Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: The Perilous Sea

THE PERILOUS SEA
The Elemental Trilogy #2
Sherry Thomas
Young Adult/Fantasy
414 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available Now
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
The Perilous Sea is a story that both embraces and eschews familiar middle book elements, taking us on an epic journey with Iolanthe and Titus but at the same time leaving us standing on the precipice of something much larger, looking back and wondering what exactly happened to get us to this point. As with The Burning Sky, we start this second installment on slightly rocky footing given there is very little recap of the significant names and events of book one, and we also find our story divided into two separate timelines: One at present with Titus and Iolanthe reuniting at Eton, and one seven weeks into the future where an amnesiac version of both our protagonists await us. As a result, the opening chapters and a fair bit beyond are rather chaotic as we struggle to remember The Burning Sky as well as orient ourselves within the split narrative.

The present-day chapters are the ones that feel most familiar, the setting of the all-boys school beckoning us into the story with all the comforts of a reality we recognize just as it did in the first book, allowing us to pair back up with Titus and Iolanthe as they figure out their next steps toward defeating the Bane. The Sahara Desert chapters however, while providing fun moments full of banter and humor given Titus and Iolanthe don't remember one another, seem to serve very little purpose in terms of the overall story arc. Their time in the desert is entirely spent running from the agents of Atlantis, allowing the magical aspects of this fantasy story their time in the spotlight but ultimately leading us to question whether or not this detour of flight and sand is actually moving the plot forward.

Aside from feeling like a middle book in terms of building us up only to leave us on the last page at the moment we've been waiting for the entire time, The Perilous Sea also sees the dissolution of Titus and Iolanthe as a couple when Titus begins to delve deeper into his mother's prophetic visions. Though we initially can't help but let a sigh of frustration escape at the well-used plot device, Ms. Thomas wins us back over with the strength of her characters, as neither Titus nor Iolanthe are individuals prone to dramatics. They both bear their separate but shared pain stoically, not taking it out on the other person as is so often the case, and thankfully not turning to someone else to comfort them in their time of need. Though things are up in the air in terms of the romance for much of the book, there's no introduction of a new love interest, and our two protagonists remain pillars of support for each other to lean on as well as sounding boards off which to bounce ideas and theories.

Overall, The Perilous Sea meanders a bit, sending us out into the desert for half the book when nearly all the important revelations about the Bane's plans take place in the present-day chapters, leaving us to wish for a slightly different format for this second installment. That being said however, the characterization is as strong as ever and the pieces of the Bane puzzle that finally lock into place in the concluding chapters have us ready to usher 2015 in immediately just so we'll be that much closer to the release of book three.

Rating: 3.5/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

31 comments:

  1. it sound like a great book, I just got the first book :)

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    1. I hope you love it! The Burning Sky was a favorite of mine last year:)

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  2. I remember book 1! This one sounds good too but I haven't read any. I should! great review!

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    1. I'm a fan of this series, even if the split timeline here was tricky for me:)

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  3. The Perlious Sea sounds like it meandered a bit, but it's wonderful that the characters remained strong and true, and no new love interest was inserted to add drama. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part Jenny! :-)

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    1. I just really struggle whenever there's a past/present split. Flashbacks are sometimes okay, but whenever time alternates from one chapter to the next I get pulled out of the story a touch because I almost always prefer one timeline over the other.

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  4. I still haven't started this series Jenny but so many people have recommended it to me so I've been debating giving it a shot! I love how strong the characters seem and that this one doesn't suffer from a love triangle...THANK GOD!

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    1. YAY NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!! I was so grateful for that:)

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  5. Hmm. Sahara desert chapters in a book called The Perilous Sea? (It probably makes sense for the story, sort of, but man. I like the irony. And the cover.)

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    1. Heh. There was something to do with water in this one, but I read it so long ago that I can't remember what it was:)

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  6. I actually really loved this one, but I can understand where you are coming from. I really liked the Sahara desert chapters mostly because I loved watching them fall for each other all over again and the banter was adorable. I agree about the romance. I was a little frustrated at first, but these characters are so well-written! It's hard not to love them and forgive them! :)
    Beautiful review, Jenny!

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    1. I really loved their banter in those chapters too Nick! I guess I just didn't fully understand the point of those chapters other than for us to fall in love with the characters again. The plot didn't seem to move forward at all when we were in the desert.

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  7. I'm glad I decided to wait next year to pick up this series. I don't think I can handle cliffies anymore especially when the third book will be out before we know it.

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    1. There's a lot to remember in this world too Rummanah, so this is definitely a good series to read altogether:)

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  8. I just got the first book!! I've heard this second one was written with alternating timeline but I'm still excited to read it :D

    Eileen @ BookCatPin

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think Eileen!

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  9. I did struggle to remember things and I've realized that even though it wasn't long ago that I read this I've already forgot a lot. So that's not a good sign. I didn't mind the split narratives and it actually made me more and more curious about what was happening. I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this at least. It's one series that might be easier to follow if we read them closer together.

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    1. I was lost early on for sure. I remembered a few details but not all of them, so it took me a while to settle in. I so love these characters though, and I can't wait to see what happens in book 3:)

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  10. I'm glad to hear that you loved this one even if it meandered a bit here and there! I cannot wait to start this series!

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    1. I think you'll be a fan of these books Pili:)

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  11. Hmm I have both of the books in this series for review and I haven't gotten to them. Now I think I am going to wait for the finale and decide. I know the first book was most impressive, but now that this one is suffering from middle book syndrome, I am not as excited. Thanks for the helpful review.

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    1. I know I'm in the minority with this one Heidi, and it's mostly due to the split timelines. They just don't work for me for some reason:(

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  12. I think I'll wait for the third book. I think I'd be a bit disappointed with this one but perhaps not as much with the third on hand. I'm hoping that the meandering into the desert actually ends up having a point.

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    1. I definitely liked the character interaction in the desert chapters, but I'd hoped once the timelines met up in the end that I'd understand why we spent that time and what happened to cause their amnesia, and when I did find out those things they seemed almost irrelevant to the overall series arc.

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  13. Sounds like this suffered a but from middle book syndrome but nothing too terrible.
    Wonderful and well written review Jenny!

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    1. I do love these characters Ali, and Sherry tells a fantastic story:)

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  14. A bit of book 2 syndrome then, that's life

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    1. Yep! Not too terrible though, and luckily my number one middle book pet peeve - the introduction of a new love interest to cause problems for the main couple - didn't happen:)

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  15. Sorry that this book has aspects of middle book syndrome Jenny, that's always annoying when that happens. But I'm glad that Thomas was able to lure you back in and leave you wanting more from the next book. I purchased the first book in this series recently, so can't wait to get started!

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    1. I was a touch let down that this one didn't suck me in the same way The Burning Sky did, but still a really solid read overall:)

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  16. Awesome review Jenny! For me, I really enjoyed this story far more than the first book. I'm excited to see how it will all end.

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