The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas (The Elemental Trilogy #3)
Published October 13, 2015 by Balzer + Bray, 432 pp.
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.
If there’s one thing I will say about this series, it’s that this probably has one of my favourite romances ever. I love that Titus is so lovestruck and has zero qualms about expressing his love for Iolanthe.
That being said, The Immortal Heights is a satisfying end to the series: the characters we have come to know all have neatly tied ribbons around their stories, villains get their comeuppance, and I have another series finished under my belt!! Yay!
The Immortal Heights picks up in the Sahara Desert, where Titus, Iolanthe, and company have managed to stay hidden, until Atlantis forces picked up on them and drove them out. On the way to Atlantis, Kashkari has another dream: he’s seen who’s going to die in the final battle between the Bane and themselves. What he doesn’t see however, is how it’s going to end. So Iolanthe and company dodge Atlantian forces while slowly but steadily making their way toward the Bane’s stronghold, not knowing if she or Titus will meet their ends in the last standoff.
While I liked The Immortal Heights, I do have to say this follows a pretty linear plot progression, save for a few curveballs thrown my way. This is fine, of course, but after The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea, this was so mellow. Even the final battle between the Bane and the heroes’ camp was a bit flat – the Inquisitor’s interrogation in the first book made me feel more anxious.
This is plot-driven, unlike The Perilous Sea, and I was surprised at the page count as well, because I felt like the events in this book could’ve been condensed into a lower page count. However, I do appreciate that Sherry Thomas took time in hashing out the romance between Iolanthe and Titus, building their relationship and filling the book with small scenes of fluff, because it was so, so great. That’s one thing I will concede to the length of this book.
Titus also remains one of my favourite book boyfriends ever, this is in spite of his noble idiot tendencies because I honestly root for him to do them and I know Iolanthe will chew him out for being so when she manages to finagle her way back to him. By this point they act like an old married couple already. I love it.
“I will probably bruise my face going up,” said Titus.
“No, not that. That’s my favourite part of you.”
“Really? You told me something else altogether in the lighthouse.”
It was the first time either of them had brought up their night together. She slanted him a look.
However, there are parts of this that feel rushed and throw-away – like the backstories of the newer characters. Commander Rainstone and her unrequited love, for one, or the sudden appearance of Titus’ dad, like what?? We have been gearing up for this revelation of paternity for over 3-ish books and THIS is the reunion and reveal I get??? Book, why!! Also, do tell me more about Birmingham and West, please.
The Bane’s back story is revealed here, in all of its icky detail, and I do appreciate that his story was elaborated on – how he amassed his power and how he has managed to keep it and Atlantis under his control for so long was expounded on here. I do wish, however, that his story was revealed in bits and pieces throughout the books. Here in Immortal Heights it’s all revealed within a few pages and it did feel a bit info dump-y.
The final battle also felt rushed for me – so much going on, and not in a good way. Like it all came together in this battle that did no justice to how strong the Bane supposedly was. When it was over I was wondering how in the world he had managed to keep Atlantis under his thumb and so many people under his control.
The ending of this is pretty neat – as in the actual meaning of the word. It ties up Iolanthe and Titus’ story in a happy-for-now ending, and while not everyone gets it as good, it’s still satisfactory and puts a period on their stories. If you’re like me, however, who likes to be reassured everyone is well and truly living good, you’d find this a bit lacking.
I would still say this is an ending fitting of the series: Iolanthe and Titus finally have their futures ahead of them, without the fear of either of them meeting untimely ends. There’s also no more uncertainty thanks to Titus’ mother’s prophecies and they can chart their own paths now.
Overall, 3.5, because the info dump and new characters brought it down for me. I wish the characters were explored earlier, because they were mentioned in the preceding books, and it would give their appearance and involvement here more meaning. The .5 is for Titus and Iolanthe though, probably one of my favourite couples to have read about in YA.
We spend a lot of the book hiding and going between locales, so the story revolves around that mostly, and dodging the Bane and his forces while doing so.
For Titus and Iolanthe, and because I did not see those bombshells coming my way.
5!!! ALL THE STARS!! ALL THE SAPPY, LOVESTRUCK STARS!!