Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
Into the Still Blue was one of my most anticipated 2014 releases. In a year that was awash with Young Adult dystopians, it's one of the few series that I felt so strongly positive about, and even read the first two books back to back - something that sadly happens rarely for me anymore.
One thing that I really wished I had done before starting to read Into the Still Blue was refresh my memory on what had happened in the previous two books as Rossi doesn't include a lot of recap - there are a few, but they weren't enough to jog my memory enough. I can recommend two options for getting back into the swing of the series - the first is to check out the recaps at The Recaptains (my personal method), or take a leaf out of Gillian at Writer of Wrongs' book and BINGE READ ALL THE BOOKS. I was about 20% into Into the Still Blue before I read the recap, and that's what really stopped me from getting right into the story - so if you've got a memory like mine, you know your options. And now, back to the book.
Into the Still Blue picks up shortly after Through the Ever Night ends - Perry, Aria and the gang are holed up in the caves, trying to help the Dwellers acclimatise to life outside and decide on their next move. The aether storms are increasing in intensity, food is running out, and the Tides can't stay in one place forever. Using Soren's skills, the gang break into Sable and Hess's compound and attempt to steal enough ships to transport The Tides to the Still Blue after rescuing Cinder.
The plot moves along quite quickly - there are lots of intense scenes between Aria, Roar, Perry, Sable and Hess, and even during periods of 'down-time', emotions run high and it's easy to get swept away in the storyline.
As in any stressful situation, a lot of the relationships between the key characters become strained - and all of those interactions feel very realistic and intense - and although I've got a soft spot for Roar that is only made stronger in his grief, Aria and Perry's relationship continues to grow as they face tougher and tougher decisions. There are some particularly touching scenes towards the end of the book as they need to make decisions that may not be the best for their relationship but for the greater good of the Tides. I really liked this focus because I felt invested in ALL of the characters, rather than just the romance.
It was the last 25% of Into the Still Blue that really worked for me - and although that's not perhaps the best 'advertising' for the book, it's really a testament for how Rossi built up to the climax of the series. And yes, it's the ending of a trilogy, which is never an easy read - I was actually quite scared of reading this book and seeing how the story concluded.
But if you're feeling hesitant about reading the last book in this series, I can honestly say this is one of the best series endings that I've read for a very long time - the climax is intense and perfectly scripted, the characters really show their true strengths and their bonds with each other, and it's just damn bloody satisfying.