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Book Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is a knockout. I loved everything about this young adult fantasy novel.

Book Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

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the burning sky by sherry thomas book review

Title & Author: The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy) by Sherry Thomas

Genre: Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy, Magic

Release Date: September 17, 2012

Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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 had 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 had ever known.

Expect magic.”

Love at First Sight

I read the premise of The Burning Sky and knew instantly I had to read it. Even though the cover is gorgeous enough to turn heads, the description is what really did it for me. A girl pretending to be a boy in an all boys school and is an elemental mage?!?! Yes, I definitely must know more.

For me, knowing less about the plot of a book going into it is ideal. I check to see how my friends on Goodreads rated it, see if there are a good number of four and five star reviews, skim the longer reviews and finally dive in. That’s why on RBR, I do everything I can to avoid spoilers and even too much plot detail…because where’s the fun in that for you? If I tell you everything that happens, why would you pick up the book then? Derailed…ok…

The Burning Sky is simply fantastic. Isolanthe, alias Archer Fairfax, lives a simple existence with her negligent mentor. Her life completely turns upside down when she meets Titus, prince of the realm. AH! I’ll stop there.

Here’s what you really need to know about this book: every scene is vivid and colorful. Extraordinary events take place that create a truly magical atmosphere that you can imagine very easily. I loved that Sherry Thomas really went for the big, epic scenes that shocked and awed me. It makes for a great balance of drama and suspense.

I’m loving strong heroines lately. Isolanthe is both vulnerable and worldy. She’s experienced little of politics and fighting, but when she does face it she handles it with dignity and strength. Plus, she’s a spitfire. And not in an obnoxious, look-at-me way. She does it with winks and flair. I adored her character so much!

As I really tried to pinpoint what made The Burning Sky such a standout book, I realized it was because I felt so much while reading it. When a book can make you rage and cry and rejoice, you know you’ve got something special. The worst feeling ever is finishing a book and genuinely feeling like you don’t care what happens in the next book. No so with this novel: I have all the feels for Isolanthe, Titus and the world of Elberon.

More Under the Surface

There is no doubt in my mind that the sequel will have even more surprises and twists. The Burning Sky leaves just enough questions unanswered to leave readers wondering what could possibly happen next while not totally leave us hanging. I can tell that there’s a plan for Isolanthe and Titus, and it’s Harry Potter-esque. A storm is brewing and it’s going to be CRAZY HUGE once it peaks.

I think there’s something so interesting about pretending to be something you’re not. In literature there’s always that moment of discovery and the subsequent fallout. Not only with Isolanthe pretending to be a boy, but her true abilities and what that means for her new-found friends.


I could not get enough of this book. I wanted to reread it as soon as I’d finished. The Burning Sky is an original YA fantasy that combines a world where fire, water, earth and air can do some serious damage. The characters are believable, but more than anything The Burning Sky made me feel strongly about the story.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.