Rossi returns to her dystopia, in which main characters Aria and Peregrine fight for survival in the face of unpredictable forces (Under the Never Sky, 2012).
An orphan now living outside of her domed home, Aria is dependent on her new allies, the same people she once regarded as incorrigible savages. Having defeated his brother in the first book of the series, Perry is now Blood Lord, but he has yet to earn the fierce loyalty he yearns for from his people. Rossi splits her storytelling between each of these two characters’ perspectives, but the resulting narrative is less engaging than readers may expect. Reminders of what has already passed are sparse; readers may have trouble orienting themselves. Driving action is limited during the first half of the book, until an incident in which Aria falls victim to treachery. This critical moment precedes a second half that is rife with twists and turns. The emotional voltage ramps up too, as characters grapple with betrayal, loss and temptation. The relationship between Aria and Perry, however, soars on a nearly unbroken trajectory throughout the story, dampening the excitement for readers with its predictability.
Though it takes too long to get started, it delivers compelling drama in the end; whether that’s enough to keep fans engaged for Into the Still Blue (coming in 2014) is debatable. (Dystopian romance. 14 & up)