Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Release date: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Series: Yes, #2 in the Elemental Trilogy
Length: 414 pages
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss

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.

THIS BOOK. THIS BOOOOOK. The Perilous Sea has earned a spot among fabulous fantasy follow-ups Crown of Midnight, Siege and Storm, and The Crown of Embers as sequels that are SO DAMN GOOD that they throw an entire series into a whole new light. I really loved the Burning Sky and shipped the ship like... well, burning. But The Perilous Sea is a MASTERPIECE. It is an agonizing, heart-exploding roller coaster ride of loops and twists and ratcheting tension, and when it all builds to a crescendo at the very end, the results are breathtaking.

TPS picks up the summer after the events of TBS, with Iolanthe--still disguised as a boy and as charming as ever--and Titus--still supah fine--reunited and making my heart soar with shippy goodness. MORE ABOUT THE SHIPPY GOODNESS LATER. Iolanthe--greatest elemental mage of her generation--is still disguised as a boy, hiding from the eeeeevil Atlantis at premier British college, Eton. She and Titus, the boy who has both her and my hearts, are still training and preparing to kill the Bane--evil wicked Antlantean leader--once and for all and free the world from Atlantis' control. They are secure in their feelings for each other and in the strength of their mission. FOR NOWWWWW.

Did you read that synopsis? Notice the part about that "shocking discovery"? IT IS SO SHOCKING. It changes EVERYTHING, and I love when authors have the ovaries to throw a wrench into this whole business and made every character reconsider their entire lives. Thomas is not afraid to take what we thought was given and toss it on its head. I love when books that so clearly focus on fate and destiny and prophecy make you question. And Prince Titus (aka Prince Tight-ass) (don't worry, I still love him) and Iolanthe both react perfectly in character--and you see perfectly just how different their characters truly are.

It's pain. Real pain. This book hurt my heart, and it was so good. My shiiiiiiip.

This book follows two main storylines: Titus and Iolanthe in nineteenth century Britain, masquerading and genderbending as cricket-playing, Greek-studying schoolboys, and a boy and a girl stranded in the Sahara without their memories, trying to evade the people chasing after them. (Which means you get to watch this ship set sail TWICE, AND IT IS GLORIOUS IN EVERY WAY). So much mystery! How do they end up in the Sahara sans memories? What happens in England? WHAT HAPPENS OMG I MUST KNOWWWW!

If you ever get confused, I urge you to stick with it. Sometimes the worldbuilding in this series eludes me a bit, but you know what? I don't even care. I will follow Titus and Iolanthe--with memories or without, snogging or fighting, magicking or cricketing--the ends of the earth. I will follow them on flying wyverns and through maelstroms, and I will be there to shriek at every damn plot twist like a banshee.

BECAUSE HOLY PLOT TWIST, BATMAN. I don't know how Thomas does it, but she shifts EVEYTHING AROUND. REVEAL HERE! REVEAL THERE! EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS A LIE! EVERYTHING JUST BECAME FIFTY THOUSAND TIMES MORE AWESOMETERRIBLEINTERESTINGCRAZY! There was a point where I was physically incapable of putting my Kindle down. Seriously. I was walking around my apartment, bumping into walls, rootling around my fridge one-handed because I didn't want to tear my eyes from the page. I had a million theories buzzing in my head, and none of them were right. And when the awful, terribly, heartbreaking, SOUL-SHREDDING TRUTH came to light, I lost my mind. It was both sudden and slow, and I felt dread creep through me as I put those puzzle pieces together and hold me. Hold meeeee.

This book is amazing. Straight up. I don't even care that I don't understand all the world-buidling. The plot, the twists, the characters, the ship--they are everything I could ever want. There is banter and flirting of the finest order, and kisses, and magic battles, and sass, and I JUST. I JUST. Remember when they have that dirty innuendo-filled conversation about a "charm" he wants her to touch? Honestly. Titus and Iolanthe are just flawless.

"You might be the scariest girl I have ever met," he told her.
"Let's not be dramatic," she said drily. "I'm the only girl you can remember ever meeting."

I will ship them until the end of the world.

"Well," he said, "you do look very nice..."
Her eyelashes fluttered.
" shriveled."
Her lips curved. "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?" 

And then it leaves off and you just want to charge into battle and avenge the fallen good and smite the evil-doers and *collapses*

Quotey goodness:

Without her destiny, Eton was just a place with lavatories she could not use.

He spoke with such care, as if she were infinitely fragile and one wrong syllable could shatter her. But she was not fragile--she was a wielder of lightning and flames. Someday your strength will overturn the world as we know it, he had once said.

"Fortune favors the brave."
Another moment of utter silence. And then, Iolanthe found herself shouting at the top of her lungs, her voice nearly drowned by the bellow of all the SPOILERS present, "And the brave make their own fortune!"

I am so overcome with emotion that I'm just crysmiling because I'm so happysad and this book is so evilbrilliant.


  1. Sweet fancy moses, comparing it to Crown of Midnight, Siege and Storm, AND Crown of Embers?!?! Two books of which sold me on their respective series?! I loved The Burning Sky and your review makes me want to abandon work and race home to grab my copy of The Perilous Sea. Although paaaaain, I do not like! (But I do... BUT IT'S HORRIBLE). And omg no memories?!?! I haaate when characters don't know things (I know that sounds vague) but you, the reader, know things! This sounds trying. Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't understand all the world-building... is this an alternate history? Or a historical Harry Potter with the fantasy realms hidden from Muggles (my personal theory)? And is Atlantis Atlantis like we think of it? (I'm guessing not...) (P.S. I want more kissing zomg. I hope there's at least a teeny bit.)

    Anyway your screechy CAPS-LOCKY reviews are my favorite sorts :D

  2. I haven't read book one yet, but it's now been bumped up on my TBR list. The two of them sound like great fun to ship.

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books


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