UNDER THE NEVER SKY (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Published January 3rd, 2012 by HarperCollins
384 Pages // Hardcover
Received From NetGalley For Honest Review
Received From NetGalley For Honest Review
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.
With all the hype surrounding it, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is not a book you can avoid – for long. After some wariness, I got myself a copy and dove in. Let’s just say that the hype on this one isn’t wrong, at least when it comes to me, a girl notoriously frightened by hype and more often than not surprisingly disappointed. With a strong mix of post-apocalyptic drama (not really fully dystopian in my opinion), awesome science fiction attributes, and mesmerizing adventures, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a strong debut from an author who will definitely become one to watch for me.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is the story of Aria and Peregrine (aka Perry), two teens from different worlds told in third person past tense. Aria has spent her entire life in a Pod, ensconced from the world outside that has fallen victim to the Aether storms, which are like hyperactive lightning storms that destroy everything in their paths. Perry, meanwhile, is a member of a tribe on the outside, gifted with the ability to smell and see a lot better than normal. Fate crosses their paths when Aria follows a boy she likes into a forbidden dome, right as Perry sneaks inside against the orders of his brother.
After Aria is expelled from the Pod for her role in subterfuge (thanks to the boy she followed inside), she is discovered again by Perry, who has been kicked out of his own tribe by his brother for his actions, and for getting his nephew kidnapped. This is where the action really takes off – as Aria and Perry try to find little Talon and Aria’s mother, lost in a far off pod where she was doing research. With cannibals, aether storms that threaten to destroy them (and entrance the reader at the sheer brilliance of these storms), and long hikes into danger, UNDER THE NEVER SKY mixes themes brilliantly.
The main issue I had with this story was my inability to really connect with the main characters. With third person, you risk having your readers feel at arm’s length from the characters, never closer. For me, connecting with Aria was especially difficult. She just seemed like someone I was watching, never feeling, never really getting to know. Paired with naivety and half the book spent whining, it wasn’t until the very end (like…last 10%) where she came into her own as a person. Perry was somewhat better. I found him a much more tolerable character with a story and believability, but that brings me to my other issue…
The romance. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I didn’t find there to be any chemistry. It was like Aria and Perry just up and decided “Let’s get together!” There was little in common between them besides the randomness of their meetings and their shared trip. Was that really enough to throw these two complete opposites together? Well, in the end, I liked them together, but the process of getting there was a bit annoying and unbelievable.
Besides some minor faults, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a wild ride and great opening chapter. I can’t wait to explore more of Aria and Perry’s story, especially with the threads created with the awesome not-so-cliffhanger-y ending. Veronica Rossi’s debut is great, mesmerizing, and definitely one you need to check out.
VERDICT: With a strong, original plot grounded in the fantastical and solid characters (with just a few faults), UNDER THE NEVER SKY mixes genres into a great blend of can’t miss awesome.
♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS