ARC Review: INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi

I received this book for free from HarperCollins. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi
Into the Still Blue
Under the Never Sky #3

Published by: HarperCollins
Release date: January 28th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: 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.

MyThoughts_v2

Note: This review is spoiler-free for the earlier books in this series. Unless you really don’t want to know which characters are still alive by book 3, because I do talk about characters who are alive — at least at the start of the book. :O lol

Where do I even start? How does one even begin to describe the amazing conclusion to an all-time favorite series? I don’t even know. Feels! Flails! Tears! Cheers! (oops, rhyming, sorry) But I can’t let this series go by without trying to put some words to the perfection of its final book, so bear with me. *deep breath* Okay, here goes.

If there’s one thing I can point to and say, This is why you need to read this series, it’s the characters. In Under the Never Sky, I was blown away by Aria, and especially her character growth; and who didn’t swoon over Perry? In Through the Ever Night we got to see even more growth from Aria, even greater depth to Perry, and the further development of my favorite character in the series, Roar. Into the Still Blue just expounds on that, tenfold. I can’t even.

But what’s so wonderful about every single character in this series (literally, every. single. character. the minor ones included) is that there’s no point at which Rossi says, “Ding! Stick a fork in him/her, this character is done!” People change. Constantly. And so do Rossi’s characters, beautifully and heart-wrenchingly and truthfully. Every single event, every decision these characters have made or are being forced to make, right up until the very last page, influences who they are, how they live, what they do, and why. They learn and they grow and they become different people over the course of the series. Everything they experience shapes who they are, and I just. I can’t. The character arcs and development and relationship growth is all just… To me, it’s perfect. PER. FECT. The end.

Another thing I love about this latest installment, which is related to the characters but also quite separate, is the action. Into the Still Blue, probably more than either of its predecessors, is jam-packed with first-class action scenes and tension LIKE WOAH. In many books, this gets in the way of character development, because action! twists! look, plotty things!! But never once do those things get in the way of the character development in Into the Still Blue. In fact, the action scenes help to flesh out the characters, to show you how they’ve grown, to face them with hard choices and have them stand strong in the face of adversity. Just. I can’t.

I also can’t even begin to talk about the relationships. Aria and Roar’s friendship is one of my favorite relationships in the history of ever. I’m a hardcore Aria/Perry shipper and love them to absolute, itty bitty pieces. But Roar’s and Aria’s relationship is seriously one of the best relationships I’ve ever read (platonic or romantic), and Into the Still Blue just cemented that in my mind. You want to see a platonic girl/guy relationship in your YA? One that never turns into a love triangle with the actual end-game love interest? Here it is. And it is glorious.

But Aria and Perry are definitely a highlight of this book, which is no surprise. They are so wonderful together, and I just can’t gush enough about their relationship. Totally swoon-worthy, and rooted in their deep mutual respect for one another. I also love that their world doesn’t revolve solely around each other. They know they are part of a bigger picture, and you can see that in the way they fight for things bigger than themselves.

Perry’s and Roar’s relationship also takes center-stage in this book. They both suffered a loss in Through the Ever Night, and that loss drives a wedge between them which is really difficult to read. You know they care deeply for each other, so seeing them at odds is just so heartbreaking, the way the deal with their pain, and each others’ reactions to it. But through it all, they are loyal to a fault, and when it counts, they’re there for each other. Ugh. I just love them.

Finally, I want to talk about one final thing about Into the Still Blue that makes it so meaningful, to me, and that is — the high stakes. One of the reasons I read a lot of YA is that, usually,  you’re guaranteed some kind of light at the end of the tunnel, and an ending that is ultimately uplifting. Sometimes, though, that can lead to quote-end-quote “high stakes” that aren’t actually very risky at all. “There’s no way something Seriously Serious is going to happen, because what about our Happily Ever After??” For me, Into the Still Blue did a fantastic job of presenting us with high stakes — and it actually followed through on the consequences. While there were moments that were really hard to read, and I admit I got choked up quite a bit, I applaud Rossi for taking this route, because it added a level of realism and weight to the final scenes that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. …Oh, what happens? I guess you’ll just have to read and find out…!

 

In conclusion…

I am spent. I’ve used up all my feels. Seriously, guys. I can’t even. Go on without me.

I do want to say this, though — the blurb for this book? that last line? “In a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most”? That is why I love this series. The characters, their relationships, their stories, their struggles, the weight that their choices are given… Add to that, the pretty much flawless dystopian/post-apocalyptic world that Rossi has created, with the Dwellers and the Outsiders and the different tribes all struggling to be the ones who make it to the hypothetical “Still Blue”… It’s amazing. By far one of my absolute favorite series in the history of ever. I’m really sad to see it end — but then again, I’m not. Because this ending was amazing, and it just makes me want to experience it all over again.

If you haven’t read this series yet, do it. Immediately. You won’t regret it.

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6 thoughts on “ARC Review: INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi

  1. We are review twins today! You were much better at expressing the awesome of this book. I so agree with the character being the best part of this series…Rossi does an amazing job with her entire cast of characters. You summed it up perfectly, Great review! :-)

  2. Kind of got my heart pounding, there. I’ll be reading this one soon, and I’m so glad to read a few reviews ahead of time that just rave about it! Glad you liked it. Thanks!

  3. I kind of skimmed this just in case since I haven’t even read the first one yet but after reading your conclusion, I need to read it ASAP. Great review (from what I read, lol) and I’m definitely going to be getting into this series soon!!

  4. Words can’t even begin to describe how excited, anxious and sad I am for this last book. It’s always so bittersweet to see such a beloved series come to an end. And I think you hit the nail on the head as to why these books/characters are SO good — because they’re constantly changing and growing. Whereas I feel UTNS was more about Aria’s journey into the real world, TTEN was more about Perry’s journey as leader of the Tides. It was interesting to see how much they’ve changed and grown both as individuals and leaders. I’m really eager to see where Rossi takes that growth in ITSB. Oh god and then there’s Roar (a total fan fav)! You’re absolutely right, his and Aria’s friendship is just rock solid, man. Between the relationships, the characters and the action, there isn’t a single thing not to like which is what makes this particular series ender such a bittersweet one!

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