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Into the Still Blue

Into the Still Blue - Veronica Rossi Early reviews of this book had me worried, so the main thing I want to impart to other anxious readers is that reading this book is safe.

I can trace my dislike of YA trilogy finales to Mockingjay, which emotionally devastated me and left me feeling gross and irritated for days after I flipped the last page. I learned my lesson. After being alarmed by the escalating death toll and joyless tone of Insurgent, I severed my investment to the series, which wound up being good foresight. Everything goes to hell.

So, after reading the disappointed reviews of a few respected and trusted bloggers, I considered passing on Into the Still Blue, but, in the end, had to read it. I mean, I must have gone through the first two books at least five times each, AND inhaled every character interview Rossi ever bequeathed on a blog tour. So, I read it.

Having finished Into the Still Blue, I can understand where the initial disappointment is coming from. In my opinion, this final installment is the weakest in the series, overall and in each broken-down category — character development, plot, pacing, setting detail, and the amount of eminently re-readable passages. The upside to this book is that it won’t bum out the fans of the series. The downside lies in how much better the book could have been.

Maybe the difficulty of writing the finale, the challenges of tying up all the loose ends, took its toll on Rossi. The confidence that was present in the writing of Under the Never Sky and burst through the pages of Through the Ever Night, is palpably missing in this installment. The point-of-view shifts are choppier, the dialogue is noticeably blander, and I found myself bored and speed-reading through a large part of book’s middle, when I really should have been on the edge of my seat. I agree with another reviewer who pointed out that the scattered character deaths and key moments of the plot were quickly passed over, holding little emotional resonance or suspense. This, especially, was surprising, as a real strength of Rossi is writing emotionally powerful scenes and bits of dialogue that you can really linger over.

There are a few of these superb moments in Into the Still Blue, when our characters are allowed to catch a breath from the feverish plot. Any scene with Talon in it is priceless, and Perry and Aria continue to be fantastic protagonists and have boiling romantic tension. A particular highlight for me was seeing Aria come into her own as a leader, giving Perry some much needed backup. Her facility with language is a trait that has carried through the series; a prolonged source of humor in this installment is her ability to crumble Soren's fractious uprisings with just a few words. Fans of Roar won’t be disappointed either, although the events of the second book have dampened his spunk.

These thoughtful, more unhurried passages, are where Into the Still Blue gets to shine, but ultimately the book can’t live up to the the delightful Under the Never Sky and the powerhouse Through the Ever Night. As a fan of the series, I’m a little disappointed, but definitely not upset. The best scenario from here, I figure, is for Rossi to release an upbeat, post-finale short story in the next few months. With no Brooke in it.