Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
I admit I was rather hesitant to read this series. I carefully cracked the cover, shone a flashlight inside, and whispered, “Is there a good story in here?” And into my face flew a rider-bearing dragon and a gaggle (I’m pretty sure the plural is gaggle) of prep school boys and a magical alternate England (and world).
The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky (Book 1)
The Perilous Sea (Book 2)
The Immortal Heights (Book 3)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Philip Battely
Rating: 5 stars!
The Burning Sky:
It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning. 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. The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.
The Perilous Sea:
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in. Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.
The Immortal Heights:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good. However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort… Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough? With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.
I admit I was rather hesitant to read this series. I carefully cracked the cover, shone a flashlight inside, and whispered, “Is there a good story in here?” And into my face flew a rider-bearing dragon and a gaggle (I’m pretty sure the plural is gaggle) of prep school boys and a magical alternate England (and world). I devoured all three books within a week, and think I’ll go buy the hardcover for a re-read someday soon (as I did with Carry On recently).
This series reminds me of a fantastic combination of Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It features two fantastic leads who are each complex and lovable and understandable in their own ways, even when these clash (which they do quite often). Although there is a hint of insta-love, and a huge heap of “The Chosen One,” both tropes are challenged in some expected, and even more utterly unexpected ways.
As a whole, I must say I enjoyed the first book the most for its main setting at Eton College (I love boarding school books! See my infographic here.) However, the sequel, The Perilous Sea, greatly pleased me in its plot for not acting like a typical “middle book,” but instead introducing a new twist and a mystery solved in the same novel. The final book, The Immortal Heights, begins with a bang (minor spoiler: it’s an all-out war), and I must say all the grief and loss and dread of future loss was rather disheartening, and took up a very large chunk of the book. Luckily, Sherry Thomas makes up for all of it by treating readers to (minor spoiler ahead) a lovely, lengthy, and feel-good epilogue.
(Note: For those of you not listening to the audiobook, Iolanthe is pronounced “Ee-yoh-lanth.”)
Have you read this series yet? What are your thoughts on the matter?