Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT by Veronica Rossi

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, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.
Oh, guys.

Most of you probably weren't here at the time, but Under the Never Sky (UtNS) was one of the first books I ever reviewed. It was so pretty. (The book, not my review. I still shudder when I look at my wonky formatting.) I fell in love with Perry and his world, with Aria and her feistiness, and with those darn charismatic cannibals.

I'm sorry to say that the Croven do not appear in the sequel, but many other familiar faces do return to great effect. As always, the bulk of the review is below the jump break, but let me just tell you all right now that it was good. It was ALL THE FEELS good.
Through the Ever Night (TtEN) picks right up where UtNS left off. Aria and Perry meet for the first time after Aria returns from Reverie. Though no time has passed, so much has changed. Aria is under orders from Hess to search for the Still Blue. Perry is Blood Lord of the Tides and struggling to earn their respect.

Whereas UtNS was about survival and righting wrongs, TtEN is all about burdens. Aria and Perry are barely given ten minutes to kiss hello before Perry's responsibilities interfere. Reef, head of the Six (Perry's inner circle), wants Perry to return to the Tides before the "Mole" (Aria) gets him in trouble. Perry hadn't bothered to tell his people he'd found himself a girlfriend while away.

Oh gosh, you guys. I knew what I was getting into right there. I knew this book would try me emotionally, so I wasn't caught off-guard when Aria suggests to Perry that they pretend to be merely allies in front of the Tides. But oh, the stuff they go through! THE FEELS!

Let's just say the Tides aren't all that welcoming to Aria, given that she had been a member of the same people group who had kidnapped/bought Tide children for testing. Snide remarks, name-calling, and rudeness abound, which is bad enough even if you aren't an Aud who can hear everything. I personally wanted to push Brooke (remember Brooke?) off a cliff.

Then again, they aren't all that welcoming to Perry either. Despite the crimes that Vale committed before his death, the tribe misses his steady leadership and eyes Perry distrustfully. They argue with him at every turn, pestering him to answer for the failing crops and increasing Aether storms. Even when he does the right thing, they paint him as foolhardy, brash, and unfit to lead.

Doesn't sound like much of an adventure, does it? Burdens and responsibilities tempered with infighting and cold shoulders don't usually make for a quick read. Believe me, I gobbled down TtEN in 24 hours, but it's definitely a different book than UtNS.

The first book is a quest book. They're traveling, marking miles to Marron and then to Reverie. It gives the entire story a sense of progress, as danger and excitement spring up at every turn. TtEN is more sedentary. Don't get me wrong, it's still a harrowing book. Big, intense things happen, things that left me holding my breath. (Perry and Aria both almost die in separate incidents in the first half of the book!) But not only are they spoiler-y things that I can't say much about, but they have a different feel than the big things in the first book. In some cases, yes, the stake is individual lives. (See previous parenthetical statement.) But more often the stake is power, responsibility, relationships, or collective lives. If Perry makes the wrong choice, his tribe might desert him. People in his care might die. If Aria makes the wrong choice, she could lose Perry. She could cost Perry his tribe. Talon and the other children in Reverie might die. The stakes are bigger and therefore heavier.

That's not to say there isn't some traveling. Finding the Still Blue is still the main goal, and its pursuit takes Roar and Aria to Sable's territory. Sable, in case you all don't remember, is Liv's intended. Is not was. That's right, you guys, we get to meet Liv! Unfortunately, meeting Liv involves a lot of angst and sorrow on Roar's part.

Oh, you guys, Roar. I'm such a Perry girl. I love him even though he cut off his dreadlocks. I feel for him as he rocks under the force of Aria's emotions. Ms. Rossi explores a little more of what it really means for Perry to be rendered to Aria in TtEN and it's all so intense. But ROAR. I didn't pay much attention to him in UtNS, but he completely stole the show for me in the sequel. I even found myself pondering a possibility of an Aria-Roar match. (Not that that'll happen, so simmer down. Still, they're awfully cute together.)

I usually hate middle books. They're often fraught with angst and turmoil and end in some frustrating cliffhanger that makes me want to throw my book at the wall... or the author. But not this book, no sirree. There is angst. There is turmoil. And there is a cliffhanger ending. But it's all wrapped in such careful tie-ins to the previous book, so many wonderful characters (including those I had previously sworn to hate), and such genuine feeling.

Through the Ever Night stopped my heart half a dozen times and broke it half a dozen times more. With this book, Ms. Rossi has raised the bar, and I can't wait to see how she surpasses herself in the next installment.

Points Added For: Excellent action, realistically exploring the difficulties of certain relationships, finally explaining the Aether more fully, better world-building, ROAR.

Points Subtracted For: There's a major cliffhanger ending, but that's to be expected in a middle book.

Good For Fans Of: Under the Never Sky, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, feels.

Notes For Parents: Language, violence, making out, death. (There may have been some drinking, but I don't remember.)

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