Thursday, September 4, 2014

ARC Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)

Author: Sherry Thomas

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Release Date: September 16th, 2014

I am still reeling from the aftermath of The Perilous Sea. With The Burning Sky, Sherry Thomas introduced us to a world of magic and destiny, one in which our protagonists--Titus and Iolanthe--had to battle the Bane, the deadly ruler of Atlantis. The Perilous Sea picks up shortly after The Burning Sky left off, only this time it is the end of the summer holidays and Titus, whisked away to princely duties in Atlantis, has not seen Iolanthe in months. Now, finally reunited, to two are determined to work harder, fight longer, and discover the secret to bringing down the Bane. Only, it seems fate--or rather the diary of Titus's late mother, a seer--has very different ideas...

From the beginning itself, The Perilous Sea sets itself apart from The Burning Sky due to its format. Thomas writes two different timelines simultaneously, meaning that every alternate chapter jumps between the present and the past catching up to the present moment. With cliffhanger endings concluding every chapter, it is practically impossible to set this book down once you've picked it up, not only because of the urge to discover the situation in the timeline you left behind, but also to figure out how our protagonists went from Point A to Point B.

Moreover, from the onset of this novel itself, it is clear that Thomas is choosing to focus on the age-old question of fantasy: can one truly make his or her own destiny? Very early on in The Perilous Sea a sequence of events plays out in such a way that Titus begins to doubt the veracity of his mother's prophecies. Or, at any rate, her interpretation of them. Thus, the lives and focus of both Titus and Iolanthe are upturned by these circumstances and the emotional turmoil they experience is simply heart-breaking. I love that despite the fact that we know both these protagonists so well from The Burning Sky, Thomas continues to challenge them, forcing them to become even better, stronger, and more confident versions of themselves. Additionally, these change of events cause The Perilous Sea to be far more romantic than we may have anticipated. In one timeline, circumstances allow for Iolanthe and Titus to fall in love all over again, albeit in a different way. In another timeline, Iolanthe and Titus must battle through their differences to find a way back to one another, despite the hurdles they themselves have erected in their paths. In both instances, it is abundantly clear once and for all that yes, these two truly do love each other and, above all, they are stronger together than apart.

The Perilous Sea continues to excel as a sequel, however, primarily because of the depth we gain about the secondary characters. I truly enjoyed the characterization of the secondary characters we met in The Burning Sky, particularly Titus's friends in Eton, but in The Perilous Sea we finally peel back the facades these boys put forth and discover the true individual beneath. The plot of The Perilous Sea is such that the secondary characters are just as important, this time around, as our two protagonists, so the depth they're given in this installment is a pleasant--and very welcome!--surprise. What's more, the Bane is finally unveiled for the true horror we are told he is. While we learn a little of this villain in the previous installment, The Perilous Sea travels deep into his past and--believe me--the atrocities he is capable of are cringe-worthy.

In fact, The Perilous Sea packs plot twist after plot twist, reveal after reveal, at such a breakneck pace that it is difficult to imagine what Thomas can possibly unveil further in the final installment. We receive answers about Iolanthe's past--everything from her origins to her memory keeper--speculate about Titus's parentage, and learn the minute secrets as to the true reality of Titus's mother's visions. It's such a spectacular sequel simply because we believe one thing to be true, only to find that it isn't what we thought it was. While this ensured that readers were constantly in a state of surprise, at times the narrative style of this novel became a detriment to the story as a whole. For me, at any rate, I didn't find both timelines to be completely necessary and, what's more, the fact that one timeline moved at a significantly slower pace than the other one, could be a bit jarring at times. Most importantly, though, I found the never-ending reveals to be pleasant--at first--but found myself needing slightly more detail or clarification than was provided. And, sadly, the political turmoil that marked The Burning Sky is mostly devoid in this novel as the focus is on overthrowing the Bane. I am hoping--and eagerly looking forward to--seeing more of Atlantis's political scheme in the sequel, along with the final battle that is looming ahead. The Perilous Sea is one of the strongest sequels I've come across this year and if Thomas continues to improve and build upon this series as she has, I do not doubt that the finale will be unforgettable.


  1. I didn't read the review cause I haven't read the first book and I want to avoid any spoilers but seeing that high rating I think I should get into it pretty soon!!

  2. Glad this one worked so well for you Keertana! I struggled a touch with the format mostly because there didn't seem to be a reason for the "future" chapters by the time the timelines finally merged, but I did love the larger role the secondary characters played. Getting to know them better was definitely a highlight, as was our main couple once again:) Gorgeous review as always!

  3. For some reason I had a hard time with the first book but I am so pleased that the sequel was a huge success for you!

  4. YES! To all of this. I never get tired of the destiny debate, and I like how it was approached here. I especially enjoyed Kashkari's input. I loved seeing Ioanthe and Titus fall in love again - it was so necessary for me, because I didn't connect as well to their romance in the first book, and I liked the way that countered the growth they found in the other section. Even though I thought there was a bit too much drama there. I LOVED all the other boys and how much this story surprised me. So few books truly shock me any more. I definitely wanted more info for some things, and I'm going to have to re-read both the first and second books before attacking the finale, I think. But overall, I was so very impressed with this sequel.

  5. Awesome cover, and if you had not noticed I love fantasy :D

  6. Oh I didn't know it was a second novel but it's so awesome so see that's it's that good! I'm so curious and I want to discover this world! Great review!

  7. I'm reading this as an eARC and it's a bit more confusing because the chapters aren't as obvious so I'll be reading along and wind up in another timeline without realizing it. Plus, I really didn't remember the first book (except that I loved it) so it's taking me a while to get into this story.

  8. Sigh. This is another series where I'm left on the outside of the reading circle. I just can't get into it. I started it a while back and have faltered midway through. It's just not my thing to read, yanno?

    I can, however, appreciate how intricate Thomas' world is.

  9. Wow, what a positive review from you! I must say, everything you've described here sounds like it will work well with what I love in fantasy novels. Especially that question about one's destiny - it never, ever gets old! So glad you enjoyed this one, Keertana, and I can't wait to read it for myself!

  10. Wow! You have me wanting this one but wanting the first book even more. I'm going to have to try this author. I love the sound of her world-building and characterization. Plus, love that cover!

  11. I absolutely loved the cover of this book and it does sound exciting! I mean I actually like the sound of the jumping time povs, and the fact that you cannot put it down. I am always looking for a book that continues to make you read through.
    I cannot remember having heard of the first book, so I will have to go check it out on Goodreads.
    I am pleased to hear you enjoyed the sequel just as much though, since sometimes sequels can almost certainly be disappointing!

  12. I totally agree with you. This was like two stories in one and I loved both! :) I loved this one much more than The Burning Sky and I really got to love main characters and the whole idea. I'm so happy you loved it too. Great review, Keertana :)

  13. With cliffhanger endings of every chapter I can see why this would be an addictive read! I'll have to check this series out. Wonderful review, Keertana! :)

  14. I have this book but I still need to read the first book in the series.

    I'm pleased to see you enjoyed it. The differing timelines sound interesting as does the cliffhanger endings at the end of each chapter.

    I really should grab a copy of book 1.

    A wonderful review.

  15. This cover is GORGEOUS! Though this isn't my usual genre, I think I need to read this series soon. :) Great review!


I love hearing from my readers and I read, reply, and appreciate every one of the comments I receive!(: If you're a fellow blogger, please leave a link to your blog - I'd love to drop by!

Unfortunately, this is now an award-free blog. I simply do not have the time to respond and forward on the award, but I truly appreciate the nomination regardless.