Book Review – ‘Into the Still Blue’ (#3 Under the Never Sky) by Veronica Rossi

The hair-raising conclusion to a lightning filled dystopian world that fizzled flat.

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 389

From Goodreads:

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. 

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The battle is real – with this conclusion to the trilogy ‘Into the Still Blue’ brings about all the physical fight against the elements and each other in hope to find an Oasis from a decaying environment and factions struggling for power. On the surface the plot is outstanding, but the delivery felt a somewhat lukewarm.

I felt Aria finally got her sea-legs. In the previous novels I felt she bounced around between place, people and conviction. As much as I did not connect with her, I appreciated her story.

Perry just seemed to struggle. From the start – right to the end… and I think that is just who he is. So that left me kind of meh!

I think I was more excited about the dog Flea in this novel. The mention of him always brought a smile to my face.

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleIt felt masterfully crafted, though I must admit I never really connected with Aria or Perry throughout this trilogy; and something about the writing style had me wandering away from the book quite a lot. It’s not that it was boring, I just never felt compelled to read on.

I feel like I want to say that the supporting characters had more depth than our two protagonists. Maybe because Aria and Perry were so single minded. So serious. That their narrative came across slightly monotone. There was no fluctuation in ambience and motive.

There wasn’t anything that struck me as particularly wrong with this concluding novel, just there was something missing. I think the dual perspective, again, gave too many answers and details for the story, eliminating a great opportunity to up the tension.

On the subject of loss and Death – I was a little on the fence with how this was dealt with. There were varying degrees of impact from the loss of certain characters. I felt more importance and compassion should have been considered. It would have also made for a much more poignant conclusion. I also did not like how murder and killing were handled either. Again, the facts were mostly glossed over to move the story along. When it would have been a great opportunity to up the emotion and paint a picture of devastation, brutality, and inevitability of the fight for survival against nature, and each other.

The plot unravelled very organically and I never felt the hand of the author guiding along the story. Though, the writing style did not paint a detailed enough picture of the world for me. I still have trouble picturing the main characters and the landscape they live in. Some aspects are crystal clear, but others felt washed out.

I liked the tone the novel ended on and how the storyline wrapped up. But I was still hoping for more mythology from this dystopian world to explore. Get some more technology in this sci-fi. Oh well…

It’s not a series I would recommend to friends – it’s okay. But there are much more entertaining collections out there.

Overall reaction: *rocking hand motion*

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Through the Ever Night’ (#2 Under the Never Sky) by Veronica Rossi

Adventure, Aether and All-out-love…

Through the Ever Night Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 341

From Goodreads:

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, can their love survive through the ever night? 

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18 months ago I picked up ‘Under the Never Sky’ after some tribulation, and it fell into the dystopian genre with ease. There were elements in this story that I had read many times before. But I did enjoy the story and the premise it set up. We got a great villain, an interesting mythology with the Ever Blue, and a clash of cultures. Not to mention the technology and some people developing enhanced senses. Because I’d only given it an average rating, and wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with the trilogy it took some time before I finally picked up ‘Through he Ever Night.’

While we don’t get answers to the questions posed in the first book in this series, we get a whole stack of new problems for our protagonists Aria and Perry. Told in dual perspective ‘Through the Ever Night’ mainly deals with them adjusting to tribal life now that they have escaped influence of the Dome, and are out to track down the fable of the Ever Blue under the Aether storms that wrack the planet increasing with frequency and ferocity threatening their lives.

I think I enjoyed this more than the debut. There was more adventure, more at stake, and plenty of twists and turns. Plus the description and encounters with the Aether storms really felt threatening this time. I could see it all play out in my mind.

Through the Ever Night Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI’m still on the fence about the dual perspective – but it worked because of the separate storylines of both Aria and Perry (Peregrine.) It’s when they are together that the alternating narrative feels redundant.

Perry was really tested, screwed up, but grew and become a leader. I wasn’t all that sold on him in ‘Under the Never Sky’ ‘but I’ve grown a new found affection for him now.

Aria turned her stubborn streak into determination. Though hers is more a survival story. I can see her being shaped into a leader as well. Especially with her dealing with Dweller discrimination. She was no longer relying on Perry for survival, but carving her own path.

Roar, a member of their tribe, had to be my favourite though. Like a gentle giant at times, and a ferocious warrior the next. This was really his time to shine – I’m curious to see what the future brings him. The interactions between him and Aria are endearing.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the mechanics of the plot that were introduced in the first novel were ignored for the most part, and this novel brought about a subplot all of itself. Having said that, it has set this series up for an explosive climax and I’m actually excited to see what will happen.

There are lots of chapters ending on small cliff-hangers, and the pacing is pretty good. There were moments when my attention waned, but on the whole the flow is engaging and I love how this book concluded. Being the second book in a trilogy, I was delighted it performed so strongly.

I love the hardback covers, muted tones in the background hinting at a storm and weird nature growth with a hot guy on the cover – though to be honest, I imagined Perry looking more tribal and jungle than the pictured guy that looked like a 1990’s band throw-back in casual clothes and a leather wrist band. The inner cover is just plain black with coloured foiled lettering to match the hues of the dust jacket and the font of the book is large, making you feel like you are flying through the story quickly.

I’m definitely chuffed to read the finale, and at the time that this review is being posted, I’m already starting to jump into ‘Into the Still Blue.’

Overall reaction: You’ve got my attention… continue.

Through the Ever Night Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Under the Never Sky’ by Veronica Rossi

Enjoyable but had me frowning at some inconsistencies…

Under the Never Sky Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 374

From Goodreads:

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky. 

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I’d been uncertain of picking up this book for over a year, and decided to put myself out of annoying procrastination and read the damn thing. “Under the Never Sky” was an epic dystopian adventure that entertained me to no end with its blend of science fiction and primitive civilization.

Written in alternating POV’s from our protagonists Perry and Aria through their trek and survival, was compelling, but I’d much rather have maintained a single voice in the narrative. Though the dual perspective does add layers to the story.

Under the Never Sky Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe Aria/Perry relationship was believable, and even though a slow burn, I felt a little rushed towards the end. Aria learning skill so readily – I would have liked to see her trip up a little more often instead of becoming an instant warrior. But really loved the character development.

Under the Never Sky” gave me the feeling that it was coloured with shades of so many other YA books, and did not feel entirely original. It is gritty and raw with violence and death and although not totally predictable, it failed to give me any surprises.

Veronica Rossi did a good job at setting up the villain Consul Hess. I really did not like him or his motives and am interested to see where the continuing story leads us. (Don’t worry this is no spoiler, we discover early on just how diabolical Hess is.

Would have liked a bit more about the history on how the world became what it is. The reasoning behind the epidemic of DLS felt flimsy at best. The social structure and the fact of two warring civilizations also felt wishy-washy… there seemed little reason they weren’t more aware of each other, especially with the primitive ‘Dwellers’ searching for a cure to DLS and scientific advancements.

Ever Blue? A great myth/quest. Not sure how it could exist given the information we’ve been fed already on the state of the planet. So my hope is that we have naive or unreliable narrators with Aria and Perry and the truth is yet to make some sense, because as it stands, I’m having trouble stomaching the world around them.

I liked where the ending was going, but it lacked punch and didn’t really have me with a burning desire to pick up the sequel, but alas, my nature will force me to see it through to the end. Let’s hope the series improves.

Overall reaction: C’mon… really?

Under the Never Sky Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Under the Never Sky Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.