Rating: 3.5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. 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.
Overall, I was pretty impressed in how it all tied up. Unlike so many conclusions to YA series, the ending did not feel rushed or too slow, but contrary to popular expectations (mostly mine) the ending was bittersweet in all the right ways, and none in the annoying factors.
People died, people lived, and I was actually shocked by who did or did not die. For example, one character in particular I was almost positive was going to bite it, but did not. The reason I thought this was because – from my experience in reading series such as these – is that when a certain character – main or secondary, but most secondary – tend to have certain things happen to them (bad things, mostly) and they then react badly to it, they tend to die at the end. The reason I think this happens is because authors – as we all do – fall in love with their own characters. And when too much is thrown at a certain character, sometimes it can seem easier to just kill them (as horrible as that sounds) because it seems easier than to end the novel without a happy ending for them, when you know as the author that it just isn’t going to happen. So, when an author is forced to choose between killing that character off or giving them a less-than-perfect ending, it feels better to simply make them bite it.
And this has always been annoying to me. One, because I see it coming from a mile away; two, because when a character that an author knows readers care about dies, I believe there better be a pretty darn good reason for it, besides that it’s either their death or a less-than-perfect ending; three, because I feel that the reason an author does it is to get an emotion response from the reader, which is fine in a sense (I mean, come on, it’s a death of a beloved character we’re talking about) but also isn’t because it feels like the quick and easy way to get it.
When I say this, I don’t mean that characters can’t die – secondary or otherwise – without it being a cheep way to get a emotional response. But when the only emotional response I’m having to a book is hinging on a death of character, that I have a problem with. I want to feel a lot more emotions before then, besides the cheep ones.
That was the highlight of this book for me. Nothing that happened – particularly who did or did not die – did not seem like the cheep way out. It was heavy at times, which I respect.
What did not work for me was Aria and Perry’s romance. This is not a very memorable novel to me. Usually, for the last in a series, I would be quick to grab this last installment and finish the series, but here, I just didn’t really care when I would get to it. Not once in any point of this series did I particularly care, or feel anything other than mild disdain for Aria and Perry’s relationship. Firstly, because there doesn’t seem to be anything about the two of them that makes them stand out as a great couple in the sea of YA romances.
In other words, they’re boring.
Next thing would be the side characters. There are too many of them and every name is stranger than the last. I was trying so hard to remember who was who, but honestly, the only names I could get straight were Aria, Perry, Roar, and Cinder. The rest were lost to me.
I also couldn’t care less abut any of them. They could die or not die, and I didn’t particularly care. They were simply there for background noise, and I have a hard disdain for novels that have so many side characters that we know almost nothing about, besides the boring, cliché things. Like they grew up with Perry and Roar. Whatever. I don’t care. It’s the same story in so many other YA novels.
I also had an issue with the writing. It’s nothing memorable and while it’s a quick read, I also didn’t like that about it. There was no meat to it, if that makes sense.
Anymore I feel like authors feel like they can’t write a novel without having some great MEANING behind a scene or paragraph. So what happens is that every once in a while there will be a paragraph describing everyone’s FEELINGS. And how their feelings are COMPLICATED. And it will be one big mess of I-don’t-care and can-we-move-on.
Shoot me now.
Some of the quotes are down-right eye roll worthy. I don’t mind cheesy quotes every now and then, but it was a little ridiculous. The only good quotes came from Roar (no surprise there) and (sometimes) Soren. There was even some quick humor thrown in, which was nice.
“What brought you out here Aria?” he asked.
She looked up, right into his eyes. “I needed to find you.”
“I know,” he said. “The second I left you, I felt the same way.”
Besides that, I do have to say I’m a little proud of Aria. When I first started the series, she annoyed me to no end. Weak, too-trusting in a untrustworthy world, everything about her was a beacon of annoying for me. But, dang, the girl grew. She’s now more of a kick-butt heroine, but I’m still not a fan of her. She got better, but is nothing memorable to me.
I think that’s my biggest issue. Nothing about this series is memorable. I will most likely forget all about it in the next few days, and will never think upon it again.