by Veronica Rossi
After reading book one back in February 2012, I remember saying that the first book, Under the Never Sky, laid the foundation for a “hopefully even stronger books two.” Alas, Rossi has met my expectations, and I have rated this second installment a full star higher!As new Blood Lord for The Tides, Perry is expected to provide for his people and keep them safe from the ever-increasing danger of the Aether storms; but, how can he do this when it is clear that not everyone trusts his judgment? Meanwhile, under threats from her old enemy, Hess, Aria must find the Clear Blue or Perry’s beloved nephew, Talon, may die at the Governor Hess’s hand.
Installment two has only slightly less action but far more sophisticated character development than book one. The results are that readers quickly become highly invested in the lives of the characters. Rossi has effectively exposed the heart of leader as he is made, and it is an enlightening picture. The reader sees what it must be like for Perry, whose control over his people is tenuous at best. He faces betrayal from some of his tribesmen, especially when he wants to bring Aria to his people as his chosen bride. Perry’s idealistic nature drives him to test the patience of his people again and again, and he learns that hard choices often have to be made to preserve the tribe. Should he bow to the will of his people or rule from his heart? In addition to suffering the pain of betrayal, Perry must face the uncertainty of choices. Should he prepare the people to leave or prepare crops for a coming year? How will he face his own self-doubt and at the same time inspire the confidence of his people? Should the love of his people trump his love for Aria? No less significant is Aria’s growth. Her relationship with Roar is refreshing—a male-female friendship based on mutual trust and respect without any romantic overtones—the type of relationship not often seen in YA fiction but a healthy relationship nonetheless. Aria is no longer the meek, helpless dweller she was when she first came from the dome, and her willingness to embark on a dangerous mission without Perry to save the life of a stranger proves her resourcefulness. She also faces former enemies, like Soren, with a new perspective that allows her to see him for what he is and not what she imagined him to be. Aria has evolved into a young woman finally capable of surviving reality—something necessary in this changing world. It will be interesting to see if Aria becomes Perry’s counterpart in book three, the leader of the now-abandoned Dwellers, or if the two will reunite and pursue their romance once more. Either way, my faith in Rossi has been redeemed. I look forward to reading book three, and hope that it earns yet another coveted Scribble!