Review: “Into the Still Blue” by Veronica Rossi

still blue

Title: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Pages: 389
Genre: YA science-fiction/dystopian
Published: January 28, 2014

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Quick Synopsis: It’s hard to explain this book without going into too much detail about previous books, but the basic premise revolves around Aria, a Dweller who comes from a world of technology and little conflict. She has never known the outside world because she can image anything she wants with her Smarteye. Then something big happens and she is thrust into the world of the Outsiders who live in tribes on the earth. She meets Peregrine (or, Perry) who is from one of the Outsider tribes, and he teaches her to live as they do. The biggest catch? The Aether–a deadly storm that has taken over the sky–poses as a huge threat for what is left of mankind. This final novel follows the characters as they learn about  and seek out the Sill Blue, a place where the Aether is not a threat and the sky is, well, blue.

My review: I read Under the Never Sky, book one in this trilogy, a little over two years ago. It had been on my to-read list for ages before I finally picked it up. Right after I finished the first one I moved right along to book two, Through the Ever Night. I really enjoyed both novels and ended up giving them pretty high ratings. However, I then had to wait almost a year until the last book came out. When Into the Still Blue finally did get released last year, I just never got around to reading it for some reason. I remember thinking how much I wanted to read it, but other books kept taking first priority. Then, in January of this year, Veronica Rossi came to visit my creative writing class at college, and I ran out to Barnes & Noble to buy Into the Still Blue so I could have her sign it (my copies of the first two books were at home). Had she not visited our class, it’s highly likely I still wouldn’t have picked it up even by now. So thanks, Veronica Rossi. It felt good to finally complete this trilogy.

This was one of the small handful of trilogies that posed as an exception to my refusal to read dystopian. It’s just not my genre, I guess. But there was always something about these books that drew me in. One of the best parts is that it’s a dystopian trilogy that focuses less on a corrupt government and more on the dangers of a futuristic earth. Mother nature has comes to destroy everyone! In Into the Still Blue specifically, escaping these dangers made survival difficult.

The two main characters, Aria and Perry, remain my favorite aspect of the trilogy. They are fresh and realistic and, as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, that can make or break a novel for me. Their relationship changed so much since the first novel, and I loved seeing that because it showed how they had both matured in the wake of the Aether. Actually, I think relationships in general are where Rossi shined. Whether it be the relationship between friends, lovers, family, enemies, etc, they were done extremely well. Sometimes the relationships in novels can come off as forced or too easy (lacking conflict), but the ones in this novel were definitely the opposite of that. Even the supporting characters had fleshed out relationships.

The plot continued to be unique in this final installment, but it also had what I call Third Book Syndrome. Meaning, there was too much information dumping and too much action/fighting that could have been more stretched out instead of thrown at me all at once. This is definitely a personal preference, but I get bored when there is a lot of fighting. Action has to be written especially well otherwise I start to tune out or skip paragraphs which is exactly what happened while I was reading this. I found that my favorite moments were the quiet ones between two characters that reminded me of why I had previously liked the trilogy so much. Perry is an incredibly humorous character, but it was easy for me to forget that in most of the novel because he had to take on the role of fighter/leader. But when he did have his funny moments, they were great. Basically, because there was so much action, the funny/quiet moments were even better this time around since they were far fewer in number than they’d been in the previous two books.

I would describe the writing as not noticeable. Not noticeably bad but also not noticeably good. Just there. This can be a good and bad thing, I guess. Good because I wasn’t irritated by it, but bad because it made the action uninteresting. The best part of the writing was definitely the dialogue.

I think maybe if I would have read Into the Still Blue closer to the time I read UTNS and ITSB, I would have been more invested in the story. I also had a hard time remembering who many of the side characters were and how they were important. The last 50-ish pages were the most entertaining, and that’s when I found myself the most engrossed. I was a little bit let down by the novel considering how much I enjoyed the other two. But again, this tends to happen a lot for me with third books in a trilogy. Still, this wasn’t a bad book. I liked it, I just didn’t love it.

Into the Still Blue, along with Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, had an interesting and fleshed out world where the Aether, the homes of the Dwellers and Outsiders, and the Still Blue were vivid in my mind. The characters were developed and layered. The plot was unique for its genre. And overall, the trilogy was enjoyable (though the first two books more so). If you like dystopian, sci-fi, action, and cool characters, check out this trilogy!

Rating: 3.75/5 stars (Gotta get nice and precise.)

Have you read this trilogy? Leave a comment telling me your thoughts about it!

Until next time, keep reading and writing! – Veronica

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