Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: YA, fantasy, sci-fi
Series? Yes, Under the Never Sky #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads: Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.
This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
While I was skeptical at first, Rossi’s blend of fantasy and science fiction ultimately drew me in and gripped me in a way that would not let go – even at the cost of sleep. The characters were all very individual and defined, and their growth was something steady and progressive towards the end of the novel. The plot was well paced, with proper slow times to allow for world building and character development. Ultimately, it’s a surprising read that caught me off guard and captivated me far more than I was expecting.
When I first picked up Under the Never Sky, I was really skeptical. I don’t know why – no one I’ve talked to has ever disliked it. I heard about how awesome the characters and setting and concept were. But for some reason, I had this HUGE resistance! But then I got free credit (whoop!) on Book Outlet, and only had to pay $3 for shipping to get the paperback of UtNS, and so I took the plunge. I was in a bit of a reading slump when I got it, and so I decided to just read a few chapters to put me to sleep.
WRONG. So, so wrong! I ended up staying awake until 1am to finish the entire thing in one go. It gripped me from page one, and I could not force those pages closed, despite the fact that I would only end up getting 5 hours of sleep that night by staying up so late.
The fantasy mixed with sci-fi was a huge win, and the concept is what really sold me on this series. I loved the technology of the domes, with their virtual worlds and eye patches that remind me of those google glasses everyone keeps talking about. And then the Aether was a really cool add-in; I loved how the primal, basic nature of the storms really contrasted with the technology and coldness of the world that Aria lived in.
And then the characters. Aria was a bit odd at first, but she grew on me. Once her personality started to show through, I started to attach and connect with her a lot more. Plus, she didn’t all of a sudden become this awesome survival chick. Bonus points right there! The slow discovery of her capabilities and strength was one of my favorite parts. Perry, like Aria, was hard to get used to, but I found myself drawn to him as more of his past and his culture are revealed. And the stark differences between their two lives is very well done; not explicitly told, but clearly illustrated. And then there’s Roar. He’s my favorite – I’ll say that right now! He reminds me so much of Kenji from the Shatter Me series: the truly goodhearted friend with a sassy spark of humor and a bit badass as well.
The plot was well paced too. Even in the quieter parts, the characters really shone and developed. And then the action was heartstopping! And the ending –
I NEED MORE. But thankfully Andi sent me a copy of Through the Ever Night, so I’ll be able to start that soon! Whenever I get out of my weird-ish slump I’m in. BUT – I highly recommend Under the Never Sky. Even a skeptic like me was converted – it’s that good!
My Final Rating: