Monday, February 25, 2013

Through the Ever Night Book Review

Author: Veronica Rossi. Release date: 2013. Publisher: HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780062072061.

Annotation: After her mother’s death and the discovery of Vale’s treachery, Aria and Perry, now the blood lord of the Tides, are living an uneasy existence amongst the people Perry must protect. With the Aether storms worsening and land becoming more scarce for Outsiders, however, Aria and Perry’s situation is further complicated when they decide to seek out the Still Blue: the one area on Earth said to be free of the electrical storms that destroyed civilization.

Personal thoughts: I was a huge fan of Under the Never Sky and have recommended it quite frequently to Hunger Games fans who want something similar, so I was really looking forward to picking up Through the Ever Night. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first novel. I found the whole tribe/survival element of Perry’s role as blood lord and little tedious and I kept waiting for something exciting to happen throughout the first two-thirds of the story. The book does pick up towards the end, which leads me to believe that there is still hope it will be an overall excellent trilogy, but I think the author has a bit of work to do in the final installment. Either way, I will still recommend this series to fans of the dystopian genre. Interesting storyline and likable characters that hold a lot of promise for a strong finish.   

Plot summary: Following their discovery of her mother’s death and of the defeat of his brother Vale, Aria and Perry, now the blood lord of the Tides, are living an uneasy existence amongst the Outsiders. Distrustful of Dwellers, Aria’s new home is far from welcoming, especially since Perry’s new position as ruler of the Tides is shaky at best. Determined to protect his people and make up for his brother’s mistakes, Perry and Aria decide to seek out the Still Blue: the last place on Earth that is said to be free of the Aether storms that increasingly scorch the landscape and everything in its path. The only person who knows where the location of the Still Blue, however, is Sable: the blood lord of the Horns, the tribe that Perry and Aria believe is still holding Perry’s sister Liv captive. To make matters worse, Consul Hess, the leader of the domed-city of Reverie that Aria used to call home, is forcing Aria to provide him the location of the Still Blue, using Perry’s brother Talon as a bargaining chip. As the Tides’ trust of their new blood lord and his dweller girlfriend decreases and the Aether storms get worse and worse, can Aria and Perry discover the location of the one place on Earth where they might be able to survive?

Review: Picking up where the best-selling novel, Under the Never Sky, left off, this second installment in Veronica Rossi’s trilogy doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor but still manages to continue the author’s intriguing tale of danger, love and duty. Unlike the first book, Aria and Perry’s relationship is firmly cemented in Through the Ever Night. What is not cemented, however, is their position in Perry’s tribe, the Tides, of which he finds himself the new blood lord. Readers who have forgotten some of the events of Under the Never Sky will need a little refresher to understand exactly what is going on, because the novel does little to recap what happened previously, potentially leading to some confusion. For those who remember all of the details, and plot twists of the first book, however, the story flows well, expanding on the characters created in Under the Never Sky and adding new elements to the landscape in which they exist. One of the most intriguing parts of Veronica Rossi’s creation, the mysterious and deadly Aether storms, becomes the largest driving force in the plot as Aria and Perry struggle to find a way to free themselves and the Tides from its constant destruction. This focus on the Aether and survival, unfortunately means that some of what was so enjoyable about the first novel, such as Perry and Aria’s developing relationship, the nature of the domed cities and the various inhabitants of the outside world, etc. take the backseat. Some interesting plot twists occur surrounding Perry’s sister Liv and her new home with Sable, the leader of a rival tribe, add entertainment value, but many readers might find themselves longing for the spark of the first book that simply isn’t as apparent in Through the Ever Night. Despite its shortcomings, however, the first two novels in this trilogy will definitely appeal to teens and fans of the dystopian genre. The third and final installment, Into the Still Blue, is set to be released in 2014.

Genre:  Science-Fiction/Dystopian

Reading level: Grade 8+

Similar titles: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Earth’s Children series by Jane Auel, Across the Universe series by Beth Revis, Divergent series by Veronica Roth.   

Themes:  Dystopian, post-apocalyptic, love, loyalty, duty, survival, betrayal.

Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Kirkus, Horn Book, Booklist and VOYA.  

Series Information: Second installment in Under the Never Sky trilogy. First installment, Under the Never Sky, released in 2012. Third installment, Into the Still Blue, set to be released 2014.

Discussion questions:

-          How have Perry and Aria changed since the first novel? Do you like them more or less?

-         Why do you think the Tides were so distrustful of Aria?

-         Do you think Perry is a successful blood lord? Why or why not?

-        Why did Wylan leave?

-         Do you think the Still Blue exists? Do you think Aria and Perry will find it?

-        What would you like to see happen in the third novel?

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