Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky 3)
By: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
|Summary: The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s “masterpiece” Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (Examiner.com).
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.
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.
Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because 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.
In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.
Review: SO many conclusions of trilogies have left me disappointed at the end, but worry not, this book wasn’t one of them. I will say I wasn’t crazy about all the drama in the beginning, and I was a bit disappointed about what happened with HIM at the end. But I’ll give it 4 stars.
The beginning kind of annoyed the hell out of me. I felt Roar’s pain – although I kind of wished he wasn’t such a jackass right from the start – but I understand there is just other way to portray that kind of grief. But I just dreaded what was to come because I just knew such raw emotion wasn’t going to lead to good things. However, I was so angry with Perry. I understand doing what you think is best for your people, but gah, at least behind closed doors, yell or hit something. I mean, we got to see from his point of view, and his character was just unnaturally calm. I just felt it was cowardly of him not to face Roar and Aria and everything else (of course, that’s the point of his character development, but that’s beside the point – it still frustrated me, LOL).
I would have easily given the majority of the book five stars. Was it totally mind-blowing? Probably not. But it was one hell of a third book. There was plenty of action. There was a lot of planning and plotting. There were scenes that you saw coming, and others that you did not. People left you guessing which side they were really on. And you kept wondering if something that happened REALLY happened or if it was a front, and it was going to turn around and blow you away. Really, the book wasn’t totally unpredictable, but the pace kept your interest, and really, it was the anticipation of what was going to happen next – that was what really sucked you in.
My biggest complaint was the end. No, it wasn’t one of those endings that left you totally pissed off at the book – ahem, Delirium – ahem, Hunger Games. Nope, I guess I was fine with the way it ended. It was just what happened with HIM. I didn’t feel that Rossi did much justice to it – everything that had led up to that point – it just felt kind of anticlimactic that you’re left wondering, “What? That’s it? But, but…” It was still good enough to where it didn’t totally ruin the book for me, but still.
Overall, this is probably one of the best conclusions that I have read in a while, especially since everything is a series now, and the authors (or publisher) drag the story out so long that you’re just ready for the series to end, and the last book is just a lame attempt to tie together lose ends. But this one was quite “earth-shattering” mostly because of Roar. Regardless of what you thought about annoying characters or why something was done, I don’t think this book is going to disappoint many.
By: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
|Summary: Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
Review: So the first part of the “Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy” is a bit of a stretch, but who the heck cares. It was beautiful. It was amazing. And it was absolutely wonderful. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
If you think this is your typical adaptation of the classic fairytale, think again. “Cruel Beauty” is a beautifully written masterpiece that tells the amazing tale of duty, love and betrayal, where Hodge has managed to weave in the concepts of ancient kingdoms and haunting shadows and demons with the folklore of traditional and elaborated Greek mythology. It will truly transform the way you’ve always viewed “Beauty and the Beast” with so much more.
One of the reasons why this book was so great was because it didn’t start out with an innocent Cinderella who remains pure-hearted and selfless despite her cruel and unfair situation. While she remained composed, Nyx’s heart was full of built-up anger and resentment – and who could blame her. And I admired how, despite her frightening surroundings, Nyx never put up with any nonsense from Ignifex or anyone else.
You would think that you’d know how the story would go, but this book was far from predictable. Right off the bat, I was thrown into the twist called “Shade,” and it really bugged me (in a good way) that I couldn’t figure it out or couldn’t decide if I could trust.
And that wasn’t the only puzzle. Hodge had masterfully woven in stories that we grew up with – Greek mythology, lesson-teaching tales, anecdotal folklore – giving “Cruel Beauty” so much more meaning. The stories were told at just the right time, truly symbolic of the situation at hand. And what’s more, Hodge dropped hints all throughout the book – some you pick up on and some you don’t – leading us to believe that she took careful planning to this intricate plot she has set forth. And when you figure it out – either way before or when it’s actually presented – you’re left with this sense of awe.
It wasn’t hard to be emotionally wrapped up with the characters in this book. I loved Nyx – her spunky attitude, her wittiness, her desire to do what’s right despite the consequences. And no matter what, I couldn’t hate Ignifex. He had a great mix of cockiness and sincerity. Even Shade and Astraia – I understood their role in the book and sympathized with each and every one of them. So when it came time for Nyx to leave, my heart just broke. And it broke a little more each step of the way.
I can’t tell you the way it ended, but the last few scenes really brought the whole story home. It was then that you learn about everything that you had missed and you realize just how truly how amazing this story was and how perfectly Hodge had set up everything leading up to this moment. It was truly magical.
All in all, I’m sure you can’t possibly tell how much I loved this story from all the gushing I just did. It was truly one of the best books I have read in a while – not only because of the story, but also because of the beautiful way it was written and the intricate details and symbolic anecdotes that Hodge took such great care in weaving into the story. This was a truly a masterpiece, and I am more than eager to read Hodge’s future works.