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 revenge 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 the first in a new YA trilogy which looks to be very interesting. Iolanthe Seabourne, our herione, is feisty and powerful, just coming to realize what the scope of her powers might be. It's dangerous to be too good a mage in The Realm and when she accidentally summons a bolt of lighting, everything normal in her life comes crashing down around her.
Our other hero, Prince Titus, is refreshing in that he's completely not perfect. Although he's prepared for this his entire life, when he finds out that a girl is the promised mage and not a boy, he freaks out a bit. He'd been preparing all his life for what he thought would be his greatest friend, someone he could finally share his secrets with. A girl was completely unexpected.
The reason Iolanthe being a girl is so pointed is because of where she and the Prince have to go to hide out: non-magical Victorian Eton. I loved this plot point and I feel like it brought a lot to the story. Iolanthe has to pretend to be Fairfax, a boy Titus has manufactured for years, and live up to all the expectations the boys have come up with for him, as well as not give the game away. Beyond that, they have to keep training to be ready to fight the Bane, an evil overlord that has pretty much taken over their Realm.
One other point I thought was particularly nice was that Iolanthe and Titus don't fall in love, at least right away. Although it's quite clear that that's going to happen eventually, Titus does a few things in the beginning that do not endear him to Iolanthe and her quiet loathing of him was a refreshing twist on the genre. It kept the plot moving and made their burgeoning friendship, once it got started, all the more poignant.
I really enjoyed The Burning Sky and will be looking out for the next book in the trilogy hopefully next year. The characters are interesting and fresh, the plot is original and it's a great read. Check it out if you fantasy ya.
The Burning Sky comes out September 17 2013 from Balzer and Bray. You can read the first chapter on Thomas's website here.