{Review/Giveaway} THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

Week One:
9/8/2014- A Book and a LatteInterview
9/9/2014- Such a Novel IdeaReview
9/10/2014- FiktshunGuest Post
9/11/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
9/12/2014- Bewitched BookwormsInterview

Week Two:
9/15/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
9/16/2014- A Backwards StoryInterview
9/17/2014- Carina's BooksGuest Post
9/18/2014- NerdophilesReview
9/19/2014- Candace's Book BlogReview
Stop back tomorrow for my tour stop as I interview Sherry Thomas, and check back this week for my review of THE PERILOUS SEA!!!

THE BURNING SKY is only $1.99 right now on
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B O O K   T R A I L E R:

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

     JUST BEFORE THE START OF Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys. A sixteen-year-old pupil named Archer Fairfax returned from a three-month absence, caused by a fractured femur, to resume his education. 
     Almost every word in the preceding sentence is false. Archer Fairfax had not suffered a broken limb. He never before set foot in Eton. His name was not Archer Fairfax. And he was not, in fact, even a he.
     This is the story of a girl who fooled a thousand boys, a boy who fooled an entire country, a partnership that would change the fate of realms, and a power to challenge the greatest tyrant the world has ever known.
     Expect Magic. 

This review was first published at A Backwards Story on September 20, 2013.

There should be more buzz surrounding THE BURNING SKY than there is. It was unputdownable, a book not to be forgotten. It lingers with you when the last page is done, making it impossible to just dive into something new right away. It's blurbed by fantasy authors I love such as Rae Carson, Sarah J. Maas, Marie Lu, and Cinda Williams Chima. It has aspects of beloved series, while still remaining wholly its own entity. When I first heard of the book, it was blurbed as Kristin Cashore meets Cinda Williams Chima, but I drew my own comparisons.The fact that Iolanthe must masquerade as a boy in order to hide out at an all-boys boarding school is reminiscent of Tamora Pierce's fantasy staple Song of the Lioness quartet. Iolanthe has mastered three of the four elements, but struggles with air, which reminds me of Nickelodeon tv series Avatar: The Legend of Korra. J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter series can be seen in the way the magic realm is kept separate from the mortal realm, that Iolanthe and Prince Titus practice magic in a hidden lab or dive into the pages of the Crucible, or even, if you're really looking for it, the way the boys love playing cricket. I was first drawn to the series when I saw an e-ARC comparing the book to Cashore, had a co-worker recommend it to me when she saw the same e-blurb after I'd forgotten about it, then remembered the book a third time at BEA when in line at HarperCollins for an ARC of Amy Tan's THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT. Everyone was lined up for THE BURNING SKY, and I was like, "What is this book?" and hopped into the line as soon as I had my Amy Tan. Third time is the charm, though, because only then, looking at the summary and hearing the enthusiasm, did I become genuinely excited about this novel. I wish I'd been excited sooner. It deserves that. The buzz around this book should be bigger than it is, and I feel it may not be because high fantasy doesn't sell as well as other genres. And that's sad, because it's my favorite!

Iolanthe Seabourne is a registered Elemental Mage III, meaning she is able to control three unique elements. What she doesn't know is that she can actually control all four and is a highly sought-after, extremely rare Elemental Mage IV. Her ability to manipulate air has been suppressed since childhood, and she was never told about it. If she had been, Atlantis would have descended and stolen her away to be used and discarded by the Bane. It has been prophesized that Iolanthe will destroy the Bane and save the realm, aided by Prince Titus, who has been preparing for the moment their fates become entwined. He was forewarned of her arrival and his own destiny by his deceased mother, who had been a Seer. He knows that his mother foresaw his demise on the road to victory, but is determined to help Iolanthe, defend his kingdom, and destroy the Bane once and for all.

Action! Adventure! Mystery! Intrigue! Deception! Romance! What more do you want in a book? HarperCollins' Balzer + Bray imprint always puts out great, engaging fantasy. I often want to read a book just because it's from this imprint (And their other imprint, Greenwillow Books, is also fabulous). THE BURNING SKY is no exception. I read it with no expectations, and finished wanting more. I have a love-hate relationship with series when I don't wait to read them in one gulp, because I hate waiting. At the same time, I don't want to wait that long to enjoy something! Lose-Lose situation... Iolanthe and Prince Titus are both great characters. Iolanthe starts off as a bright-eyed, innocent girl, but quickly becomes wary and jaded. At the same time, she is still that girl at her core, and I loved watching her struggle to accept the fate Destiny had thrust upon her. And Prince Titus! He knows the mark of death rests upon him, but is determined to set things right. He has spent years developing an uncaring, arrogant persona to the public and hiding the lovable guy he truly is. He makes it seem like he has no great magical abilities, while in reality, he's extremely powerful in his own right...and he does it all in the name of Destiny. Neither he nor Iolanthe go into this planning to fall in love, but their journey promises to twine them together in more ways than one. There are some great unique elements in the novel as well. I love that steads such as the pegasus can have rubbery, spike-tipped wings. They're not just beautiful, but deadly, too. Great twist! I love the idea of the Crucible, a book that Iolanthe and Prince Titus go into when they need to practice. There are different realms, challenges and obstacles...and the fairy tale lover in me is secretly a fan of the way Prince Titus seems to favor the Sleeping Beauty tower guarded by wyverns.

I would definitely recommend THE BURNING SKY if you're looking for a great fantasy to sweep you away and make you forget everything else. It's reminiscent at times of other books, but not in a way that ever detracts. Instead, it's easy to focus on the story as its own entity, and to covet more upon reaching the final pages (But not in a cliffhanger way! Just in a "please don't be over" way).
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

HarperCollins spent a lot of time fiddling with this cover. It was originally going to look like:

Some elements are the same, like the awesome title font and the kingdom on the cover. It's the how that's changed. It's also brighter and more eye-catching now. The elements being displayed are fiercer. The cover was great before, but it's more intimidating and epic-looking now.

I love the way the elements bleed into the interior, too:

I sort of wish the lightning was striking the title to that extent on the cover, too, because it looks mad awesome, but it may have ended up making the cover look too busy, causing the idea to be nixed?

Continuing on with my interior gushing...

You see how there's a diamond between the K and Y in the title THE BURNING SKY? It's in every chapter heading, too:

I like when everything matches up like that! I also like that the number is bigger than the word "Chapter," just like how the title THE BURNING SKY gets bigger as you read it!

There's so much to like about this cover! I see something new every time, and everything is related to the book, from the mountains in the distance to the wayward feathers that are blink-and-you-miss-them surrounding the word "SKY."
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins
Received: For Review

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning… 

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.

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award. 

English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find. 

Sherry’s next book, THE PERILOUS SEA, volume two of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2014. Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio
Author Links:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

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The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade and a handmade solid lotion bar and some homemade face scrubs, plus a burning sky bag. 

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2 winners will receive The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade. 

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