Emily May's Reviews > The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
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did not like it
bookshelves: coverly-love, fantasy, young-adult, 2015

"Why should Atlantis pay any mind to me?"
"Because you are younger and have far more potential."
. . .
"Potential for what?"
"For greatness."

The Burning Sky is the author's first YA Fantasy novel, after writing many adult Historical Romance novels, and it really shows. I expected some light fantasy and possibly a romance - I was okay with that - but this story is so ridiculously superficial. And not even in a fluffy, somewhat enjoyable way.

Some of YA's toughest critics on Goodreads enjoyed this book, so I felt sure I would love it. But I felt my interest waning as soon as the Mary Sue MC waltzed in without a personality but with a big ol' "The Chosen One" banner hanging over her head.

Iolanthe Seabourne has no personality. No hopes, fears or defining characteristics beyond the fact that she is "the greatest elemental mage of her generation". She excels at everything, cannot do any wrong, is part of an old prophecy to be the saviour, and is so lacking in anything interesting. She's not even a character; she's an archetype.

And every other character is an archetype too. We have the evil tyrant, the aged mentor, and a brave prince called Titus, who also manipulates Iolanthe to get her to behave the way he wants. There is no depth to the characters, no depth to the plot, and the attempts at depth to the world resulted in lots of tedious info-dumping.

Despite there being tons of information in the beginning, I still cannot envision the world, this society, or its history in the slightest. Maybe because Thomas' style is very slow and difficult to read. The superficial characters seem more suited to a middle grade novel (good guys always triumph, evil villain, handsome princes, etc.) but the writing is way too heavy - there's no flow to the style, you have to push your way through it.

By the last third of the book, I was skim-reading out of boredom and a desire to finish.

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Reading Progress

July 27, 2015 – Shelved
August 9, 2015 – Started Reading
August 28, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

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message 1: by Jay (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jay Great review


message 2: by KristynRene (new)

KristynRene The Hype Queen of Books Awwww man I bought this book in such great anticipation now I'm so bummed XD


message 3: by Nicko (new) - added it

Nicko Moknu Why EMILY! Why! You destroyed my hopes and dreams. :((

*composes herself and shrugs*

I don't care what you say, I'm giving it a try anyway. :P


Emily May Jay wrote: "Great review"

Thank you :)


Emily May Nicoleta wrote: "Why EMILY! Why! You destroyed my hopes and dreams. :((

*composes herself and shrugs*

I don't care what you say, I'm giving it a try anyway. :P"


I'm sorry :( I really hope you enjoy it more!


message 6: by L. (new)

L. I always enjoy reading your critical reviews far more then your positive, I don't know why - I guess sassy Emily just appeals to me!


Emily May Loz wrote: "I always enjoy reading your critical reviews far more then your positive, I don't know why - I guess sassy Emily just appeals to me!"

LOL, thank you XD


message 8: by Shannon (new)

Shannon "In every generation, there is a slayer..... "


Emily May Shannon wrote: ""In every generation, there is a slayer..... ""

Ah, I miss Buffy ^_^


Claudia Victoria "...she is "the greatest elemental mage of her generation". She excels at everything, cannot do any wrong, is part of an old prophecy to be the saviour, and is so lacking in anything interesting."

ALERT ALERT MARY SUE AHEAD

*backs away slowly*


BookOwl BookOwl Noooooo. Emily why thi book!


message 12: by Erica Martin (new)

Erica Martin I will deal will almost any writing issue EXCEPT a Mary Sue MC. Smh.


Alayna Payton Oh no! I just bought this.... I'll just lower my expectations and read on.


message 14: by Rane (new)

Rane Sounds a bit like Red Queen.


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Haney I tried to like this one, as a friend had highly recommended it, but I put it down after less than 25 pages. It never grabbed me--not even close.


message 16: by Nicko (new) - added it

Nicko Moknu Emily May wrote: "I'm sorry :( I really hope you enjoy it more!"

Nah, I'm just messing with you *wink*, though I am going to give it a shot. Won't hurt me or anything.


Rezeda Wow, you really don't like historical romances. In my opinion, Iolanthe Seabourne is much more believable and real (and, btw, she is not a Chosen One, as it turns out), than Aza Ray in "Magonia"; but you did not mind Aza Ray in the least despite all her uniqueness and definitely being "Chosen One". I totally agree that world-building here is weak here, but characters are written way better, than in most YA dystopias.


Katerina Kondrenko Rezeda wrote: "Wow, you really don't like historical romances. In my opinion, Iolanthe Seabourne is much more believable and real (and, btw, she is not a Chosen One, as it turns out), than Aza Ray in "Magonia"; b..."

second that, the sequels would show more of the world and characters and this chosen-one thing will turn into smoke)


Barbara Russell Only continue to listen because I have already paid for it! I enjoyed listing to many young adult books, but this one is dragging on! Not going to waste time on book 2.


message 20: by Ejaz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ejaz I completely agree!!! my eyes glazed over several times and i dont seem to care what happen to them at all. i want to. i really do. but i dont.


Emily May Ejaz wrote: "I completely agree!!! my eyes glazed over several times and i dont seem to care what happen to them at all. i want to. i really do. but i dont."

The worst feeling while reading a book is boredom/not caring :( I honestly think I'd rather be annoyed, lol.


message 22: by Savvy (new) - rated it 1 star

Savvy So bored with this book. Iolanthe was a pretty name and that is honestly what got me through the book, but seriously. It could have been MUCH better. I am in complete agreement with you, Emily. Also, Iolanthe acted way too taken with a guy she just met. So unrealistic.


Lauren Black Iolanthe Seabourne has a personality! It is repeatedly mentioned in the book all of her hopes and fears. Her defining characteristics are loyalty, courageous, intuitive, and intelligent. She does NOT excel at everything! For the majority of the book she repeatedly fails while practicing her elemental magic. She is a very relatable and more realistic character personality wise than most others. I don't see how you could have missed all of this when writing your review. It's like you didn't even read the book!


Peter Deeks I enjoyed it. Don't assume everyone will agree with your preferences.


Biscuits Have to say I agree completely about the characters. I feel like we're consantly told what Iolathe's personality is but at the same time i don't feel she's real at all. I don't feel her struggles or her emotions. Maybe it's just the authors writing style but I find it hard to feel any concern for her characters. They feel flat and lacking in passion (writing wise AND romance wise).


message 26: by Jess (new) - added it

Jess I loved this book. I usually am pretty on par with your reviews, but I loved this one. I read it with my 7 year old.


message 27: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Has anyone else noticed that like 99% of the main characters in YA novels are told that they have some form of 'potential'?


Emily I read this book IN middle school. I hated it then and I hate it now. I’ve been going through my old books on my read shelf and tbh, I wish I hadn’t read this one because it made me so mad. I think I only took one thing away from it: what not to do as a writer.


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