Title: Threats of Sky and Sea
Author: Jennifer Ellision
Series: Threats of Sky and Sea #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Source: Review copy from the author via email
I found this an easy and enjoyable read, perfect if you like your fantasy a little light, with elemental magic and some political shenanigans. The beginning is a little slow, but it does eventually pick up and get more interesting – once the travelling is done.
Bree is an interesting character. I liked her. She’s grown up in the far north, helping her father run their tumbledown inn that just manages to scrape by on the edge of poverty. Some might not think it a great life, but Bree loves her father, loves her forest and is perfectly happy. Until everything changes, of course, because what’s a bit of fantasy without ordinary people turning out to be extraordinary and lives getting turned upside down for the hell of it?
The story is pretty straightforward and familiar, but it’s a good kind of familiarity. I liked the characters, I liked the plot and even though I knew exactly where it was going I enjoyed the ride. The magic is interesting, there’s a prospect of war, good people are opposing bad people and Bree’s father is so secretive it’s hard to know just what’s going on.
I loved Bree’s relationship with her father. Despite the lies and confusion and the way Bree feels betrayed, she still loves him and wants to get him out of jail. It’s a strong, constantly guiding factor in Bree’s life and I really liked that. Almost as much as I liked how she hung onto her humble roots, refusing to feel ashamed of the way she was raised. She was happy, it fulfilled her and there is nothing wrong with that.
Things I didn’t like so much was the lack of world-building. There are moments when you get a flash of things – the foundation myth and religion were very nice touches – but for the most part it’s all glossed over. I’d love to have known more about the magic system and the different ways the elementals work. I’d love to have known more about the country they’re in and the ones around them, a bit more about the world as a whole beyond it being cold in the north and hot in the south. I would also have liked to have seen some evidence of that family duchy. It’s gone unattended for sixteen years, surely someone would have thought Bree needed to know more about the place.
I would also have liked a bit more development on the romance side. It feels too formulaic and there only because it’s expected. They just didn’t spend enough time together, get to know each other well enough for me to be able to buy it beyond the cliché convenience. It might also have been nice if Lady Kat had been allowed a bit more of a character. She is evil. That is all. Might have been nice if she’d had a least a little grey to her. As for the king… I know absolute power corrupts absolutely, but really, no redeeming features at all? (I don’t trust Caden’s “he’s a good father” speech because we see no evidence of this.)
So it’s not perfect, and in some books the things mentioned above would have really annoyed me. I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t, possibly I found it such an easy, enjoyable read that I didn’t have too much time to ponder on what was missing, or maybe I was just in the perfect mood to read a bit of Fantasy YA. Whatever the reason, I found this a good if unexceptional read.
If you like your fantasy with an interesting and not entirely perfect heroine (though I fear Bree might be heading in that direction – please no), some flashy elemental magic and talk of kings and kingdoms rising and falling, then give this a go. It’s good, I liked it and I’ll be tracking down book two (Riot of Storm and Smoke) when I have a chance.
Threat of Sky and Sea is Out Now!
Visit Jennifer Ellision for more details.