The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
|Book Name:||The Perilous Sea|
|Publisher(s):||Balzer + Bray / Harperteen|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||September 16, 2014|
I think I have a love/hate relationship with this series.
The story itself is riveting—if you can get past the telling of it. The characters grow on you so much so that you cannot bear to be done with them no matter how frustrating the book becomes. Like I mentioned before in my review of the first book, The Burning Sky, the author is a historical romance writer. This series is her first attempt at both YA and fantasy, a daunting task to tackle two completely unfamiliar genres at once, in my opinion.
Let’s start with the fantasy aspect. You have your wands, potions, flying carpets, and wyverns. There is “vaulting,” which is similar to teleportation, with limits on distance per day, skill of the mage, and knowledge of the destination. The mage world is mostly hidden from nonmages. The Domain is currently waiting for its heir, Titus, to come of age. It is upholding a peaceful front with the Great Realm of the New Atlantis ruled by the Bane, a seemingly immortal man capable of resurrection each time he is killed. Nothing too remarkable here.
Titus has spent his entire life up to this point making sure that the visions from his mother, a very powerful seer, are fulfilled. After all, the Bane’s destruction has been foreseen, and Titus himself plays a pivotal role. When he discovers that Iolanthe is to be his partner in this venture, he does everything in his power to protect and train her to be ready for the task, even though they rather disliked one another at the start. Long story short, they get over their prejudices and slowly fall in love.
Here, I expected more from a longtime romance author. I just did not “feel the love” when they finally professed their true sentiments. Camaraderie turned friendship—that was nicely done. Witty dialogue and humorous banter without the teenage angst was something I appreciated as well. So, when Titus realizes that perhaps his mother’s visions were not interpreted as accurately as he had presumed, his future with Iolanthe becomes uncertain. If she is not to be his partner in the most important role of his life, can they – should they – still be together? Hmmm…let’s think about that.
I love that Iolanthe is a girl who has her own mind. She also does not possess the vacillating emotions of the average teenager. She manages to sound calm, intelligent, and clever. Quite unexpected from YA. I usually allow for the occasional emotional outburst generated from unsteady hormones. I get none of that here, which is a nice change.
Now for the storytelling… There were thirty-three chapters, each chapter alternated between the present time and seven weeks earlier. We only get a short glimpse of what is happening or what has happened before we shift again. This annoyed me to no end. When I become oriented to the current time and events taking place and remember what had happened last I was there, I get yanked back out to start over again.
The whiplash causes me to doubt myself and keep double-checking the time frame. For example, one minute I am reading about the dismissal of the option of a flying carpet as the mode of transportation only to read further down the page that they are careening at 120 mph on one. But wait. We are still in the same chapter, so the time frame hasn’t changed yet. They are simply in one of the stories of the magic book that they use for travel and training. Bumpy transitions like this happen far too often.
At three-quarters of the way through, I get it. I finally understand most of the big picture. There is enough reveal in each of the final chapters that allow me to piece together the time line. Was the journey worth it? Hard to say. I do applaud the author for creating characters that made me form such an attachment to them that wouldn’t allow me to let them go (darn you, Ms. Thomas!). Between the whiplash and the ever-present endnotes, I am on the fence about the third installment. Maybe once I put some more time behind me (see what I did there? :p ), I can bring myself to finish the journey.