Series: The Elemental Trilogy #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 2014
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.
Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.
A story of love, destiny and loyalty set in a magical society hidden at Eton College. Sound interesting? I loved the first book in this series, The Burning Sky, when I read it a year ago and this second instalment was even better than I hoped.
The story picks up after the summer following the events at the end of The Burning Sky. Prince Titus had returned to his kingdom with Iolanthe to spend the summer holidays, but he is watched around the clock. Iolanthe is forced to go back immediately to school at Eton, resuming her persona as one of the boys – Archer Fairfax. Once Titus is back at school, their training for their mighty destiny resumes, until Titus witnesses an event that creates a new interpretation on his mother’s prophecies.
What made this book stand out even more than the first in the series is that there are two alternating timelines here – the “present”, in which Iolanthe wakes up in the middle of a desert without any memories of who she is and how she got there, and the continuing story from seven weeks previously. Gradually more and more is revealed about her situation and the events that led up to her mysterious appearance in the desert, and it’s a brilliant plot device that really builds the tension. The slightly annoying rapid jumping between points of view is still there, but I got used to it pretty quickly once again.
Titus and Iolanthe’s relationship is a bit hot and cold in this book, for reasons that I won’t spoil, but their chemistry is great. I am especially loving the emerging theme of creating your own destiny – is fate really predetermined or are we able to shape our own?
Once again, the magic system is a little simple for my tastes and the world of the mages isn’t always described well in relation to our own non-mage world, but I do love the elements of Eton College and Windsor Castle, and I’m really growing very fond of all the boys at the school.
Often the second book in a series can be slightly disappointing after a great first book, but this one was better in just about every way. I’m really looking forward to seeing what direction the story takes next.