Friday, 5 May 2017

Into the Still Blue - Veronica Rossi [Review]

This review contains some spoilers.

Into the Still Blue (Under The Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Title: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Rating: ★★★

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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 to 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.In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.


For my (gushing) review of the previous two books in this series and the prequel, see this link. As I told you there, I really love the Under the Never Sky series, so I was pretty excited to read the last installment: Into the Still Blue. Judging from the title, this book will finally shed some light on the mysterious Still Blue we've been hearing about from the beginning.
And, fortunately, Veronica Rossi did not let me down! I read the book with the same (light)speed as I did with the others and I was content with how it wrapped up the series. 

The story starts right where the last book left off: the Tides have moved in a cave for protection from the Aether and the Dwellers saved by Aria join them. So, in contrast to the three-month-leap in between the first and second book, we step right into the drama. Unfortunately, this gives the reader little time to settle into the story again and also gives the characters no time for a well-deserved break. I especially wanted some time alone for Aria and Perry, who were just together again - and Perry and Roar, to mourn Liv.
The action starts right from the beginning, as Aria, Perry and other major characters move away from the camp immediately to save Cinder. Of course, they are imprisoned and split up - meaning no much-needed heart to heart talks. Although this makes the story fast-paced, it would have been good for character development to let them all rest and talk a little - as now we keep reading how they stuff away their feelings and fight each other over unprocessed emotions. It is just a bit unrealistic or at least undesirable for young people to keep jumping from fight to fight while also dealing with severe emotional trauma. 

The story world is still quite vague, although less than in the previous books. I now understood sort of what the realms, hovers and Aether are, but other stuff like the Unity, Still Blue and the DLS illness were still little explained. In the end the Still Blue becomes pretty clear, but the rest remains some nice dystopic inventions of which I have to fill in the blanks myself. 

What I found the best characteristic of the books, was that throughout the series the characters have been fleshed out very well. Not only the protagonists, but also most minor characters received a rounded personality with whom I could bond.

First of all, we see Perry transition from a boy into a real leader, although I am still not sure whether I actually like his character. He tends to crop up his feelings and emotions, making him in the beginning of this book fight with Aria and Roar - not cool. Nevertheless, I liked his POV more in this book than in the second. There I had the urge to skip through it quickly at times because I was more interested in Aria's story, but now that was not the case. He does still have a lot of alone time, so without Aria and Roar (yawn..:P), but because they are still mostly in the same environment and storyline, his POV was not too diverging.

Aria has also gone through an interesting development in this series, which becomes really clear in this book. We now have the Dwellers as contrast, showing how scared she was at first and how strong she has become now. I love her relationship to both Perry and Roar, especially how she can rely on them unconditionally. Although I have to say that both in the second and in the third book, the focus has seemed to be more on Aria and Roar's friendship than on Aria and Perry's relationship. The latter has been more long-distant pining than actual engagement, unfortunately. I had hoped that in the third book they would interact more, but nope... Beside Roar and Perry, I do miss Aria's connection to other characters. We know she was friends with Caleb in Reverie and met with Talon several times, but we almost never see them interact. In this book, we also get to meet her father. Their relationship is quite shaky and almost non-existent until the end, for understandable reasons, but I would have liked to see some more bonding time here as well. 

I felt so, so sad for Roar in this book. I really adored his character in the previous books and the prequel showed me how much he loved Liv. But to come back from losing the love of your life, and then to have her brother and your best friend attack you and consequently not speak to you is just horrible and could break anyone. Although I kept wishing the upbeat, comic Roar from the previous books to return, I understood why he needed to go through that dark phase at the beginning. When he started to smile and joke again, I was so happy! His friendship with Aria really felt like the thing that saved him, that was very well written. I was sorry that Perry did not support Roar more in the beginning, he seemed a bit lacking as a friend. Fortunately, he eventually figured this out as well (mostly b/o Aria..), and their friendship returned to its awesome state from the previous books.

In the beginning, I was not sure what Rossi wanted me to feel for Soren. At times I sympathised with him, but then he would do something that irritated me again. However, after the death of his father, he seemed to have become an actual nice and friendly person. I think he made the same transition as Aria, who in book one was also mad at Outsiders all the time before finally accepting them. I guess his and Brooke's character would be nice as a couple, which is hinted at in the end. In this book, Brooke fortunately got a little more speech to remove her from the stereotypical ex-girlfriend character she had gotten in the previous books - so she finally seemed likable as well.

The villains in this series are a bit stereotypical, though. Both Hess and Sable would do anything for power and have no redeeming side, although Hess in the end turned out to be the lesser villain of the two. Upper villain Sable double-crosses every one of his partners, so I thought it pretty stupid Perry wanted to make a deal with him and sort of trusted him to keep his promise. Kinda obvious what happened after that... Of course, they needed Sable to survive, but Perry should have been way more suspicious. 

I am glad that this book series did not include a love triangle, like so many YA trilogies (see like 50% of my reviews). I admit that sometimes it seemed close to become a triangle, as Aria spends a lot of time with Roar, especially in book two and again in this book, and they become quite close (also literally, a lot of touching going on there). But whenever Aria and Perry are together, which is fortunately more in the third book, though still not a lot, they seem best for each other. And after reading the prequel about Liv and Roar and seeing his reaction to her death in book three, I know that there could never have been a real love triangle. 

I thought the ending was nicely wrapped up. There were some sad losses, but the 'most important' characters have a happy future ahead of them. This is of course more realistic than that everything would suddenly be perfect (cough.. Hunger Games.. cough).

I would definitely recommend reading this series, overall I would give it 4/4,5 stars. The story, the characters and their relationships are all amazing!

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