Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

I don't know why I put "Through the Ever Night" off for a month. Maybe it's because there's always that trend where a lot of sequels in YA trilogies are really just points of rest and development of more boring aspects for the authors. Or maybe it's because I read the first book, "Under the Never Sky" too long ago to remember what really happened--or it wasn't as memorable. But I finally ended up downloading it onto my Kindle, and found myself pleasantly enjoying it!

It's been months since Aria and Perry were together. Their love is still strong, but their reunion is far from perfect. Perry is now the Blood Lord of the Tides, who don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller who's also been charged with the near impossible mission of finding the Still Blue. With the worsening Aether storms threatening everyone's existence and causing tensions to run even higher than before, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry might be the only way to save them both. Aria and Perry are stuck in lands charged with fear and chaos, but can their love survive through the ever night?

I think the main reason I never really, really got into the first two books of the "Under the Never Sky" trilogy was the two protagonists. Aria is strong, determined and witty at times, but I never felt a real connection to her. Instead, she's a generally likable heroine who does the right things, but there's not a real spark or quirk about her that made me want to meet her in real life. Same goes for Perry. It might be because he's going through a hard time dealing with his new responsibility as the Blood Lord of the Tides, but I found him just serious pretty much throughout the entire novel and slightly boring. This is particularly a bit of a let down because the chapters are told from their points of view, and while it was interesting to see what was happening, it was more the events of the story rather than the characters themselves who kept me flipping through the page. It's a little disappointing because Ms. Rossi has set them up with great backgrounds and they have a lot of potential to be genuinely interesting, compelling characters, but they're ultimately a little bit too serious for my tastes--they're only teenagers, for goodness' sake! I understand that they're dealing with a lot to be carefree, laidback, normal teens, but a little humour or some sort of spark now and then might've helped.

That being said, a couple of characters really picked things up for me throughout the story: Roar and Liv. To me, Roar is the one with that 'spark' I keep talking about, someone who's strong yet vulnerable, funny yet serious, someone who has a lot of layers to him that I enjoyed peeling off as the book progressed. His loyalty for his friends is admirable as well, but it was his undying love for Liv that really clinched it for me--she's the source of his strength and his vulnerability, his driving force. And when I finally met the girl that had remained simply a name and a part of someone's story in "Under the Never Night", everything became that much more real. Liv is a character who actually almost shines in the book, someone whose willpower, strength and love is not only the driving force for Roar, but also for a large portion of the book itself. I loved the romance between Roar and Liv, and one of the things that I look forward to reading about in the final book of the trilogy is how everything (unfortunately must be vague because I don't want to spoil anything!) plays out.

One of the greatest things about the "Under the Never Sky" trilogy is its amazing world-building. The whole concept of the Aether and the Realms of the Dwellers is unique. You don't get any of the typical blood-sucking vampires or wars between two different groups of people here. Instead, you have the pods where the Dwellers live, shutting out the outside world in fear and complacency. You have the 'savage' tribes that have to deal with the consequences of the Aether, an almost otherworldly storm that perpetually looms above them, on a daily basis. And then there's the Still Blue--the fabled oasis and refuge that both the Dwellers and the tribes can only dream about. Ms. Rossi has definitely done an incredible job with constructing such a unique and beautiful world--the colours on the cover do it justice!

The plot of "Through the Ever Night", to me, was a lot more interesting and engaging than that of "Under the Never Sky". There's a lot that happens to Perry and Aria, both when they're together and separate, and watching the struggles of the Tides and the journey to find the location of the Still Blue from both of their perspectives at the same time really helped to build up the story. And the ending! The ending of this sequel really upped the ante, and it's the perfect segue into the final book in the trilogy.

All in all, "Through the Ever Night" is an exciting sequel to "Under the Never Sky", with compelling characters, an amazing world and an engaging storyline, despite the lack of a real 'spark' in the characters of the two protagonists. I'd definitely give the novel a go, as well as the entire series if you haven't read it yet and like dystopian/fantasy books! The final book is bound to be an explosion of tension and adventure--I really look forward to it!

Rating: 4/5

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