This conclusion to the Under the Never Sky trilogy begins as increasingly destructive electromagnetic Aether storms ravage the landscape.
Desperate, Perry and Aria decide to use hovercraft to transport the surviving members of the Tides tribe and the Dweller population to the mythic Still Blue, a region rumored to be free of storms. Hijacking the hovercraft from the bloodthirsty rival Horn tribe leader’s control will require combining Aria’s Dweller technological knowledge with Perry’s Tides wilderness survival skills. But uniting the Dwellers and Tides demands painful personal sacrifices from the two inexperienced young leaders. Here, the inventive worldbuilding of the first two novels is replaced by a heavy reliance on contrivances—the origin of the Aether storms is too easily explained, yet the improbable existence of the Still Blue remains mysterious. The novel focuses largely on Perry’s and Aria’s struggles to balance their personal feelings with their leadership responsibilities. Unfortunately, their increasingly repetitive inner monologues, while believable, offer few surprises for returning readers. The attempts at increasing suspense by injecting jealous tension between Perry and Aria falls flat, as the previous novels so firmly established their strong commitment to each other. Several other emotional moments, including a revelation about Aria’s father, feel more distractingly melodramatic than necessary.
In spite of the shortcomings, loyal fans will still enjoy the (predictably) happy ending. (Science fiction. 12-18)