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. (goodreads.com)
The YAckers are back! After some breathing room hiatus time we’re back to our monthly reads. For January of this glorious new year of 2018 we read THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas. This was a good book. A perfectly fine book. One of those books that I have no problem with, but it just didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.
It deals a lot with destiny and things are already written in the cards and you don’t have a whole lot of choice but to follow along with it because it’s foretold. And I’m also a big fan of self-fulfilling prophecies. I actually believe, to some extent, in psychics. I think there’s talent there. As the same time I also believe they give an option of the future that, if you were to continue on the current path, would potentially come true. Deviate and it’ll change. Here we have Titus who’s effectively making sure this whole destiny thing plays out to the letter because it’s what’s supposed to happen and by golly his mom predicted it and he doesn’t want her to be wrong.
THE BURNING SKY is very much a Chosen One story because, and if you don’t see this coming from the very beginning you’re not reading with your eyes open or you brain on, Iolanthe is set up to be the MOST POWERFUL MAGE EVAR. Or at least since the LAST POWERFUL MAGE up and died. One a generation or whatever. Kind of like Buffy. And since the next powerful mage can’t be born until the last one dies, it’s even more like Buffy. Holy shit. Just realizing that now. Fun. Are there vampires in this world?
I thought crossdressing Iolanthe was going to be more of a thing in the story, but it’s really not. She has the very convenient skill of being able to play the boy because, even more conveniently, she always played the boy in plays growing up. HOW CONVENIENT. And she’s on the thinner side so she doesn’t have big ol’ titties to have to bind down and I guess a rather androgynous face because all that has to be done is her hair gets cut short and BAM. Boy. But that whole aspect of it came with very little risk on her or Titus’s part, ultimately. There were some insinuated situations but they always squeaked out of them. I guess I’m okay with the reprieves since everything else that was going on.
The world was the best part of the story. Of course I couldn’t help but compare it to Harry Potter because wands and magic and spell-casting and all of that. It’s there. Sue me. But aside from those three things there’s really no other similarities. Thomas’s book stands on its own and I liked the sort of magical stranglehold that Atlantis has on the world and how the magic world exists alongside each other without necessarily touching. Like Harry Potter. Okay, four things.
What I didn’t like, though, was that the Bane was this ultimate Big Bad that they were on the road to fight and he was the true villain, however, he never actually made an appearance in the story until the very end. Like Voldemort. Goddammit. They were mostly trying to slap away the Death Eaters, I mean the Inquisitor and her lackeys (not named Dolores Umbridge, at least) because they’re wrangling for the Bane and the Big Bad needs to make a grand entrance and we can’t have it any other way.
Titus was Titus. I don’t really feel one way or another about him. He drove the story even though I think this was supposed to be more Iolanthe’s book, but whatever. He told her where to go, how to act, what to do, and she bucked against him a little bit, but ultimately fell in line. Until the very end where she developed a sense of agency and finally made a decision for herself.
So I totally didn’t go into this review with the intention of making it sounds as snarky as it’s coming off, but I didn’t realize how similar it was to things like Buffy and Harry Potter until I started writing this and now it’s just like, okay. Knockoff? I don’t want to call THE BURNING SKY a knockoff. It’s really not. At least I don’t think intentionally. It’s a perfectly fine story. But that’s pretty much all it is. It left more of an impression in how similar to other things it was than as a book in its own right, unfortunately. It seems, anyway. Because I did mention that it stands out in its own right just a couple paragraphs north. Shows how quickly I can talk my mind out of things.