Always About Us

Roar and Liv by Veronica Rossi

Release Date: October 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 68 pages
Series: Under the Never Sky #0.5
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle e-book
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
After a childhood spent wandering the borderlands, Roar finally feels like he has a home with the Tides. His best friend Perry is like a brother to him, and Perry's sister, Liv, is the love of his life. But Perry and Liv's unpredictable older brother, Vale, is the Blood Lord of the Tides, and he has never looked kindly on Roar and Liv's union. Normally, Roar couldn't care less about Vale's opinion. But with food running low and conditions worsening every day, Vale's leadership is more vital - and more brutal - than ever. Desperate to protect his tribe, Vale makes a decision that will shatter the life Roar knew and change the fate of the Tides forever.

Thoughts on Roar and Liv
I fell in love with Roar in Under the Never Sky, and I was dying to learn more about him. Despite the fact that it was almost $3 for 68 pages, I decided to actually buy this e-novella. I think this is a fairly recent phenomenon in Young Adult, but I've noticed more and more e-novellas released recently. While I understand the appeal for the publisher, I haven't been convinced to buy one until now. By their very nature, they aren't "necessary" to the story. It's a series extra - something that potentially fleshes out a certain character - but isn't going to affect a reader's understanding of the story if it isn't read.

While I wanted to love Roar and Liv, I really just wanted more at the end of the day. The pages just flew by, and I was incredibly disappointed with the novella when I was done. It's not that I didn't love the characters or the writing because they were just as great as I remembered from Under the Never Sky. It was more that I had the feeling like I'd paid for something that was extraneous and did little to nothing to further the story.

Roar and Liv was actually set before the events of Under the Never Sky, so it's really more of a prequel. The book gives you a little insight into Roar and Liv's relationship leading up to Liv being promised to Sable, the leader of the Horns tribe. It ends when Liv runs away during their journey to deliver her to the tribe. It gives you all the background that happened before Roar joins Perry and Aria in Under the Never Sky.

Since Roar's search for Liv becomes even more important in Through the Ever Night, I did appreciate that I had a little more insight into their relationship. However, it was really a surface-level type look at their relationship. You don't get their full history, and it left me feeling like it was just a teaser. I so wanted to love this novella, but I didn't really think it was worth the cost. If it had been $0.99 then I'd absolutely recommend checking it out before starting Through the Ever Night. As it was, I think it's safe to pass on this novella without missing out on much.

So Quotable
"I'd never seen a decent example of a husband. What I've seen are men who shine like silver at first, then tarnish and eventually disappear. Is marriage something that has to be taught, or can you learn it by ear?

"You're part of me, Olivia. Anything that involves you is always about us."

"My ambitions aren't grand. All I have ever wanted is to be there for the two people who mean everything to me. Maybe that's a small goal to others, but it's always felt like enough."


  1. That's too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations! I'm looking forward to reading it, since I just finished Under the Never Sky last night. I love Roar and really want to see more about his relationship with Liv! I do love that this story has characters I'm fond of ... sometimes novellas bring in such minor characters that I don't find myself connecting with them at all.

    Great review, Hannah!

    1. I think it's hard with e-novellas. Rossi's writing is still amazing, and I obviously loved the characters. But it just felt so short for what it cost, that it was hard not to be disappointed in it. I DO think it added a little depth to book two since I had a better idea of Roar and Liv's background, which does play a part in Through the Ever Night.

      Thanks so much :)

  2. Aww, sucks that you were disappointed in the end. I really enjoyed Roar and Liv, and didn't think it was TOO short -- especially compared to some other e-novellas out there (*ahem*Delirium*ahem*).

    I do agree that paying $3 for something like this is a tease and sometimes not worth it. I really appreciate the publishers (Macmillan) who just let us read these kinds of stories for free, or use it to build hype. Like when the book/series' Facebook page gets 100K Likes, they'll reveal the novella, or whatever. That's fine, too. :)

    1. This was a hard one for me. I love Rossi, her writing and the world she's created. And I haven't read the Delirium novellas so I can't compare on the length thing, but I just felt like it ended too soon. On one hand, I really loved the story. But what I didn't love was that I had to pay for something that was ultimately mostly short and supplemental.

      I'm totally with you - this would be great to offer for free, or even something like 0.99! I also love the social media thing you suggested. It's $3 for about 80-90 pages that bothers me :(

  3. I liked this one but I'm enamored with this series as a whole. I TOTALLY agree that it could have and should have been longer, particularly for the price. It should have been 99 cents or even free for this length. The longer ones - T Mafi's Destroy Me and even Brodi Ashton's Neverfall - were much more bang for the buck, even though Neverfall didn't really add THAT MUCH to the series. Still, LENGTH please!

    I think with this one, my general feeling is that the goal was to put a novella out there at the urging of the publisher - I can't remember which of the authors at my Pitch Dark Days event mentioned that they were all four *approached by their publishers* to write one, and this one was the shortest of the four on the panel, and yet it was the same price. With the others, I didn't get the feeling that they were approached as much as I did with this one. The others were a little more organic to the series where this one, well it was sort of a little more obvious that it was stuck in there. Still, it's hard to go wrong with ROAR. :)

    I don't know. I liked it. I would have LOVED more OR I would have preferred a lesser price, like you mentioned. I still need to read TTEN.

    1. I'm SO GLAD you agree with me on this one! I love the whole series, so I actually loved the content of the enovella. It was more a matter of the length for the price - and the fact that I paid for something that was only supplemental in its content. Compared to Destroy Me, it was definitely a letdown. GIVE ME MORE PAGES!

      I think Lauren mentioned that about the enovellas, too, and it doesn't totally surprise me. I think Mafi's felt like it actually added something to the series and had a point. This one could have felt the same way - if only it had been a little longer and hat a little more meat. Or maybe just been cheaper.


  4. I just got under the never sky from B&N as an ebook and cannot wait. and now? with your reviews? cannot wait even more!!!

    1. Yayyyy! So glad you just got the first one - you're going to LOVE THEM so much!

  5. Thank you for your advice. I'm going to read Under the Never Sky this month and I have been wondering if I should buy the novella, but if you loved Under the Never Sky and don't believe the novella is worth it I think it safe for me to also skip it.

    1. Yeah, I think it's safe to skip this. I hate saying that because I love Rossi's writing and these characters, but I just didn't feel like there was really enough meat to the story to warrant it costing me $3 to read. You know? And it added a little depth to book two since I had a better understanding of Roar and Liv's relationship, but it wasn't necessary in order to enjoy or follow the events that took place in that one.

  6. I have a really hard time with the mid-series novellas that are getting released by the bucketload lately. While I appreciate the author's desire to share more about her world and reader's desire to find out more, I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay for something that wasn't important enough to make it into the "official" storyline.

    So, on that note, it's a shame you weren't fully satisfied with the information Rossi gave about Roar and Liv and were left wanting more.

    1. Yeah, I don't know if you read this above, but the author wrote this one because she was asked by the publisher to do it. I think that's my problem with most of the enovellas I've read - they don't really contribute anything to the series and are mostly just supplemental.


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