Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasThe Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 16, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Alternate History, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 414
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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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.

Honestly, I was a bit nervous to start The Perilous Sea or at least I was until the reviews started rolling in from friends. Though I loved The Burning Sky, I got into a Twitter conversation with some of its detractors and I started to worry I was wrong. What if The Elemental Trilogy fell apart at book two as series so often do? Such worries were completely unfounded. The Perilous Sea is, if anything, an improvement upon The Burning Sky. It’s a fantasy novel with a ship of gold, epic banter, and oodles of world building.

You guys, this is such a Christina book. So much. The sarcastic banter completes my life and makes it whole. Titus can be a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, much as I love him. Iolanthe, however, brings out the best in him, aka the sarcastic banter. I ship this ship like little else. They really do make an amazing team. They work together and protect each other and improve one another. It’s so beautiful. Normally I hate the “I’ll protect you” shtick in books, but that’s because it’s generally one-sided penises-must-protect-vaginas business, but Iolanthe also says that to Titus and the cute. Also, the two make dick jokes while traveling around the desert. If you don’t ship that, we’ll probably never ever see eye to eye on a ship, let’s be real.

I’ll admit that I was a bit confused as The Perilous Sea opened, and you probably will be too. It didn’t help that it had been ages since I read The Burning Sky and there have been hundreds of books in between. Plus, this world has a LOT going on. The Perilous Sea starts with Titus and Iolanthe in the Sahara Desert, both with no memory of anything before; the only thing they know is that they need to escape Atlantis. Whuuuuut.

This will make sense, though, I promise. The Perilous Sea runs along two timelines, the desert and the time before the desert. I know this technique annoys some people who don’t like flashbacks, but it totally worked for me. Because of this, we get to be carried through some relationship problems between Titus and Iolanthe by them bantering and falling in love again despite not knowing each other. MY FEELS. I mean, I also love that they have relationship problems to work through, because hello realistic.

One of the main criticisms I’ve seen of The Burning Sky is that people are so sick of the whole Chosen One thing. That’s not my favorite trope either, to be honest; I actually just reamed a book I finished yesterday for this trope. However, with The Perilous Sea, you’ll discover that Sherry Thomas also has some thoughts on the chosen one trope and they are beautiful. Things are not as simple as just following a prophecy, okay.

I’m sort of undecided on the world building. Sometimes I’m completely in love with it. I mean, the elemental powers are so cool, but I am admittedly a total sucker for such things. The Bane is creepy as fuck, possibly because he recalls Voldemort pretty strongly in how hard he is to kill. View Spoiler » There are magic carpets and dragons and wands and basically every cool fantasy thing ever.

On the other hand, that’s a lot of stuff. The fact that the Elemental Trilogy is also set in the 1800s in an alternative history with magic is something I don’t know what to do with. I think the world building would be way easier to swallow if it were just in a fantasy world. However, half of the book is set in Eton. I don’t understand at all the divisions between the magical world and the nonmage world. Is the Sahara in the mage world or is it just unpopulated enough they feel safe doing tons of magic there? I could not begin to tell you. Then there’s the Crucible, the book that Titus and company can travel into for training. Mostly, it’s a safe space but in some areas you can die for real and there have been showdowns there in both books and that also is weird and wut.

What it boils down to though is that I really don’t care, honestly. I love the characters and the writing and the banter and the plot so much that I am completely willing to let some of the world building slide. The ending was intense and totally hurt my feels. The twist actually surprised me. The ROMANCE. The fact that Kashkari got to have a large role in this one, because I love him so much. Basically, this series is boss, unless you’re more of a world building reader than a character reader. You’ve been warned.

If you like your fantasy filled with romance that will make you squee from the amazing bantery connection, then you need Sherry Thomas’ Elemental Trilogy in your life. ASAP.

Favorite Quote:

“May I remind you that you are speaking to someone capable of smiting you with a thunderbolt?”

“Is there any point to flirting with a girl who is not capable of that?”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif aladdin magic carpet ride
Sassy banter followed by a magic carpet ride. I SHIP IT.

5 responses to “Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas”

  1. That gif!!! 😀

    I loved The Burning Sky, even though the worldbuilding still confuses me. You’re right, the fantasy mixed with an 18th century alt history is challenging at times. But I try to go with the flow because everything else is so much fun!! I really need to read this sequel immediately. I hateeee when characters can’t remember things though! Ugh! I’m glad it gets explained eventually. Such a pet peeve of mine. Thanks for your great review, I’m glad The Perilous Sea holds up to The Burning Sky!

    • Christina Franke says:

      The world building will always confuse me, I think. I mean, I feel like I sort of have a better hold on it now, but also. There was only so much Thomas could do at this point, because all that stuff was already established. However, everything else is so amazing that I just roll with it. SWOOONS.

  2. I haven’t been too intent on picking up this series but it sounds like it’d be worth considering. Really does sound like a solid read and you can’t go wrong with those covers. Great review!
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Halloween Thrills & Chills: 10 Great Horror Films with Jonathan StroudMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’m not sure how particular you are about world building. It’s REALLY busy and highly improbable, but if you can get past that, I really love them. 🙂

  3. Yesssssss. *rolls around in review*
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