Author: Sherry Thomas Published: September 17, 2013 Pages: 464
Stars: 4 out of 5
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.
Once the loving and attentive father figure, Master Haywood has lost much of himself and become delusional from drinking merixida. Or at least Iolanthe believes and possibly why his warning falls on deaf ears when he tries to persuade Iolantha from performing her fire magic at a wedding. When persuasion doesn’t work, unbeknownst Master Haywood sets off a chain of events that were foretold in a prophecy. Haywood is a minor character, but the love and sacrifice make him a memorable one.
Iolanthe, also known as Fairfax, is an interesting character. She is easily relatable and you can’t help but wonder what you would do if you were asked to give up everything- all your dreams, a future you hoped to have one day- all to attempt to defeat a horrible evil. Oh and did I mention there is a high likelihood you will die. Sounds like fun doesn’t it… So faced with an unbeatable task, Iolanthe does what anyone would do- runs, attempts to hide, but ultimately accepts her fate. Her character grows throughout the book, turning from a scared girl into a strong woman.
Throughout the book, I found myself going back and forth on how I felt about Titus. He is of royalty but from a young age, he has been burdened with the task to die for this one cause. More so, to train, protect, and use Iolanthe’s Mage powers to fight the Bane. Parts of his character is cold hearted, ruthless, yet he is very much alone, and sad. He’s a manipulator and uses it to his advantage, especially when it comes to Iolanthe. All of this should easily add up to a character you hate. But doesn’t the hero have to be ruthless in order to overcome obstacles and face a certain death prophesied by his mother. I just can’t help but feel for the loss of his childhood and the unfair burdens he has held alone. Ultimately, I find myself falling in love with his sacrifice and kind heart.
Both Titus and Iolanthe are smart, cunning, and strong. It is uncommon to see two characters that fit each other so well. Usually one characters flaw puts him/her below the other. But not with these two. And I think this is why their love story is both wonderful and frustrating to read. Wonderful because Iolanthe is exactly who Titus needs and has been looking for. But frustrating because the entire book they skip around each other, kissing but retracting the kiss, having feelings but ignoring them, and ultimately giving up everything for each other to proclaim friendship.
Overall, at times I was a little confused with what was going on in the book. Some of the language and sayings took a while to understand but the book was very much enjoyable. I loved the characters and fairytale aspect. This book is full of action , with hints of romance. This probably isn’t a series I would buy because it isn’t as fast pace as I normally like. But it is highly enjoyable and recommended. Besides, I loved how he author incorporated the saying ‘And they lived happily ever after’.