I am so excited to be today’s stop on THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS Blog Tour. I have an amazing, amazing, AMAZING guest post by Sherry Thomas on her three most favorite heartbreaking moments from her Elemental trilogy.
A post I, of course, just had to read. Which is just a bit spoiler-y for the first books in the series (if you haven’t read them be warned). And is a total tease for what’s to come in THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS.
As you may already know this is the final book in the series. And as you may also know, I am terrible about reading final books in series because I never want my favorite series to end. Well, while my Kindle copy of THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS downloaded this week, I hadn’t necessarily planned on rushing to read it because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Titus and Iolanthe. That was before I read this post.
Because now I have to know!
So, if you’re like me, and you are in any way hesitating before diving in to this series-ending book, just read this post. I guarantee it will make you move THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS to the top of your TBR pile.
And if you’re new to the series, maybe just read the moment from THE BURNING SKY so that you don’t get spoiled about what’s ahead for Iolante and Titus.
And… if you’d like the chance to win a set of the three books in the series, plus some other awesome prizes, scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter for a chance to win.
About THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS
Title & Series: THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS (The Elemental Trilogy #3)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.
However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort….
Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?
With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.
The Guest Post
My Three Most Favorite Heartbreaking Moments in The Elemental Trilogy
by Sherry Thomas
In one of the Wallace and Gromit animated films, A Close Shave I think, our protagonists happen to have a window-washing business. And when a customer calls, Wallace proudly tells her, “Windows are our specialty.”
Well, heartbreaks are my specialty.
But instead of building up a whole book toward a big, heartbreaking climax, I prefer to get in my big heart-stomping moment at about the one-third mark, just when characters—and readers—think, okay, I’ve got everything figured out—I know what’s going on.
And then they have to deal with the fallout for the rest of the book.
There are some juicy heartbreaks in the Elemental trilogy. We’ll take one from each book.
The Burning Sky doesn’t have quite the same walloping, eff-you-up moment as the sequels, since folks are barely getting acquainted and the story is freshly unfolding. What it’s got are more like revelatory glimpses into characters.
Imagine you are a sixteen-year-old elemental mage—elemental mages are kind of uncommon, but not so rare that nobody has ever seen one before. You have troubles, but they aren’t related to your powers, but to your guardian, who’s totally checked out and left you to take care of everything. And you’ve agreed to make this really complicated elixir to save his ass at work, and then everything goes kaput with the elixir.
You consult a reference book. In the margins, you see a handwritten line, There is no light elixir, however tainted, that cannot be revived with a thunderbolt. What the heck, you think. But if anyone’s gonna bring down a bolt of lightning it’s gotta be an elemental mage. And you are an elemental mage.
You succeed. And all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden, agents of Atlantis are chasing after you. And a young, handsome prince shows up at your door to whisk you to safety in the nonmage realm of England, of all places. You are breathless with gratitude until you realize that in exchange for keeping you away from harm, he wants you to go on a kamikaze mission to bring down the Bane, the Lord High Commander of Atlantis, who bestrides the mage world, the most powerful, most feared tyrant of them all.
Thanks but no thanks, you say. You’re no hero and you don’t want to die for anything. But this boy, who until this moment has appeared to be Everything, entraps you into committing. Hell has no fury like that of a girl tricked into a suicidal endeavor and the blood oath you’ve sworn is the only thing that keeps you from ripping out his intestines and using them to strange him.
(Have we mentioned that you are a rather violent young lady when angry? It’s an elemental mage thing. Enraged baby elemental mages are taught to turn to physical violence rather than burn down everything in sight.)
So you despise him and think of him as thoroughly calculating and ruthless.
And then, right before the prince was about to face the Inquisitor, the Bane’s lieutenant who scares him shitless, and you are in the form of a canary, he makes this confession, because he believes you won’t remember:
“I cannot think at all when the Inquisitor is going to question me tonight.”
She’d never before heard fear in his voice. So he did experience it. Good. It was a sign of madness to not be afraid when one ought to be.
“The first time I met her face-to-face, I was eight.” He spoke quietly; she had to strain to hear. “My grandfather had died two months before, and my coronation was the next day.
“When you are born to the House of Elberon, you are trained to act serene and superior no matter what you feel. But the Inquisitor was—she has frightening eyes. I tried, and I could not make myself look at her. So as she spoke, I looked down at my cat.”
“Minos was actually my mother’s cat, as gentle and sweet as she. After she died, he went everywhere with me and slept in my bed at night.
“That day he was on my lap. I scratched his head and he purred. At some point he stopped purring. But it was not until the end of the audience, when the Inquisitor rose to take her leave, that I noticed he was—he was dead.”
The catch in his voice shot her through with a violent emotion she could not name.
“I wanted to cry. But because she was watching, I tossed Minos aside and said, the way my grandfather would, ‘One would think a cat of the House of Elberon would have more breeding than to die before an esteemed guest. My apologies.’
“I have only kept birds ever since—birds and reptiles are immune to a mind mage’s powers. And I have been terrified of the Inquisitor ever since.”
He fell silent.
She turned around and stared at the tapestry, willing herself to feel no sympathy for him.
And not succeeding.
I think this moment works because the prince is normally extremely close-lipped. But now that Iolanthe has this understanding of the stark fear he keeps under wraps, of all the pressures he has dealt with every day of his life, things are never again the same between them. They grow closer and closer and forge a terrific bond through trial and adversity.
Moving on to Book 2, The Perilous Sea. Everything is looking hunky-dory for our young lovers. Sure they’d had to spend the summer apart, and sure that suicidal mission is still breathing down their necks, but life back at school is glorious at the moment. And then, a total curveball out of left field.
Titus has protected and trained Iolanthe because she is—or so he has reasons to believe—the Chosen One. And then he finds out that he’s wrong, that she isn’t the one prophesied at all. That the Chosen One is actually their friend Wintervale.
(In the snippet below Titus refers to Iolanthe as Fairfax, the name she goes by at school, where she cross-dresses as a nonmage boy.)
He had come hoping to vindicate Fairfax’s place in his life. Now all he wanted was for there to be no more details that would tilt the balance in Wintervale’s favor. As long as nothing forced him to conclude that it must be Wintervale, he would go on believing that his destiny lay with Fairfax.
I wish so much of this vision was not from the back, for I love looking upon my son’s face in the moments before the elemental phenomenon shakes him. Yes, I know now that it will be an elemental phenomenon and I know now what a dreadful turning point it will be.
Has already been.
But until then, he smiles, my son, his face bright with joy and anticipation.
It was all Titus could do not to scream.
He had not smiled before Fairfax’s lightning had come down—had emerged from the Crucible aching and grim. But before Wintervale’s arrival, he had been dreaming of Fairfax.
And fool that he was, he had grinned from ear to ear in utter happiness, when everything was about Wintervale. And had always been.
He closed the diary and buried his face in his hands.
So quiet, almost unnoticeable, the sound of dreams splintering.
Yes. I do believe that’s Wham! Moment.
And when they have somehow patched things together from that terrible falling-out, what should poor Titus find out in the third book, The Immortal Heights, but that Iolanthe has been prophesied to die on Atlantis.
Here Titus is talking to their friend Kashkari, who has prophetic dreams. At first Titus is only regular unhappy, because he thinks Kashkari has dreamed of Titus’s death, which has long been prophesied.
So cold—and growing colder by the second. “You dreamed of someone’s death, did you not?” Titus heard himself ask.
Kashkari was taken aback. “How did you guess?”
Instead of the fog, Titus saw the campus of the Conservatory of Magical Arts and Sciences. The students on University Avenue. The bell towers. The open expanse of the great lawn. He saw Fairfax sitting on a blanket under the starflower tree. The tree was in bloom, full of petals of the faintest pink. Whenever a breeze blew, tiny flowers would glide down onto her blanket, her shoulders, her hair.
He would never sit there with her. They would never share a picnic basket from Mrs. Hinderstone’s. And he would never know what she would look like in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time.
“That death has long been prophesied,” he said. “And the person in question has known it for years.”
Kashkari looked both incredulous—and relieved. “Are you sure?”
“But—but I listened to Fairfax speak to her guardian just now, and it didn’t sound as if she had the slightest idea.”
For the longest time, Kashkari’s words drifted between them, not making any sense at all. Then all at once Titus had his hands on Kashkari’s lapels, almost lifting the latter off the ground. “What did you say? What do you mean, Fairfax did not have the slightest idea? What does she have to do with prophetic dreams about death and dying?”
Kashkari stared at him. “I thought you said she knew.”
Titus stumbled back a step. Then another. “You saw Fairfax? Fairfax?”
Kashkari’s voice cracked. “I’m afraid so. I’m sorry.”
“Where? Where was she?” Titus was shouting, but only so he could hear himself over the uproar in his head.
“She was lying across a marble floor with inlays of the Atlantean whirlpool design.”
“How do you know she was dead? She could just be unconscious.”
“You were in my dream too. You were shaking your head, with tears in your eyes.”
Titus could not breathe. In his mind he saw the Conservatory again. The students, the bell towers, the great lawn, the lovely starflower tree in bloom. But now the blanket under the tree was empty.
Kashkari was still speaking—or at least his lips were moving. But Titus heard nothing.
All he wanted was for her to come through unscathed—to have a wonderful life, surrounded by love and laughter. All he wanted was a single hope to light his way, when all ambition and courage had failed.
He held up a hand. Kashkari’s lips stopped moving. He gazed at Titus, his eyes dark with sorrow.
But he was only losing a friend. Titus was losing everything.
Awful, isn’t it?
But if you’re like me, you’ll totally want to know what is going to happen. Because while you reel, you still have hope. You still want to see whether they can make it against all odds.
But my job here is only to lay out three heartbreaking moments. I’ll let you find out for yourself what happens afterwards. ☺
About Sherry Thomas
Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.
English is Sherry’s second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger’s Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.
Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.
Other Books in the Series
Title & Series: THE BURNING SKY (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook
It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.
Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.
The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.
Title & Series: THE PERILOUS SEA (The Elemental Trilogy #2)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook
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.
There is a tour-wide giveaway for…
- First Place – ONE (1) Winner will receive THE BURNING SKY, THE PERILOUS SEA, THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS + a handmade solid lotion bar, some homemade face scrubs, plus a Burning Sky bag – US ONLY
- Runners Up – TWO (2) Winners will receive THE BURNING SKY, THE PERILOUS SEA, and THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS – US ONLY
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
The Tour Schedule
- Oct. 5th | Reading Teen – Review
- Oct. 6th | City of Books – Interview
- Oct. 7th | Fiction Fare – Review
- Oct. 8th | The Eater of Books! – Guest Post
- Oct. 9th | Fall Into Books – Review
- Oct. 12th | Carina’s Books – Interview
- Oct. 13th | Nick’s Book Blog – Review
- Oct. 14th | Fiktshun – Guest Post
- Oct. 15th | Reading with ABC – Review
- Oct. 16th | Two Chicks on Books – Interview