cover as much as I remembered, it was filled with so many of my favourite fantasy tropes. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds in the sequels.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Bec is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves all types of novels. Fantasy, sci fi, and historical are my usual go-to genres. If I’m not binge reading, I’m usually gaming, trying to take decent photos for bookstagram, or freaking out about silly things.

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