At the beginning of 2012, I didn't know anything about YA books and never perused the teen section of book stores or libraries. I studied English literature and after graduating in 2010, I had a severe case of burn-out and stopped reading altogether.
The only YA books I had any awareness of were Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but this all changed when I came down with a bad case of the flu and was incapacitated for almost two weeks. I passed this miserable time in my life reading several books, including Divergent, Graceling, and Under the Never Sky. What started out as a diversion quickly turned into an endeavor to learn more about YA fiction. It was a turning-point in my life and something that has brought me a great deal of joy. I fell in love with books all over again.
Now it's 2014 and one of the series that had a strong hold over my heart has come to an end. Into the Still Blue was almost everything I hoped it would be. We see the depths of Perry, Roar and Aria's grief as they cope with the loss of a person dear to them, as well as the mounting tension among the Tides as it becomes evident the aether storms are rapidly intensifying and members of the tribe continue to disagree on how to reach the Still Blue and rescue Cinder.
As expected, Rossi's book shines because of her characters. In my opinion, Perry and Roar are among the most well-written male characters I have ever read in any book. Even Soren was a pleasant surprise. They all came full-circle and the transformation all three underwent from the first to third books is stunning. I simply adore Roar's friendship with Perry and Aria. Roar and Perry are like brothers and their struggle to come together after the events of the previous book broke my heart but felt realistic. It makes sense that Roar would take his anger out on Perry because they are family and Perry is the only person left who is strong enough to handle his grief and anger. Then there's Roar and Aria. Their friendship is perfection. It's refreshing to see a meaningful male-female friendship and I'm pleased Rossi kept their relationship platonic throughout this series. Their friendship is never put on the back-burner to the principal romance. It's just as important.
Into the Still Blue is engaging and filled with tension, but I agree with some of the reviews I have read that the pacing of the story is off and the ending felt rushed. I would have liked the climax and conclusion to have been drawn out in more detail. I am also a little bit disappointed with the resolution of Aria's storyline. Perry's story arc culminates to an unthinkable and heartbreaking decision. He's definitely the hero of this entire series and the character who grows and changes the most. I can't say the same for Aria. At one point in the story, Perry makes the observation that Aria is still learning how to be a leader, which implies we haven't seen her full potential. She isn't a weak character and has an active role in the story, but something was definitely missing and I wanted more from her character than what we were given.