Friday, March 21, 2014

Into the Still-Fabulous Conclusion

Aria and Perry have never had it easy. Coming from two different world, a burnt-out wasteland and a domed uber-tech fortress, was only the beginning of their differences. But Dwellers (inside the dome) and Outsiders all have one thing in common. They want to reach the Still Blue where the Aether storms can't ravage everything they know and love about life. Into the Still Blue is the conclusion to Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky, and it holds your heart in its hand to the last page. 

As the new Blood Lord of the Tides, Perry is now responsible for everyone in what was once his brother's tribe. Now that Aria has returned to him, he feels he can face that responsibility. But the fact that Cinder, the boy who can control the Aether, was kidnapped haunts him. The psychopath leader of the Horn Tribe, Sable, and Soren's father, leader of the domed city Reverie, Hess, have joined forces to do everything they can to get to through the wall of Aether to the Still Blue, even if it means kidnapping and using a little boy like Cinder. They knew Perry, Aria, Roar and the others wouldn't let them get away with it, either. In fact, they counted on it. 

Perry's plan is to attack the Komodo, a giant moving city that is slowly creeping to the edge of the Aether. With the help of Soren, a former Dweller, they can fly the hover craft to the Komodo, rescue Cinder, and get back to their people in time to escape the incoming final Aether storm that will eradicate anything still living inside the burning, toxic wasteland. The problem is that Dwellers and Outsiders don't play well together. Both Perry's group and the group inside the Komodo are ravaged by a lack of trust and faith in one another. When you are constantly watching over your shoulder to make sure your partner doesn't stab you in the back, it is hard to see the enemy who isn't afraid to stab you in the heart. The one thing keeping the survivors from the Still Blue might just be themselves. 

I have followed this series since the first book was released, and I have never once been disappointed, including this finale. It was a way to bring the story full circle and deliver a conclusion that would make Rossi's fans proud. There was no slump from the first page of book one to the last page of book three, and I am really glad I found this series. With such dystopia burnout out there, it is hard to pick your favorites, but this is certainly one of mine. There is a perfect mixture of hope and despair that keeps you through this hull of a world to get to the place we all hoped existed. These characters have all lost so much that you couldn't help yourself but to hope there really was an oasis in the face of such destruction. 

While the story itself and the world-building, are pretty phenomenal, the true winners are Perry and Aria. Both are loyal to a fault, and Perry's loyalty to Cinder has to be my favorite. He cares for the boy to the point of staying with him on a mission that can only lead to certain dead for both of them. It is really fantastic to find a male lead like Perry who we all hope our sons and students can grow up to be like (without the apocalyptic landscape of course!). And Aria is a young woman for our girls to look up to as well. She understands the difference between her own hopes and desires and her responsibility to the people who trust her, and she faces difficult decisions with grace and determination. I loved watching the two of them together. But don't discount the supporting characters! If you don't love Soren and Roar as much as I did, there has to be something wrong with you! It is just sad knowing their story is over, even if it was the perfect ending!

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