It's not often that a sequel outshines its predecessor, but with Through the Ever Night, it seems to be the general consensus. We've had a few examples here and there, and they've all proved to be pretty memorable, but I don't think I've ever seen a case quite like this. Don't get me wrong - I loved Under the Never Sky, it was fresh and dynamical and it left a lasting impression, but due to its intensity, Through the Ever Night is far more remarkable. Rossi has grown more confident as a writer, the success of her debut has done her a world of good, and her newly found self-assurance shines from every page. As with everything else, the attitude makes so much difference, it's a well-known fact, and Rossi now firmly stands on her own two feet. I believe we can expect great things from her.
I deem it necessary to mention that the book is perfectly paced. Like its predecessor, it's told from both Aria and Perry's point of view, and while third person alternating view is by far my least favorite narrative mode, Rossi made it work splendidly. I can't imagine Through the Ever Night told any other way.
It goes without saying that things never go smoothly for Perry and Aria. Theirs is a romance I'm very fond of and left to their own devices, they would be no more than a step away from their happily ever after. However, there's not one, but two worlds between them: Aria's Dwellers would never accept someone like Peregrine, a savage by their standards, and his Tides have nothing but insults for Aria, with only a few exceptions.
Even though their feelings for each other are constantly being put to the test, through it all, they both grow tremendously as individuals. Aria is nothing like that pale, scared girl from Under the Never Sky. She is confident, fierce, a strong Aud and a good friend. All her attitudes and prejudices are gone. There is both strength and grace in her gait she didn't possess before, and she certainly knows what to do with a knife. But there are also changes on the inside - she cares for people differently and she values different things.
Changes on Perry are perhaps less evident, but they are just as big. Through his responsibility toward his tribe and more losses than he can count, he gained a somber maturity that he lacked before. His every step, every single word carries more weight, and each decision he makes shapes the lives of many. He is a far cry from that rash, headstrong boy we remember from Under the Never Sky, and if I had to choose one thing that really stands out in this book, it would be his characterization - the subtle changes found between the lines, but perhaps more important for the remainder of the story than everything else put together.
There are things in Through the Ever Night that will make you laugh, things that will make you cry, things that will make you inch up nervously in your seat, some that will make you angry enough to punch something (hopefully not someone, though), and things that will make you swoon. Now, aren't those signs of a perfect read?
I think you've all noticed that my five star ratings are few and far between, but a book that had... HAS such a tight hold on my heart, that still lingers in my mind even though it's been weeks since I'd finished it, definitely deserves my wholehearted support. Veronica Rossi does, too. While the ending was open, but entirely satisfactory, Into the Still Blue can't come soon enough. I will be right here, nervously biting my nails until it does.show more
by Gael Murray