Contains many spoilers, so read at your own risk
This year, I am making a concerted effort to finish up series that I have started, and then allowed to wallow by the wayside. I loved Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, but due to time constraints, wasn’t able to read the follow up, Through the Ever Night. Then it was on sale for the Kindle (after I had already purchased the hardcover), and because I would be sitting on plane for a few hours, I snapped it up. Reading it made me remember why I enjoyed the first book so much. I love the characters, and enjoyed catching up with them. Aria, Perry, Roar, Cinder – I even developed a new appreciation for those that I disliked at first. Soren? Who would have possible thought I could learn to like Soren? He’s kind of the one that got this whole adventure started. While there were still times that I wanted someone to clock him, he grew as a character and turned into someone I just might be able to like. Maybe.
At first, I couldn’t stand Aria. She, like everyone else from Reverie, considers the Outsiders to be savages. Sub-human. Not worth their time or regard. She was such a snob, and I hated her. It’s a good thing that I liked Perry, otherwise I probably would not have finished Under the Never Sky. But while following along with Aria in the harsh environment that she’s been so carelessly tossed into, something remarkable happened. I started to like her. She became like my best friend. Like we had always been buds. She grew as a character, and while doing so, she changed. She became likable. She began to care about others, and she began to put herself at risk to ensure that her friends were kept safe. By the end of the series, there is little about her to tie her to her old, immature self. She has become a confident, resourceful leader. She will do what it takes to get things done. She will put herself directly in harm’s way to do what she believes in. She becomes heroic, and I loved the transformation.
I always liked Perry, and while he didn’t have to change in order for me to keep liking him, change he did. He grows from an angry boy into a leader of his people. At first he is unsure of himself, but as dangers are heaped upon him, one after another, he realizes that there are things he has to do that he won’t like. But he has to, or the Tides will suffer. While his people have one idea of how he should act, the Aether storms are telling him that he must learn to act in a new way. This puts him at odds with the people he’s sworn to lead, and the people who have sworn to follow him. While his brother led with an iron fist, Perry wants to lead by committee, and sometimes that doesn’t work. He recognizes that he’s young and occasionally needs guidance, and others see that as a weakness. This undermines his authority, and makes it that much more difficult to keep control of his tribe.
There is a lot of loss in the series. Aria and Perry both lose those near and dear to them. When Perry learns of Liv’s fate, he can’t bring it upon himself to grieve. If he doesn’t think about it, maybe it won’t be true. Maybe it won’t tear him apart. His lack of emotion over Liv blasts a hole in his relationship with Roar. Roar is ruined by Liv’s death at Sable’s hand, and he can’t forgive Perry for not being destroyed, too. It was painful to see them together; Perry trying to go on as if nothing was wrong, and Roar hurting so much he wanted to make Perry hurt, too.
I hated Sable. He is the ultimate bad guy. He will cut you down with a smile on his lips. He won’t hesitate to eliminate any threat or slight, regardless of who it is. He rules by fear and intimidation, and he will never let you forget that your life is expendable if you cross him. I felt a little shortchanged when he finally meets his end, because it is so swift. Anti-climatic. I wanted him to experience the same pain and betrayal that he handed out without a second thought.
There were a few things that didn’t sit well with me. Cinder’s end. What? What? I wanted Perry and Aria to find a way for him to cheat his fate. It didn’t happen. Sad face. I also hated how Hess was double-crossed and mercilessly cut down, just when I was starting to think that he wasn’t a heartless jerk. Sigh.
Overall, Under the Never Sky is a great series. There’s action, romance, and seemingly insurmountable challenges to overcome. There are wonderful characters that you grow to love, and those evil villains that you love to hate, as well. Best of all, if you are like me, you will believe in the wonder of this terrifying world. You will believe that some people can see in the dark, that some people really can hear a pin drop, and that a few special individuals can actually smell a lie. What would that be like, to know what people are really feeling by the odors they emit?
At the time I wrote this, Under the Never Sky was priced at $1.99 for the Kindle. Buy it. It’s more than worth two bucks. Then if you like it, read the rest of the series. Into the Still Blue will be available January 28, so you don’t have to wait very long in order to read the series in one long marathon of reading.
Series Grade: A-
I received an egalley of Into the Still Blue from the publisher.
I purchased Through the Ever Night, both in print and ebook, from Amazon
I received a copy of Under the Never Sky from a blog tour
About Into the Still Blue:
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.