The Perilous Sea
by Sherry Thomas
Read: August 10 - 20, 2014
Published: September 16, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you Harper Collins)
Category: Historical Fantasy, Victorian, Magic, Elemental, YA
Series: The Elemental Trilogy book 2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
Book description: 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.
NOTE: The Perilous Sea is the sequel to The Burning Sky. See my review of the first book HERE. But this review is safe for all readers.
The Perilous Sea is one of those rare delights where the second book in a series far outshines the first. While I liked The Burning Sky, I have now fallen in love with these characters and world. The Perilous Sea was not at all a quick read for me - mostly because of the way the story was set up, which I can't discuss without spoiling it - but I enjoyed it so much. Below is my six point break down about why I loved this sequel.
1) I was impressed with how this book was set up and came together at the end. Sherry Thomas made a very specific choice of structure for her second installment, and it paid off, becoming one of my favorite elements. As one of my reviewer friends said, this choice kept the story from falling into any sort of middle book syndrome. It enabled the story to feel new and more engaging, while forcing Titus and Ioanthe to have to trust and rely on each other. The series also continues to play with the idea of identity, which is a theme we've seen from the first book (with Ioanthe hiding as a boarding school boy).
2) I never fully connected to the romance in the first book, but I fell in love with Titus and Ioanthe this time around. My new-found swoons partially tie into the way the book was structured, which gave me the opportunity to get a fresh look at their connection. Plus NO LOVE TRIANGLES. At all. You don't know how relieving that is for me. Usually, I read second books with barely contained dread, worrying the entire time if a second love interest will suddenly pop up. Not this one!
3) I was surprised so much while reading this story. Many revelations I did not see coming. I had no idea what to expect when I started, and Thomas did a great job at pacing out her reveals. I'm impressed with her ability to give hints that I only saw in hindsight.
4) Fellow Eton student, Kashkari, plays a bigger role in this book. I love that boy! I want all the good things for him. We find out more about him, and his quiet wisdom is so needed to counter Ioanthe and Titus who tend towards a bit more of the dramatic. I enjoyed all the other boarding school boys in this story as well, and it's still so fun to see Ioanthe fooling them all into thinking she's a boy.
5) I am loving the destiny/free will themes at play in this series. When I reviewed The Burning Sky, I made the statement: "I also liked the questions raised about fate and free will. Does a seer witness the future or help to create it? Is it possible to contradict a vision? I hope both of these themes come more into play in the next books." I was thrilled to see these ideas explored further in the sequel, and I can't wait for more answers to come.
6) I've enjoyed watching the growth of Titus and Ioanthe, individually and as a team, since the start of the first book. The first half of the book contained some unnecessary drama and miscommunication that could have been cleared up pretty easily if Titus and Ioathe decided to talk to each other. I also thought there were some conclusions reached after a revelation that didn't fully make sense to me. However, It never dragged too far into angst territory, and in the end, I saw a lot of growth from both of them.
In sum, this series just keeps getting better, and I cannot wait for the final installment!
Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium/High - Ends in the middle of action, but the moment was not overly stressful for me.