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Book Review + Author Interview: Threats of Sky and Sea

Title: Threats of Sky and Sea
Author: Jennifer Ellision
Publisher: Createspace
Published: May 20, 2014
Reviewer: Lyanna
Rating: 4 stars


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.

Threats of Sea and Sky stole my heart like a thief in the night. 

I like my protagonists strong-willed, I like them feisty, I like them rebellious, I like them kind-hearted and most importantly, I like them smart.

Breena is all those things, if not more. She knows exactly when enough is enough. She can handle pressure without breaking, she can be rebellious without becoming reckless. She understands the weight of her actions and she knows how to set her priorities straight.

Ellision is an astounding writer, she can paint a vivd image without overwhelming the reader. Although there were certain over-detailed scenes, thankfully they did not subdue the better ones. 

Sadly, I expected more from the plot. We spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out which elemental Breena was and that was fatal to the story itself. We weren't able to glean much from her father and their relationship was one of the brightest highlights of this book for me. Her visits were rarely described in detail anymore, Jennifer Ellision could've used their time together to pitch in hints for the ending to make its plot-wist a little less strained once introduced, because it totally came out of the blue, (though I was pleasantly surprised to be blind-sided).

That aside, the romance was stiff. Breena and Caden never truly spent time together aside form their clandestine meetings but I hardly consider that romantic. Breena developed feelings out of nothing, aside from probably gratitude but disregarding that, I don't see what Caden has done to get Breena to feel the way she did for him. Although I, myself, would hardly be immune to his charm.

The biggest disappointment was Tregle and Aleta. I kept on anticipating a reaction or emotion from Aleta that she reciprocates Tregle's feelings (aside form that one time) but she never did. Next to Breena and her father's relationship, this comes a close second to the list of things I looked forward to while reading this book, I only hope that the following installment compensates for the aspects lacking in this one.

Regardless of all that, this book is easily one of my best reads in 2014!

Threats of Sea and Sky is a strong debut for a promising series that I (and you) should watch out for.

I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Ellision was born and raised in South Florida and lives in perpetual fear of temperatures below 60F. She spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn't find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She has an OTP, loves character analysis, and is a master of the fangirl flail, with a particular soft spot for fanfiction. She frequently bursts into song (and they are often of a Disney persuasion). Sailor Moon is one of her favorite things on this planet.

Threats of Sky and Sea is her first novel.

She also blogs at The Bevy Bibliotheque, where she talks about books, TV, movies, and other things that she goes fangirl over. For review requests or blog inquiries, please visit http://www.thebevybibliotheque.net to contact the blogger who best suits your request.

Contact Jennifer: website / twitter / facebook / newsletter

We, at BookBeasties, are so happy to be able to interview Ms. Jennifer Ellision the author of Threats of Sky and Sea, here are her answers:

If you could pick an Elemental power(s), which would you choose?

Oh, I’d be a Water Thrower FOR SURE! When I have a spare minute, I love to laze around in the pool or in the ocean. I could spend hours in the water, which is a very Thrower sort of sentiment.

If you were to pick between Caden and Tregle, who would you bring into the real world?

CADEN. Not saying that Tregle isn’t handsome or saying that doesn’t have his merits, but I’ve always been a sucker for a do-gooder prince like Caden.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer or did it just develop overtime?

I didn’t always know, no. But I had an inkling for a long time that my future career path would involve the written word in some way. From age 7 to around middle school, I thought I’d be an editor (basically I really liked reading and spelling). In high school, I was all about yearbook and thought that I’d be a magazine editor or journalist, but I also wrote a lot of fanfiction. In college, I realize I greatly preferred writing fiction to writing non-fiction and I changed my major to Creative Writing. The rest is history.

There was also a brief period from grades 7-9 where I was convinced I’d be a pop star. But that’s neither here nor there…

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters' names? (Were they inspired by real people? Did they come from other characters too? Were they something you picked up from a list of baby names? Did you dream about them?)

Most of the characters were initially written with placeholder names, but Bree’s name came to me immediately when I imagined the scene that inspired Threats of Sky and Sea, and her full name (Breena) wound up working remarkably well when I discovered it.

Other than that, I trolled baby name websites with different meanings that I liked for the different characters. I made up a few names by mashing words together and I also found this fantastic tool that allowed me to type in a few names that I liked and it offered similar names.

What scene did you enjoy writing the most?

Chapter 35. So very much of Chapter 35.

Do you have any routines before, during or after writing to get the creative juices running? (e.g. Drinking coffee or tea, running laps around your house, grooming the dog, taking a bath in mayonnaise)

I don’t have many routines! I almost always choose to have a diet caffeinated soda while I write though. I use Write or Die sometimes, but most of the time, everything else depends on what sort of head space I’m in. Sometimes, I like to have the T.V. on in the background, but sometimes I need quiet. Sometimes, I need to write at a desk, sometimes I need to be in bed with my laptop.

If you could, by any chance, be any character in your book, which character would you be and what would you do?

Oooo, that is pretty tough, because my characters don’t exactly have it easy and I’m not sure I’d want to be in their shoes. If I had to choose though, I’d probably be Princess Aleta, despite her having the most difficult childhood of any of my characters. She has this core to her that’s so strong. Plus she wears some awesome dresses.

Do you read your books after they're published?

Nope! At least… I’d prefer not to. I think there’s too much temptation to wish I’d done something differently. But while writing Riot of Storm and Smoke (Book #2 in the TOSAS series), I do occasionally have to look up some fact like a character’s eye color to make sure that I keep my details consistent.

What can you tell us about the next book in the series (Riot of Storm and Smoke)?

Well a lot of it is Bree dealing with the revelations unearthed in Threats of Sky and Sea. You’ll see the world of Egria and my protagonists’ resistance expanded, a few new characters, and Riot of Storm and Smoke also features a dual POV, which is turning out to be a lot of fun for me so far.

If you could give one piece of advice to every living person on earth, what would it be

Hmmm, drink lots of water? No, in all seriousness, I’d tell them to choose kindness. The world could use more of it.

Huge thank you to Ms. Jennifer for lending us some of her time to conduct this interview, we'll forever be grateful! Lots of love from the BookBeasties family!

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