I was looking for a new book, and didn't have a lot of time when I saw the Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. I picked it up and started reading based on the name and cover image only, something that isn't my habit. The story revolves around Iolanthe Seabourne, a 16 year old elemental mage who believes she can only control three elements, unlike the most powerful elemental mages that can control all four. Focused on a party, Iolanthe uses her powers to create lightning, which sets in motion a chain of events which dramatically change her life. Soon she finds herself allied to a prince, in hiding in an all boys school as a girl, and the unlikely opponent to the most powerful mage in the world, the Bane.
What I liked
The writing is interesting and the story well told. I found the story compelling and was interested to see how it developed.
What I didn't like
The setting of the story, in England in a live in school where there are magicians felt very much like Harry Potter. This was an all boys school and the magic system is different but it still felt very familiar, which was a big draw back for me. I also found the characters motivations a bit shallow and under developed at times. There were even moments when I thought to myself that they felt unauthentic. I frankly couldn't connect with them at all and found them unmemorable. The tense that the author used for the book also contributed to my lack of connection to the characters.
Overall I thought it was decent. Like the characters, I found the book to be less than memorable, but not a bad read. However despite the kind of shallow entertainment that it provided, I would be unlikely to recommend the book to a friend. I'd give it three stars, knocking off two for the familiar feel similar to Harry Potter and for the overall lack of character development that I felt like existed.