Thank you to Patchwork Press for providing me with a galley of the book to review.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book after reading the summary. The idea of Elemental gifts is a topic that has gone through its phase of popularity, just like there was a phase of vampires, werewolves, etc., and it becomes hard to write a book that somehow stands out from all the others that preceded it. The same, I think, is the case with “Threats of Sky and Sea”, which draws attention with its beautiful title and mysterious summary but doesn’t quite manage to bear the weight of all the books preceding it exert.
As several reviews before me pointed out, Breena is a character with a backbone and is able to stand up for herself through and through. Her thought process was actually interesting to follow and made sense, and wasn’t filled with sappy thoughts the way many other heroines’ are. In this case I think the goal and premise of the book doesn’t leave much room for the latter but still, the fact that the strength of Bree’s character was consistent throughout the entire book is wonderful to see.
The issue, though, comes with the plot itself, and after slightly more than halfway through my reading grew far less attentive and engaged than it was. I wanted to get through the book and find out what happened next, yes, but the kind of disengagement I felt with the writing isn’t a good sign. The Elemental names weren’t difficult to grasp, although I think it would’ve made it easier if they were repeated a few more times near the beginning of the story in order for them to better stay in the memory. The concept didn’t grow on me that much. The idea of wielders of the elements is one I’m familiar with (I’m thinking of the “Immortal” series by Gillian Shields off the top of my head right now), and while the ability to do such things is impressive the fact that it was already written about makes the idea far less impressive and momentous. I guess I was hoping for a new twist somewhere later on in the story. The “plot twists” that were sprinkled in the latter part of the book and the final one which was dropped practically at the very end also didn’t have much impact; they were foreseeable and it was reassuring to know that I saw it coming.
It’s a book that I enjoyed, nonetheless. I don’t expect it to be the next wonder in literature, to be honest, but I do believe this book will find its target audience. As I said before Breena’s character will draw attention to itself even if the rest of the cast doesn’t stand out as much and might, at times, just blend into one jumbled group. Those who enjoy reading first person narrative with a lot of the speaker’s inner thoughts and feelings will also be happy with this book. It was, in general, a nice, light read that I think simply dragged on a bit too long for me. But it was a good summer read to enjoy while sitting on a park bench or on the balcony, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for something that’s light, with a strong heroine, and is a mix of magic and adventure which isn’t overwhelming and doesn’t beg for high expectations.