Monday, September 18, 2017

Review - Threats of Sky and Sea

Original Title: Threats of Sky and Sea
Series: Threats of Sky and Sea, #1
Author: Jennifer Ellision
Published: May 16th, 2014

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

What a pleasant surprise! I was looking forward to a good fantasy novel, and this one came out from my to-read jar. At first, I hesitated, but I decided to give it a shot, and, although this book was fantastic, it wasn’t perfect. However, it has a lot of potential in the world it features, and I will for sure read the rest of the saga. 

I love Elemental powers, even when they are somewhat overused in fantasy, and I’m pretty sure that, in any world I could live in where people could wield such powers, mine would definitely be water. In Egria, Torchers (fire) are the majority, although there’s some Riders (air) and Shakers (earth), but no Throwers (water), and everything around this people made me so curious! I want to know more about them, and why some things happen, like, how can anyone wield more than one, like Katerine? Is there someone able to control the four elements? Some deepening on those topics would be great, and I definitely want to know more about the Shakers, that barely appear in this book, and may be the most powerful of them all, as the Earth is at their command. 

I really liked the main character, Breena Rose Perdit. Even when a sixteen-year-old barmaid from a tiny village –in a forgotten corner of the realm–, embarking on an unexpected adventure, feels kind of trait, that didn’t deter me, as she is a very witty narrator. She has this frank attitude and curt responses, and from the first moment she makes it clear that she’s not to be toyed with. She has her own will and brain, she’s smart, and knows how to act sensibly, ready to defend the innocent and do what’s right. I loved that she doesn’t need anyone to make her decisions for her, nor she seeks other people’s validation before following her head or her heart. She’s throughout a great heroine, and I want to read more about her, especially after everything there’s still to uncover about her life and her family, that was left in suspense. As for the two big reveals around her, they are somewhat guessable; if you pay attention, you can totally see them coming, e.g., as she watches de ocean:

It crashes, roaring mightily and lashing its frothy waves against the cliffs. […] It wants me.” (Chapter 16).

This told me right away she was a Thrower, and when she was revealed to be the true princess of Nereidium, I, honestly, wasn’t entirely surprised, because it’s easy to get to that conclusion, especially with the hints about her family not being the one she thought it was, and her father’s lies. By the way, I liked her bond with him, their closeness, but their conversations, as he was imprisoned, made me lose patience, as he didn’t say anything useful. I understand that he did that in case Katerine was listening, but there was a point in which the mystery grew and grew and no one revealed anything, but kept dancing around the topic. And even with that, Bree’s father died before I could know more, and I really wanted to. I hope we get a deepening in his past, about how he managed to sneak Bree from the king’s grasp and raise her as his own daughter. It’s an interesting plot point, and I hope it gets further development.

Overall, I wish there was some more action, in the entire novel. There’s a bit too much explaining the everyday life in the castle, and Elementals, but not as much action as I would have liked. Some things take forever, like Breena and her father being taken as prisoners to the palace, as they walked for days, and spent one chapter after another on the road. In general, the characters are a bit two-dimensional, but I do hope for a deepening in their stories and motivations, especially with the bad guys. The king is a great, hateable villain, and it’s definitely well written, as he has no qualms on putting one or many lives on the line just to get what he wants. And Kat also made a great villain, but I would have loved to know more about her, and I didn’t want her dead (if she is, in fact, dead), because she had a lot of potential, and I’m really interested in her past at the Egrian king’s service. Even if she’s not around, I hope to know at least a little bit more, as she is the only one, so far, able to wield two Elements at the same time (air and fire). That raises some questions, don’t you think?

As for the other characters, I really liked Aleta. I wasn’t expecting her to be a Torcher (a Thrower, in any case), but it was a great twist. I loved her attitude, her defiance, in despite of her situation, and this was my favorite line,

They think I am glass,” […] “But I am not. I am not delicate. I am stone. If they want to break me, they will have a hard time of it. I am unbreakable.

She’s strong, and has the temper to be a queen. True, her legacy is a lie, but that just made me more interested in her story, because now I want to know who her parents are, if they are alive, if she’s ever going to find them, how she will react when she finds out Nereidium isn’t hers… I can’t wait to know. Honestly, I thought she and Bree would never be friends, that there would always be some rivalry between them, but I thank the author for saving us the trouble of reading a cat fight. I was glad to see how they managed to forge a bond, and be friends in despite of everything going on around them, with everyone pushing and pulling them in every possible direction, and trying to take control of their lives. It is great that they are both strong, independent women, capable of making their own decisions, and fighting their own battles, ready to take the reins of their lives no matter what. That’s a heroine for me.

Finally, we get to the love story, and once again, we face a poorly developed relationship in which the characters fall in love for absolutely no reason. I don’t deny that Prince Caden is a sweet, brave man, and overall an interesting character, but he and Bree didn’t have enough encounters and conversations for me to see their connection, their reason to fall for each other and be together. I need more to be able to root for them, to eagerly wait for that first kiss that shouldn’t happen, but will spark the fire… But it didn’t happen. Some lingering looks and brief conversations, meant to be intense, aren’t enough. I really hope to see more development between them, and find out the reason why they like each other, because, honestly, I couldn’t see why they should be together. Moreover, judging by the first part of the book, I honestly thought she would eventually fall in love with Tregle, as it makes so much more sense: he’s an Elemental like her, they are both prisoners in the castle, in one way or another they have to obey every order they receive, putting their powers at the service of the king, they are both in training around their element… It’s a lot more logical, if you ask me. But that’s just my opinion.

Oh, and I liked the names borrowed from Greek mythology, scattered here and there, mixed with regular names, it was a nice touch. I specially noticed the name Aleta for a princess from Nereidium. For those who don’t know, “aleta” is the Spanish word for “fin”, and she comes from a realm named entirely after the Greek water nymphs. Well played, Jennifer Ellision. 

So, long story short, I really liked this book, even with all those things I mentioned, and I will definitely read the next books in the saga, as they seem so promising, and Bree is a very funny, engaging narrator. I love to find new authors and get to know the ideas they turned into novels, and I really hope this saga gets better with each book!


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