Series: The Elemental Trilogy #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 16th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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 Perilous Sea, or as I like to call it “THE SEA DRAGON COVER I HAS A SEA DRAGON FWEEEEEEEEEEE”, was – as you might already be able to tell – one of my very highly anticipated books of 2014. It’s the sequel to The Burning Sky, which I absolutely loved in spite of its flaws. Though The Perilous Sea continues to fall short in certain areas, by the end of this book I was fully engaged and swamped with feels yet again.
The biggest weakness to The Burning Sky was admittedly the world building. Sadly, The Perilous Sea does not exactly make up for what was lacking in the first book. Some things are definitely more developed: I feel like the different kinds of magic were explored more – which I absolutely loved – and I gained a better understanding of the functionality of the Crucible. However, I’m still confused about the world in general. One of the big questions I had at the end of the first book was how exactly these mage and non-mage realms fit together – whether they were both on Earth, or whether they were in different dimensions, or what. By the way they have different systems of years, you’d think different dimensions. But then in this book, Iolanthe gets stranded in the mage realm (I think – it maybe wasn’t ONE HUNDRED PERCENT clear) and travels back to England by various boats – noting passing by most of the African continent. I… just…
WHY CAN’T YOU GIVE US A MAP? IS IT SO HARD? I’m so lost, seriously. Is the Domain on Earth or NOT. Where is Atlantis, for that matter? Or am I just stupid and missing something blatantly obvious?
But, ehm, I knew that there was a high probability that the world building would still be a hot mess, so I didn’t let that deter me from the story for too long. At least, I tried really hard not to let it. Point is, The Burning Sky introduced one of my favorite ships from last year: Titus and Iolanthe. They had a lovely hate-to-love transition with much bantering. Well, The Perilous Sea brings back the banter – that’s for sure. I was giggling SO MUCH at this book. Titus is his lovely sassy self and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Iolanthe is a worthy opponent, and the two are gold together. But for anyone who doubts how genuine their relationship is (I can’t imagine you would, but just in case), The Perilous Sea shows them as clearly being amazingly compatible and drawn to each other – no matter the (spoilery) circumstances. And the lengths they’ll go to to protect each other! FEELS. I was reminded all over again how great the dynamic between the two of them is and how badly I just want them to do nothing but kiss. Okay some other things too
The plotting also had similar issues as in the previous book. I mean, first off, I was pretty damn lost because I couldn’t remember much of what happened in The Burning Sky. The Perilous Sea doesn’t do the best job of jogging your memory. But even aside from that, the plot lacked direction, and for most of the book I was wondering what the fuck was going on, or whether this was a case of middle book syndrome. View Spoiler »I’m still confused about Iolanthe’s lost memories. Like, was that revealed in the first book already? Was it just about her mom – how she blocked Iolanthe from remembering her? Or were there other things too? SO CONFUSED. « Hide Spoiler I did very much appreciate the way the story dealt with prophecies, however. How much of a prophecy is pre-determined – and how much is ensured by the receivers of that prophecy through hard work? I always love when stories make you think like that, and The Perilous Sea does a great job of fully exploring the topic, in a way that kept me on my toes and intrigued. There were some surprising plot twists, yes indeed.
The last 50-something pages pulled it all together again. And I’m SO GLAD it did, because before that I didn’t have a single clue how to feel about this book. But seriously, Sherry Thomas pulled out a MASSIVE plot twist I NEVER saw coming. I literally just held the book in my hands, rereading a certain paragraph a few times, going…
Seriously, HOLY CRAP. Right when that happened, I was once again 100% invested in the story. The earlier plot lines finally started coming together, and though I was initially hesitant by the way the story alternated between two timelines, I finally saw how beneficial it was for the pacing of the story and that last POW, in my face. How does Sherry Thomas get me to feel so many things when objectively this series is still not the best? I dunno. I think she’s a wizard.