{Review} RIOT OF STORM AND SMOKE by Jennifer Ellision

Didn't read the first book, THREATS OF SKY AND SEA? 
Check out my review of that book instead!

Check out last week's interview with Jennifer Ellision!

Be sure to also visit Jen's guest post
on the Top Ten Things to Know About Elementals and the Elements from last year's tour stop!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

***If you haven't read book one, this opening hook has spoilers!!!***
  WE LEAVE THE BODY in the tunnel, and I try not to imagine my father lying there, alone and rotting away.
  My hands skim the rough stone walls of the tunnel, and I dodge worried glances from Aleta and Tregle, flinching away from the flickering flames in their hands. Both of them Fire Torchers, they light our way through dust and dirt. I don't go too near them. I can't--not right now. The memory of fire consuming the room around me while trapped inside with a madwoman who wanted me dead is too fresh.
  The air is thick as we descend beneath the castle. We're quiet, partly to avoid detection by the guards, who are surely still tearing the halls apart in their quest to find us. Our footsteps echo softly in the dark, scritch-scratching along the smooth stone ground. I'm silent for a different reason: I don't trust that when my mouth opens, a sob won't escape. Dragging myself away from Da--leaving him behind like yesterday's trash, the knife wound in his chest caked with dried blood--it's the most difficult thing I've ever done. My eyes sting with the salt left behind by tears, but I force my mouth to settle into an emotionless line.
(page 6, US ebook edition)

If you love books brimming with elemental magic and kingdoms in distress, you're going to love the Threats of  Sky and Sea trilogy by Jennifer Ellision. If you have yet to read the first book, check out my review of THREATS OF SKY AND SEA instead, because the following review will have Book 1 spoilers. Sorry! But...you've been warned!

Breena has come far from her childhood of believing she was ordinary. She's now the sole Thrower in the Egrian Kingdom, and the King wants to use her to take over the Kingdom of Nereidium once and for all. Her father has sacrificed his life to keep Bree safe and get her out of his nefarious clutches, and Crown Prince Caden has risked his position in the underground movement in an attempt to overthrow the king. What nobody knows is that, right before his death, Bree found out that she was adopted and is the true heir of Nereidium. But does she even want a kingdom, especially when Princess Aleta, who has been brought up believing the kingdom to be her birthright, would be a competent ruler?  On top of that, Bree is pretty sure that her affinity with water is gone. She can't conjure it anymore or make it bend to her will. Some Elemental she turned out to be! When her group is captured to be sold into slavery, will their escape prove fruitless, or can Bree overcome everything in her way and learn to grasp the destiny awaiting her?

The second book is full of action and adventure, propelling the story along. It doesn't suffer from the "middle book syndrome that plagues so many trilogies, which is always an excellent thing in my opinion. The tense atmosphere is propelled along by Ellision's decision to split the perspective between Bree and Caden this time around. I know, I know. When I first saw that there would be two POVs, I was nervous, too. I was reminded of Ally Condie's Matched trilogy, where I had to keep flipping back to see whose head I was in. I was reminded of Veronica Roth's ALLEGIANT, which, among other things, changed the way many readers saw Four. Once bitten, twice shy. I hate when books that weren't multi-perspective initially become so later on. In Ellision's case, it worked, and worked well. Caden is dealing with a rebellion while Bree is fleeing for survival. This isn't the same story being regurgitated from two separate perspectives. My only hope is that the perspective split remains in the finale, because I'm also not a fan of series where only one book has a split. IDK, is it just me?

There's a lot of great character development in the new book, too, especially when it comes to Prince Caden. I also loved that Bree's journey of self-discovery wasn't easy. She had to work for it, she had to struggle. I can't wait to see who she becomes in next year's finale.

I'm really looking forward to reading the two novellas currently out as well as the third on the way. And, of course, the final book, FALL OF THRONES AND THORNS. Ellision is NOT nice about where she ends the second book and readers will be anxious to get the finale in their greedy hands as soon as possible!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( kissing and innuendo )
Language: --
Violence: PG12 ( a little bit of blood and gore mentioned. Enough to squick me out because I'm squeamish, but not most people, so...! )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I have a love/hate relationship with this cover, tbh. I love a lot about it and what it DOES. But the female herself is...off. There's something outputting about her image to me, but I can't put my finger on why.

It could just be that the cover doesn't really line up with the first cover, and I have SO MUCH love for the first cover.

But I love the background imagery, the return of the loopy title font, and the wisp of smoke in the air!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Jennifer Ellision
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Jennifer Ellision
Received: For Review

War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.

Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium-- the kingdom she's just learned is hers.

But with the King's ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.

The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.

It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King's strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won't let her kingdom down without a fight.

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