By Jennifer Ellision
Publication Date: May 20th, 2014
Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.
Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.
But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.
Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.
Every once in a while, you read a book that is totally predictable. However, said book is such a wonderfully amazing take on typical predictable plot choices, with amazing settings and characters and writing, that the fact that you know how it is going to end doesn’t even matter. This is because everything that happens in between the introduction and the big reveal is just too awesome and makes a plot that sounds predictable anything but. This is what Threats of Sky and Sea does, and now Jennifer Ellision is on my permanent to-buy list. You can hear more about this permanent to-buy list later. For now, I’ll tell you why you need to read this book: when a book opens itself up to tropes but doesn’t fall into them, you must read that book.
It would have been easy to develop a world that was identical to nearly every other book in which characters have power over different elements, and on its surface, with individual characters controlling fire, earth, air, or water, the world seems to be like many others. However, the book explores not only Bree’s pursuit of her own power, but also introduces characters with their own philosophies as to how the power is activated, where it stems from, and even how one’s family’s geographic history can influence the powers developed by an individual. I was also impressed by the minutiae that Jennifer added to her world. Her creation of a religion, while not extraordinarily unique, was well developed and fleshed out. It had its own creation story, religious text, deities, and practices.
I also immensely enjoyed the court maneuverings and power plays that went on throughout the book. The villains were well known, powerful, and fully exercised that fact. Lady Kat gave off an air of joyful cruelty with an underlying sense of immaturity and a constant desire for approval. This could have been a detriment to her character, and could have greatly depreciated her value as a villain, but Jennifer paints Lady Kat’s character as slightly unhinged, meaning her immaturity only makes her that much more dangerous and unpredictable. The King exercised his power in a way that every conversations felt as if it teetered on a knife’s edge between what was a pleasant interaction on the surface and a possibly dangerous and bloody outcome underneath. Our heroine and her allies made their own power plays which were subtle and clever, such as Aleta’s, the captured princess of Egria, choice to wear a certain color flower from a very specific place to her Bonding banquet.
The book takes place over several weeks to months, and it made the relationships that evolved during that time feel all the more natural. Aleta and Bree do not become fast friends, instead their relationship at the beginning of the book is highly volatile. It does evolve however into mutual respect and then friendship over time and I greatly appreciated that the “mean girl” character trope was counteracted by building on Aleta’s character. As for Bree’s romantic relationship with Prince Caden, it too evolved overtime, quietly and in the background as it was suppose to be, with both characters focusing on the bigger picture of what they were trying to accomplish rather than trying to be together against all odds. When it came down to it, Bree didn’t sacrifice self preservation for Caden which was so refreshing, because she realized that she needed to get the hell out of a certain situation and she did regardless of whether or not Caden came along too or if she would even ever see him again.
Threats of Sky and Sea is all that and a bag of zucchinis, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. It navigated treacherous trope potholes like a boss and I couldn’t have appreciated it more. It left me waiting, holding my breath, for the next book and August can not come fast enough. Also, these titles? Threats of Sky and Sea? Riot of Storm and Smoke? Fall of Thrones and Thorns? They match just how compulsively readable this first book was. More, please.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.