Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: The Perilous Sea

The Perilous Sea
By Sherry Thomas
Published: September 16, 2014

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.

Sherry Thomas brings her trademark blend of dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and exciting action in this striking sequel to The Burning Sky.

My review:

Iolanthe (a.k.a. Fairfax) has made peace with her role as the chosen one, the prophesied elemental mage who will help overthrow the Bane. She is determined to do everything she can to save Titus as well. Iolanthe and Titus had planned to spend the summer together training and enjoying stolen moments but because Atlantis is keeping closer watch, they had to part and she returned to school early. With the new term starting, things should go back to the way they were but a trip to a friend's house by the sea changes everything when Titus sees something shocking. Could he have been wrong about his mother's prophecy?

Iolanthe and Titus have to figure out a new way forward. Are the prophecies to be obeyed to the letter? Titus has lived his life by them, arranging things to make them happen just as they appear in his mother's diary. Now Iolanthe doesn't know what to do. She is frustrated by Titus and still wants to help but she can't help feeling angry and betrayed. She loves him but their relationship has to weather this change.

It isn't often that a sequel is as good as the first book but I think The Perilous Sea may even be better than The Burning Sky. The world building is expanded upon and the characters continue to grow but the shocking twists are what keep the pages turning. In between each chapter is a chapter set in the future told from the perspective of a young man and young woman in the Sahara desert who wake up without their memories. It's obvious who they are to the reader but the characters' immediate danger and trying to figure out how they got there adds to the suspense and pacing of the story.

The secondary characters became more prominent as more was revealed about them. We also get to discover important information about the Bane which increases the stakes for the final novel. In the first book Wintervale was something of a bumbling but lovable fool but he is given more importance this time around and we find out about his backstory. I also loved learning more about Kashkari as he was my favorite of the students at Eton. The school scenes continued to be fun with cricket games and shenanigans mixing in with the mage world but the story was definitely darker. Iolanthe/Fairfax has developed some strong friendships at the school and it is sad for her as she faces leaving them soon. 

The series touches on the concept of fate and if something is seen in a prophetic vision or dream does that mean it will happen? How do you interpret what is seen? The characters struggle with this and the idea of taking action based on what is prophesied versus just letting things unfold or even forging your own path. Both Iolanthe and Titus face this crisis moment where they have to decide how they are going to proceed.

The worldbuilding continued to be excellent as new settings, characters and threats were introduced. What I like about this series is that I never felt overwhelmed by the fantasy elements. Everything just seems to flow. I also love the way the fantasy aspect is blended with the Victorian world which is more familiar. 

The novel ends with a cliffhanger that left me anxiously awaiting the final book. Overall I thought this sequel was fantastic and it really built on the events of The Burning Sky. It is an action packed story with romance, surprising twists and good character development.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss


  1. Christine, you have me curious. I have not read book one, but the fact that this was such a strong book is a good indication I will like them. Love the sound of the world!


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