The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Perilous Sea is book two in The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas and I have been anxiously waiting for this book since I finished the first book. With that said, I forced myself to wait a bit longer…partially due to other commitments but the second I had the opportunity I jumped into this book and I was rewarded with a story I couldn’t put down. Now, please note that I will do my best to not give anything away and if you haven’t read book one yet, turn away. This is also my reminder to you that I tend to ramble (or at least feel like I do) when I talk about books I love…this one will be no different.
The book opens up with a girl who appears to be stuck in a sandstorm and while she recognizes she has some control over the elements, she has no idea who she is (although she has found a card in her pocket with the name A.G Fairfax on it) and why she’s in the Sahara Desert. What she does know is that she has a bag full of items, a note (that we will definitely talk about shortly), and someone is with her somewhat buried in the sand nearby.
Chapter two actually starts seven weeks earlier and takes us back into the world of Prince Titus and we get to find out what happened with Lady Callista, Titus, Haywood, and Iolanthe at the end of that book. Titus and Iolanthe had plans to spend the summer together but because of how closely Titus was being watched, he realized just how difficult it was going to be not only for him but for Iolanthe. Titus made the decision to get her out of the castle and to relative safety before things got out of hand. Now that it is the end of summer, the one thing he is looking forward to is getting back to school so he can spend time with Iolanthe and work to take down the Bane.
I will pause here to say that Thomas alternates chapters from current time (The Sahara Desert) where it appears Iolanthe and Titus don’t really know who they are or what is going on to 7 weeks earlier (the timeframe just after book one) which at first made me a bit frustrated but in the end I came around and found that I enjoyed working forward and backward at the same time. Yes, it prolonged the part of the story that got us to being stranded in the desert with these two but I really enjoyed the parts where they had no idea who they were and what they meant to each other.
Ok – so as the alternating chapters work both forward and backward, Thomas helps us see what happens when they get back to school and then ultimately what happens as they try to figure out what to do in the Sahara Desert while trying to evade Atlantis and The Bane. I loved both perspectives but I think what I enjoyed most about the current timeframe chapters was that we were able to see the relationship develop between these two characters all over again and the fact that they were still very much the same people they have always been with each other despite not really knowing that was my favorite.
We do find out that things haven’t been all puppy dogs and rainbows for these two though when they returned to school. Things happened over this time that not only brought them to the desert but made them question their roles in taking on The Bane. I do think both Iolanthe and Titus showed some growth in this book and that made me happy.
A lot happens in this book and I have to admit, whenever I go into a book two, I sometimes worry that it will be filler but please be aware, that is not the case in this book. Not only do these characters grow and become more developed, but the story progresses along nicely and things are revealed that definitely have a larger impact on the story and the characters.
I would like to pause here and flail a bit about Titus. If you had the opportunity to see any of my reading updates, you know that I absolutely love swoony Titus and he definitely comes through in this book. I’m pretty sure most of my highlights are related to his conversations with Iolanthe and the things that happen throughout the book. I will only include one of my favorite parts below…it is from a note hidden on the emergency bag Iolanthe is carrying. Titus had hidden the following on it:
The night you were born, stars fell. The day we met, lightning struck. You are my past, my present, my future. My hope, my prayer, my destiny.
I mean…this is only one example and all I have to say is:
Don’t get me wrong, when Titus and Iolanthe come across all the mushy stuff they absolutely mock whoever left her the message (not knowing it really was him) and that is part of what I love about them. Yes, they love and care about each other but they also don’t tend to take themselves too seriously. There is humor spread throughout even though they are facing some serious and challenging things.
Sherry Thomas did a fantastic job of bringing me back into this world of magic and danger and if you enjoyed book one of this series, I have a feeling that you will enjoy The Perilous Sea. The story progresses at a good pace and Thomas pulls you back and forth through the timeline without creating confusion around any of the critical moments. This book has magic, friendship, danger, action, and of course, swoons galore and if you haven’t started this series, I definitely recommend you start!
Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for the review copy.