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The Burning Sky (Elemental Trilogy) Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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The Burning Sky Quiz - What is Your Elemental Power?
Elemental magic was elder magic, a direct, primordial connection between the mage and the universe, needing no words or procedures as intermediaries.
An elemental mage is able to control one of the elements: fire, water, earth, or air. A great elemental mage is able to control all four. But a great elemental mage has not been seen in a thousand years. For Iolanthe Seabourne, fire is easy. Fireballs dance and sparks fly from her fingers. It is a natural ability that makes her powers superior.
What about you? If you had a connection with one element, what would it be? Find out with this quiz! Then discover if Iolanthe Seabourne really is the greatest elemental made of her generation in Sherry Thomas’s The Burning Sky.
1. What’s your astrological sign?
a. Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius
b. Capricorn, Taurus, or Virgo
c. Pisces, Cancer, or Scorpio
d. Aquarius, Gemini, or Libra
2. Your dream vacation is:
a. Paris, Las Vegas, New York – a bustling hotspot where you can see and be seen.
b. Hiking the Grand Canyon – an adventure that gets you outdoors and staying active.
c. The Caribbean – any island provides plenty of opportunities for relaxation and reflection.
d. Italy or Greece – from historical ruins to museums and fabulous dining you’ll never get bored.
3. We’ll admit it: we all have a character flaw. What’s the one quality you would change about yourself?
a. Your temper. You tend to lose your cool sometimes.
b. Your stubbornness.
c. Your tendency to zone out.
d. Your nosiness.
4. There is a new student this semester at your school. You…
a. Introduce yourself and offer to show her around campus.
b. Say hello and welcome her to the school before hurrying to your first class.
c. Smile and continue on your way. If she needs something, she’ll probably ask.
d. Don’t say anything. You’re not being mean, you just get nervous meeting new people.
5. Two of your best friends are fighting. Where do you stand?
a. You talk with each of them separately about the other. So what if it adds fuel to the fire? They need to vent!
b. You don’t understand why they’re arguing. Someone is wrong and someone is right. There is no gray area.
c. You listen to both sides of the story and try and figure out a solution. You’re good at reading a situation.
d. You try and get them to talk to each other face to face. Once they communicate in a healthy manner, their issues are sure to be resolved.
6. If you could major in any subject in college, it would be:
a. Theater – on stage or behind the scenes, you want to run the show.
b. Math – it’s logical and useful. Plain and simple.
c. Art history – combining the concrete nature of history, with the emotional nature of art, appeals to multiple parts of your personality.
d. Philosophy – you love discussions and thinking outside boundaries. These classes sound like your cup of tea.
Mostly A’s – Fire
Filled with energy and a burning passion for living life to the fullest, you embody FIRE. Those around you love your enthusiasm and optimism. You are outgoing and love helping others. Sometimes your energy can flare up in less-than-flattering form, and those that are on the wrong side of your temper are sure to get burned. Be careful and try and look before you leap (or throw a fireball at someone) and you’re destined for great power.
Mostly B’s – Earth
Grounded and practical, you command EARTH. You look at things logically and with a level-head. You work hard and are usually very extroverted, sharing your thoughts and ideas with others. Yet sometimes, you can be a bit stubborn. For those around you, trying to get you to see a different viewpoint, or take a break from work, can seem as difficult as moving mountains. Know that your strength and strong will wield great amounts of power, and relaxing every once in a while won’t change that.
Mostly C’s – Water
Like Fire, you are full of passion, but WATER is a quieter, more controlled passion. You throw yourself into whatever you do, and exhibit a strength that often surprises those around you. You’re intuitive and and tactful in your relationships with others. Make sure to use your powers for good, though—with your keen senses, you also have the ability to be extremely manipulative. People can easily get swept under your charms and it can be difficult for you to stay aware of personal boundaries.
Mostly D’s – Air
With your serene nature and cool demeanor, you glide through life on AIR. You are great at communication and tend to be a mediator when trouble is brewing between others. You have a clear head, and tend to remain calm in high-pressure situations. Just make sure your ability to detach yourself from a situation doesn’t come across as being aloof! And don’t completely block out your emotions—sometimes your heart is just as good of a guide.
From School Library Journal
- Lexile measure : HL770L
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.23 pounds
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062207296
- Product dimensions : 5.5 x 1.45 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Balzer + Bray; First Edition (September 17, 2013)
- Reading level : 14 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #937,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For me, that is when everything came screeching to a halt. I’ll admit, I didn’t read the footnotes provided (In my mind, that was thinly disguised attempt to info dump by an author who couldn’t bear letting her carefully planned world building go to waste.) I’ll try to explain the setting, but even I’m confused: Apparently there is a magical realm of Elemental Mages, teleporting, and various beasties. SOMEHOW this magical realm is connected to the non-mage realm, or Earth, where Exiles and Too Valuable to Kill Princes are sent to live/go to school and keep them out of the hair of Atlantis. What’s that, you ask? There’s a lost underwater city here, too? I have no clue. Apparently Atlantis is a group of mages or something that rule the magical realm? I guess?
Anyway, Prince Titus has planned his whole life to find a powerful mage who is destined to save them all. When he finds Iolanthe and tries to convince her of her destiny, she flat-out refuses. She’s no fool, and she sees his plan for what it is- a suicide mission based on the visions of his dead seer mother. Not to be deterred, Titus tricks Iolanthe into swearing a blood-oath to him. The result is over 100 pages of tedious thinly- veiled hatred between the two that you just KNOW is going to shift into love. (The author writes mostly romance, you know).
The world that’s built is beautiful, and I enjoy the boy’s boarding school bits (though that did stretch on a little too long.) Titus is charming even when he’s acting like a pompous jerk to maintain his image as being too stuck on himself to threaten Atlantis, and he is wise and cunning beyond his years. Iolanthe is a breath of fresh air when it comes to YA heroines- she doesn’t spend her time whining about whether or not he loves her/ she loves him and instead comes across as a no-nonsense and relatable. However, the who and what and why of the bad guys and our hero remains a bit vague (something about an oppressive Atlantis?) which is why I couldn’t give it more than three stars.
(This review also appears on Goodreads)
The characters are fantastic, especially our two protagonists. Iolanthe aka Archer Fairfax is an awesome heroine - her personality is endearing, she's brave, level-headed, strong (uhm, as I'm writing this, I'm starting to realize that maybe she was a little TOO perfect. Oh well, whatever, it didn't bother me). She possesses incredible magical powers and is destined to defeat the Bad Guy.
And then there's Titus, the Prince of the Domain, who has spent years meticulously preparing for the time when he and Iolanthe would finally meet, as she is the only one who can help him with his secret goal. But while Iolanthe's power is the key to everything, the day they meet also starts the clock ticking for the prince and marks his impending death.
"The beginning of the end, for his prophesied role was that of a mentor, a stepping-stone--the one who did not survive to the end of the quest."
This is revealed very early on in the book and I have to say, with that sentence I was pretty much a goner when it came to the prince. There was an air of tragedy that surrounded him, and despite all his highly calculated actions and necessarily aloof demeanor, there was never a scene with him where my heart didn't break a little for the guy. His character was developed very well and was one of my favorite things of the story.
The setting of this book is pretty cool -- one moment you're holding your breath as Iolanthe and Titus battle dragons and wyverns in a castle and then later you can find yourself cheering Fairfax in a cricket match and grinning at the easy camaraderie amongst the rowdy boys of Eton College. While I was definitely confused in the beginning about how the magical world and 19th century London existed together, it did eventually click in my head and I found myself able to roll with the world-building -- it was actually kinda fun. This probably isn't for the heavy duty fantasy readers, but it was great for what it was. The end was a tiny bit unsatisfying (it felt a little anticlimactic), but I'll definitely be reading the next book -- and don't worry, no cliffhanger.
Top reviews from other countries
PLOT: Duel perspective. We follow our two main characters, Iolanthe and Titus. Iolanthe has been told she is the greatest mage of her generation, that she will change everything. She is tasked to defeat the Bane (the villain). After everything is set in motion, we are introduced to Prince Titus. He is the one to guide Iolanthe and help her defeat the Bane after his mother prophesied it.
The plot is slow moving in some places and there is definitely not enough romance for me yet (hopefully that will be in the later books). There is nothing really that special or different about this book but I enjoyed it and I can't wait to read the rest!
Overall I would definitely recommend giving this series a go.
Helped by Titus VII Master of the Domain to break out of a trunk in the attic of the Wintervale home when she lands, Iolanthe is quickly swept up in a game of cat and mouse as Bane, the Inquisitor and their spies frantically search for the elemental mage who can call down bolts of lightning, Challenged to protect her and to guide her training Titus has Iolanthe masquerade as Archer Fairfax, a cocky, athletic student who easily makes friends at the all boys school. What the Prince and Iolanthe don't expect as sparks fly in their clash of wills is to fall in love, each willing to sacrifice their life to save the other.
The plot is set in the Domain a realm subjugated to the will of Bane a mighty mage and ruler of Atlantis. The Master of the Domain Titus VII of the House of Elberon has no authority, his Uncle Alectus the regent until he comes of age. Having to obey Bane who has delegated authority to his emissary the Inquisitor, Titus yearns for freedom and vengeance for the death of his mother after the January Uprising. In an atmosphere of uncertainty and discontent he has been sent away to the nonmage school of Eton to be educated, but in secret has developed his magic. It is here that Iolanthe takes up residence as Archer Fairfax, the Prince's best friend and confidant.
The plot is fast-paced, quickly heating up after Iolanthe and Titus pledge a blood oath to someday fight Bane and to free her guardian from imprisonment. With her fluid writing style Sherry Thomas brings life and believability to a fantastical land where there's a natural connection between Iolanthe and the four elements-fire, earth, air and water - and Titus induces magical spells with a flick of his wand. In a story where they face wyverns and cockatrices in training, use a transmognification spell to change Iolanthe into a canary, and are guided by Lady Ariadne's visions that appear on the blank pages of her diary when needed, the action never stops as intrigue and suspense escalate. Absorbing from beginning to end, the plot culminates in a cliff-hanger that begs for another book.
The characters are unforgettable, realistic and complex with all their faults and flaws; especially Prince Titus who appears capricious, shallow and self-absorbed. He hides his vulnerability, loneliness, any kindness, resourcefulness or generosity of spirit behind lies, manipulation and deception, distancing himself from his servants and guards in the castle and at school from other students until he loses his heart to Iolanthe. In her disguise as Archer Fairfax Iolanthe's brash, arrogant yet amiable, easily making friends at Eton but privately she harbours a lot of fear and insecurity, reluctant to join Titus's fight and yearning to set her guardian free. When they meet Titus and Iolanthe are drawn to each other, their chemistry fuelling their attraction although both try to avoid their feelings. Of all the characters that add intensity, depth and dimension to the story the Inquisitor is by far the most vicious and heartless; Lady Callista the most devious and underhanded; and Bane calculating and determined.
I enjoyed "The Burning Sky" which I found on Goodreads/First Reads and highly recommend it. This fantasy is intriguing from the first page to the last and I can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy.