Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Published by HarperCollins on January 3rd, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, young adult
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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
The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.
I have secretly wanted to participate in Epic Recs for a while now, but I just hate to bother others and ask them to read an extra book. Lucky for me, Pixie was up for the challenge, and we both swapped choices for books that were sitting on our shelves. Pixie presented me with Under the Never Sky, a book I actually attempted to read about 2 years ago, when I first purchased the Kindle book. Pixie selected a great pick, and I was more than happy to tackle this one again.
This wasn’t a terrible book. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and more than the first time around, and giving it another shot ended in my favor. However, I did remember why I stopped reading this book in 2013, and my feelings towards the story are slightly mixed.
The characters were enjoyable enough. I like that Aria transitioned from a weak, nearly helpless outsider into a stronger, more durable character over time. I have a lot of respect for characters who develop throughout the story and let their own strengths bud and bloom. Not all heroines have to come out of the writing womb as a Katniss right from the first page.
Aria lived in a very protective, sheltered bubble of a life, and she encountered some issues when she was forced out of this safe, coddled environment. I want to see someone have to fight this battle and slowly win. I don’t want someone who is changed into a warrior bloodbath girl overnight. That doesn’t seem realistic. Perry was decent, strong yet timid, powerful yet unsure of his own power. I really enjoyed his own personal mission, since I am a fan of family dynamics. The only issue I ran into with his backstory was the reason for his rift with his brother. Maybe I missed it, or I didn’t pick up on it, but I never understood the animosity between him and his eldest brother. I need me some more Roar!
My favorite thing about Under The Never Sky is the description and danger of the aether from the sky, which seems to be living lightning that will strike and maim at any time. The danger from the newly changed world is present and clearly seen. Rossi is able to keep the suspense and build the anxiety in her action sequences – loved it! If a book is truly a dystopia, then I want to see and feel the constant danger, I want to walk away feel exhausted and nervous – THAT is what I love to see in a dystopia. MAKE ME TOO NERVOUS TO LEAVE THE HOUSE, DYSTOPIANS!!
The biggest issue I ran into was the lack of world building or development. When the book opens, we’re placed right into the action from the start, trying to catch up on the mood and relationships in the novel. The story was developing quickly, but the emotional attachment was quickly outpaced by the action. When the consequences occur, the results should draw out some shock and sadness, but I didn’t know anyone well enough to grieve. The outside world and the land away from the protective pods was described and fleshed out, but life inside the safehouses was simply touched upon, and it seemed that the reader was losing out on an important opportunity and connection with the novel.
This was the very issue that pushed me away the first time, and to get to the good stuff, one does need to push through to the later portions.
Overall: I enjoyed my first Epic Recs experience. This novel was one that I have wanted to read for a while, and I love dystopias. This book had some missed opportunities, but some of the stronger factors repaired the frustration from the start of the book.