#SPFBO 2018 | Threats of Sky and Sea – Jennifer Ellision

About the Book

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.

360 pages
Published on May 20, 2014
Author’s webpage
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This book is part of the SPFBO.

This is another book where I just really love the cover. It really seems like I have some incredibly good cover art in my batch of SPFBO books this year, but this one has an elegance to it, and a color scheme that just works for me. So, bravo on that front.

Threats of Sky and Sea is a young adult book, featuring a sixteen-year-old protagonist. On a random aside, I do think that this year I’ve got more young adult books than I’ve ever had in any other year. I will admit, I think that’s kind of awesome. I enjoy seeing the SPFBO branching out, getting more entries and more of an audience in more subgenres.

Now, back to my review. This book features a sixteen-year-old protagonist who lives a rather sheltered, innocent life as a barmaid. Breena is a character that I honestly didn’t expect to like. She’s kind of the hopeful, delightful, beautiful character that tends to instantly fall into the “annoying character” slot on my radar. However, Breena really worked for me. I mean, there were times when she felt a little immature, maybe a touch underdeveloped, but she fits perfectly into the world that Ellison has crafted, and that effortless fit made her utterly believable.

That’s not to say that there aren’t clichés here. This is sort of a tropey story in the fact that it’s sort of playing on the “chosen one” ideal, and the “mysterious past” thing, but I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it a thousand more. Tropes are tropes for reasons. Tropes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the author takes a trope and makes it their own, completely owns it, then I’m all about that.

The book isn’t perfect. Sometimes it did feel a bit too predictable, a bit too paint-by-numbers, but there was enough unique here that it just worked for me. This was the kind of book I could just sit down and enjoy with very little effort on my part. Sometimes it’s nice to read those sorts of books, and the fantastic writing really helped.

I enjoyed the magic system quite a bit, but I will admit that I find myself rather enamored in elemental-based magic systems. There’s nobility here, a young woman entering a noble court at a young age, a love interest, and all that stuff. The mystery of Breena’s father, his past, and how it sort of hangs over everything she is and everything she’s doing was very well done.

There isn’t much in this book that I didn’t see coming, but I enjoyed it despite that. I loved how Breena evolved, how the world was crafted, how the magic system developed and all the intricacies involved in that. Breena being uprooted, entering a different social world, and then having to navigate those waters while she learns the truth of who she is was likewise well done.

Threats of Sky and Sea isn’t perfect. It feels kind of cookie-cutter, it’s pretty predictable, but I really sank into this one and devoured it. The thing is, there are some books that you can enjoy just because you want to sit back and enjoy something. Sometimes your brain just needs a break, and you want a story to unfold for you, entertain you, and dazzle you. This book did just that. If you’re a fan of young adult books and you haven’t read this one yet, you’re missing out.


4/5 stars


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