Book Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night, the sequel to Veronica Rossi’s wonderful post-apocalyptic debut, Under the Never Sky, more than lives up to the first book. I went into this novel fully expecting it to be amazing, but somehow Rossi has trumped herself with better writing, higher stakes action, and good lord SO MUCH SEXINESS.
We jump right in to the meat of the story as Perry, now Blood Lord of the Tides, reunites with Aria after months apart. When he brings her back to his tribe, they are less than welcoming to a half-Dweller, half-Aud. Aria is still at the mercy of the Dweller leader who banished her to the “death shop” in book one. He’s holding Perry’s nephew Talon over her, forcing her to embark on a dangerous search for the Still Blue—a place rumored to be free of Aether. Relationships and loyaties are tested as the Aether storms worsen and Dwellers, Savages and everyone in between become increasingly desperate and dangerous.
I knew Perry was rugged and brave and smoking hot, etc, but in this book he is tested like never before as he tries to be the leader his people need—but may not necessarily want—in this difficult time. Aether storms are obliterating their food sources, an increasing number of displaced people are on the move and desperate enough to raid his settlement, and everyone in the tribe has an opinion on his leadership, Aria’s presence, and what they should do to protect the tribe.
The romance between Perry and Aria is even better than in book one. This seems completely impossible, given that they fell in love in book one, going from total revulsion to practically making babies. How could you beat that post-apocalyptic Pride & Prejudice love story? Somehow their romance is even sweeter and more intense with time. Their attraction and genuine admiration for each other shines through every interaction in this book. At times the moments between them are full of simmering passion, and other times they are bittersweet and painful. So many life-altering events happen for Perry and Aria in this installment, and more than a few times I was clutching my ARC with dagger nails, hoping the worst wasn’t going to happen—and by worst I don’t just mean death, but pretty much anything that could threaten their relationship. Both Perry and Aria grow so much, and it’s nice to see them grow as individuals, not as fused-at-the-hip couples that so often arise in YA lit.
We get a very large and welcome dose of Roar in this installment. Oh, Roar. I want to hug you and sing duets with you (even though I’m tone deaf), and travel through Aether-ridden lands with you being all touchy-feely.
New supporting characters popped up and wormed their way into my heart as well, particularly some of the Tides who are resolutely loyal to Perry. I already know Rossi can be a ruthless murderer of her characters, so I’m kind of afraid to care about these new guys & gals too much, but I already do.
Another unexpected strength of this novel is how realistic Rossi is about human nature. There are not really any moustache-twirling pure evil villains, but rather men and women who are calculating and survivalist; who for various reasons, have advantages at their disposal and use them, no matter who they have to steamroll in the process. We also see the transformation and forgiveness of characters I would have assumed were beyond redemption. I love when that happens in novels because it shows how roles are never cast in stone, and it reminds you that people can choose to become better, just as they can slide from goodness into cruelty.
Another added bonus: we finally get some explanation about the Aether and how it came to be, and a bit more background on the Unity. That being said, this is still not a science heavy sci-fi/post-apocalyptic book. But it really doesn’t need to be—this world is beyond science, more like a strange hi-tech fantasy, full of mutations that verge on magic and inexplicably interconnected forces. I have no idea if the world-building I’m being sold makes any kind of damn sense, but I know I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
What I love about Rossi’s writing is that there’s never a word wasted. Even the slower parts of the book are full of rich character moments that feel indispensable. She strikes the perfect balance between high octane action, suspense and emotional development.
I will SO be on board for Into the Still Blue, and will probably be giving Through the Ever Night a re-read during the interminable wait for its release.
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