Thursday, March 20, 2014

Far, Beyond the Blue

Published:  January 28th, 2014
Into The Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
By: Veronica Rossi
ISBN-13:  9780062072092

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate.  Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do - and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation.  Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities.  Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission.  Cinder isn't just the key for unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival -- he's also their friend.  And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.


     When Into the Still Blue begins, Aria and Perry have just been reunited after being separated for what seems like forever.  Aria is recovering from a serious injury to her hand, which may never be able to work the same again.  But things aren't better now that they're together.  Their best friend Roar is turning into a stranger, because of his grief over the loss of Liv, the love of his life (and Perry's sister).  This throws Perry off balance, with one less person to lean on.  Also, all of them are trying to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in an attempt to join forces, and gather strength for a last attempt at the Still Blue - and survival of some sort.  But to do that they must team up with unlikely people to rescue Cinder, the only one with the power to find the Still Blue, from Hess and Sable.  Can they make it in time, or will it be too late?
      Considering how many times I've been disappointed by the last book in a series, I was REALLY reluctant to read this initially.  I am so glad that I did!  Unlike other disappointing final installments in trilogies, this book respected its characters and didn't do anything ridiculously trite or unbelievable to them.  There were no 180 degree shifts in character, for a reason inexplicable other than to shoehorn in a specific plot/ending.  The romance between Aria and Perry, while definitely strong in its presence, didn't monopolize the book and detract from the action.  Plus, the major thing Rossi has my respect for, there is no love triangle anywhere in this one!!!  How rare is that in a Young Adult novel nowadays?  Perry is strictly friends with Brooke, and has no deeper feelings for her.  Also, Aria is close to Roar and they understand each other better than almost anyone else (they both have the Aud gift, share a lot of them same thought processes and reactions, etc.) but they are entirely platonic.  
      As for the plot and the writing, the prose was just as gorgeous as ever and the plot didn't have any out of the blue, bait and switch tactics going on.  We got to see all of the loose ends pretty much tied up, including whether or not the Dwellers and Outsiders get to the Still Blue, what happens to Cinder in the process, who lives and who dies, and everything else.  Probably the biggest surprise in this one was the character development and worth of Soren, the son of villainous Dweller leader Hess.  Soren starts out as a completely despicable, untrustworthy character that you love to hate.  But then he turns into something more, as he starts to connect more to the people around him, and realize that Hess betrayed him - he obviously isn't interested in his son or doing the right thing.  So Soren has to make a choice - does he want to be useful and redeem himself, or keep self-destructing?  We also see Brooke moving past her lingering feelings for Perry.  An understanding develops between her and Aria, also the banter with Soren and Brooke is hilarious.  She definitely puts him in his place!  Probably the only thing that was even slightly a surprise, was the identity of Aria's father, which is revealed in this book finally.  I liked the realistic emotions of this book.  I always felt that the grief, frustration, fear, love and hope were true to the characters.  There was never a false note.  While not completely resolved, the ending hints at a somewhat brighter, happier future for the characters.  And I am glad for them.  Probably my only complaint about this book, is that the steady pace of the first two books has been traded in for breakneck speed, and non-stop action.  It's good at times, but it also feels rushed and like it's over too fast because of it.  Overall, I loved this book and I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a consistently well-written, awesome series! :D

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received this book from HarperTeen, on Edelweiss.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on  January 28th, 2014.*

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