Author: Sherry Thomas
Publisher: Balzer & Bray, 464 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being 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 greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus 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 Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
I absolutely loved this book. The world-building is fantastic. Most of the book takes place in the nonmage (non-magical world) but then Iolanthe is training to become a stronger elemental mage (in the magical world there are elemental mages, who control fire, earth, water, or air, or a combination of those and then there are subtle mages, who basically do magic without controlling those elements) so some of the book takes place in sort of a hologram type setting in order for her to train (and in this setting there are creatures to battle, etc).
Besides the world-building, I loved the two main characters, Iolanthe and Titus. Iolanthe is strong, smart, and able to take care of herself. No whining at all. Titus is complex. He's a prince (gorgeous, of course) who has been working toward one goal his entire life, and that has made him unable to trust anyone or to get close to anyone. He's basically alone. Until Iolanthe comes along. There's chemistry immediately between them, but then Titus does something (master manipulator) that really pushes her away before anything can really get started (he's very goal-oriented), and I love that the author created this tension and antagonistic relationship between them. It worked so well. Iolanthe is basically stuck with him and not too happy about it (although there are moments between them, of course). Also, no love triangle. Thank you, Sherry Thomas!
There's action, twists and turns, and a bit of romance. I was really worried there would be this massive cliffhanger, but there isn't. This is one of the best fantasy novels I've read and I can't wait for the next one.
Posted by: Pam