Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

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

Published: January 28th 2014 by HarperCollins

Source: ARC from publisher

Synopsis (Goodreads): Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

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.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because 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.

Related reviews: Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night

My thoughts: I get nervous reading the final installment in a series I’ve loved so far. It can be disappointing to feel robbed of closure or like the last book doesn’t measure up against earlier ones. While I still think Through the Ever NIght was the strongest in the series, Into the Still Blue was a satisfying conclusion.

The strength of Rossi’s writing is in the characters she has created and the relationships between them. They are complex, sometimes even constradictory. They are trying very hard, but they’re human and they have faults. Aria and Perry’s relationship is strained. They are facing enormous challenges, and while they maintain perspective, they also acknowledge and work through their personal issues and misunderstandings, too.

But Aria and Perry also have other important relationships, too, and these friendships are given equal weight in their lives and on the page. Perry’s commitment to Cinder is heart-breaking. Both Perry and Aria have great scenes with Roar, a fan favorite from the series and a character I can’t help but love, too.

As much as I enjoyed this series, I do have some complaints about Into the Still Blue. I thought Rossi really dropped the ball on failing to build a devious yet sympathetic villain. And she had two chances, with both Hess and Sable. Not only do I have a lot of reason to hate Sable—he’s responsible for Liv’s death—and Hess—he has no moral compass and sees outsiders as savages—they are really bland as villains. I liked the way she used them in the plot—the double crossing was excellent, and the ideals both held were well thought out and provided such opportunity for further character development that just never came to fruition.

Even though I have complaints about Mockingjay as a conclusion to The Hunger Game series, I really loved the moral ambiguity of the leaders of the revolution and the deviousness of President Snow. In my opinion, Rossi laid all the groundwork for a thoughtful commentary on politics and could have explored a lot of issues with the plot and world-building, she failed to deliver truly tragic villains that are the heroes of the story in their own minds.

The pacing was excellent, and there was enough action to keep me turning the pages and enough twists and turns to keep me interested all the way until the end. Overall, most fans of the series will be satisfied with this conclusion. It has a nice mix of emotional drama,  tense fight scenes, and swoon-worthy romance that makes the trilogy a stand out in the crowded YA post-apocalpytic science fiction + romance subgenre.

Recommended for fans of: young adult science fiction or fantasy with a heavy dose of romance, like Cinder, Grave Mercy, or The Hunger Games

Second opinions:

Brittany @ Book Addict’s Guide: “INTO THE STILL BLUE really kept me hooked the whole time. Things were always happening, the action was always moving forward, and there were some really neat plot developments that surprised and impressed me!”

Realm of Fictions: “This is a trilogy that stands out to me for its clever development of relationships, and the sheer emotion that can be felt behind the actions and words of each of its protagonists.”

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