3.5 out of 5 aether-clogged stars
Don’t get me wrong. This had a lot of plot, but I was a little underwhelmed. I’d hoped the 2nd book would blow me out of the water, what with its 4.19 Goodreads rating. You may remember my review of the previous one, where I was very irritated by Perry’s flip-flopping over Aria. Same issue with this book, only different people. Let me back up, though. And do not read this if you haven’t read the first one – because major spoilers for the first book are scattered throughout this!
This is the 2nd book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy. In the first, Aria was exiled and met up with Perry, who is now Blood Lord of the Tides tribe. Aria has been ordered to find the Still Blue, a mythical place where there is no aether, just blue sky. Hess, the head of security, has threatened the safety of her friends, especially Talon, Perry’s nephew, if she doesn’t. Rumors have said for years that Sable, the Blood Lord of the Rim tribe knows where it is. Well, it just so happens that Liv, Perry’s sister, was betrothed to Sable… only she ran off, so… yeah. Don’t see why he’d be eager to help out the Tides or a pod dweller, for that matter. However, he’s “their only hope”, as has been so dramatically said before.
Perry has finally settled on loving Aria. (Like we didn’t see that coming) but she knows there are too many obstacles for the Tides to just roll over and accept her. And she’s right. Things are kinda disastrous when she’s brought into the compound, despite having Roar and Perry’s backing. The aether storms are still coming and getting stronger, food is tight, and all anyone sees when they look at her is a child stealer (Perry’s brother, Vale, basically sold people to the pods for experimentation, which is how Talon wound up in Hess’s clutches.) So Perry’s authority is stretched pretty thin.
There is a lot of great character dynamic in this story. We have Perry’s guard, the 6 men whose loyalty he won in the wilds. Reef, their leader, keeps reminding Perry what he owes the tribe, that he’s a leader now, and maybe Aria is more trouble than she’s worth. Brook is pissed as hell, and doesn’t give a damn that Aria’s audile ability lets her hear every nasty word Brook says behind her back. There’s Bear, who just wants to do his job, and needs more hands to do it – the problem is, there are no more hands. The aether storms are destroying their arable land and housing. So Perry has a lot of weight on his shoulders. The constant pushing and pulling and digs at his age and ability as Blood Lord make him question his ability.
In this installment, Perry and Aria spend most of the time apart, and that gives the author room to plant lots of seeds of doubt and do more flipflopping. I didn’t like it. I felt there was a lot of reader manipulation going on. The romantic obstacles felt very forced and too easily changed or overcome. Thus, the feeling of being manipulated.
I did enjoy the part where Roar and Aria were in the Rim’s land. I LOVED the Roar/Aria dynamic. It’s so great to have a good male/female friendship, or friendship of any kind – and they were pretty kick-ass. There was a lot of action and double dealing, twists and surprises. But for some reason, the plot was overshadowed by the heavy handed romantic stuff. I still care what happens to these folks and I am looking forward to the third book. But so far, this is a 3.5 rated series for me.