Burning Sky
by Thomas, Sherry

Elemental mage Iolanthe Seabourne is compelled to fulfill a prophecy about her role in defeating a powerful tyrant along with Prince Titus, whose quest for vengeance requires him to sacrifice Iolanthe's life.

Two teen mages plot to overthrow the Bane, the despotic conqueror of their domain, in this trilogy opener. Prince Titus has spent his entire life preparing for his deceased mother's prophecy, in which he sacrifices his life to defeat the Bane, with the aid of a great elemental mage. When the sign he has been waiting for comes-a summoned lightning bolt that sets the sky ablaze-he races to protect this rare and important mage, only to discover an untried girl named Iolanthe. She has led a quiet life studying to be a scholar but is now hiding in an unfamiliar world-nineteenth-century London-at a boy's school. She is ill prepared for the destiny Titus claims is hers, yet she needs him to survive long enough to decide. Titus is prepared to die-is she? It's easy to confuse the details of this multiworld, multi-magic-system fantasy, but it's just as easy to be absorbed by the delicious, troubled romance between Titus and Iolanthe and their desperate situation. Strong focus on characters and world building make this a fantasy saga to watch. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

An award-winning adult romance author's debut for teens bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success. Iolanthe Seabourne's quiet life as an elemental mage of middling power explodes when she summons lightning from the sky. Suddenly the 16-year-old is on the run from villainous Inquisitors. That same lightning bolt galvanizes the carefully nurtured schemes of Titus, the teenage figurehead prince, to free his realm from domination by Atlantis. The only problem is that the great mage whom seers foretold Titus will sacrifice his life to protect was supposed to be a boy….Multiple tropes-of heroic quest, gaslamp fantasy, fractured fairy tale, school story and doomed romance-are gracefully braided into a hefty but ravishing narrative. In its two alternating viewpoints, three worlds and four distinct magical systems are all masterfully delineated through delicate prose and subtle characterization. Iolanthe may be excessively perfect-beautiful and powerful and brilliant-but her prickly independence and wry self-awareness give her depth; Titus' status, talent and stunning magnificence is less compelling than his boyish vulnerability and tortured determination. Too often in fantasy, when prophecies are both accurate and specific, characters can seem mere puppets of fate. Here, the conflagrant climax is true to their choices, with a satisfying happy-for-now resolution that whets delicious anticipation for inevitable sequels. It caters to very specific tastes, but teens and adults in the target audience will devour it. (Fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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