A couple of weeks ago, I won a giveaway on Manda's Movements. The prize was a choice between a number of titles, some of which I’d read, a couple that didn’t appeal to me and the other titles were ones I was longing to get my hands on. Under the Never Sky was my obvious choice, though, as of the very beginning.
Recent times have seen me become more interested in dystopian books and this one really appealed to me. The title’s snappy, the cover eye-catching and the synopsis had me hooked as soon as I heard about the book several months ago.
I was half way through Cinder (review in the works!) when Under the Never Sky was delivered but as soon as I’d finished that book, I scribbled down a review and cracked open this one.
Title: Under the Never Sky
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Author: Veronica Rossi
Binding: small paperback
Page count: 384
Chapter count: 45
Font: medium, spaced
PoV: 3rd person
Tense: Past tense
Story: 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.
Thoughts and impressions: I wasn’t ready to start this book until about 23:30 on a Saturday night. It was one of those times when I thought to myself that I’d just read a chapter before bed. One chapter turned into fifteen and even then I was reluctant to put the book down for the night! I was even toying with the temptation of not sleeping so I could get more reading done. It’s been a long time since I was so drawn into a book that late at night.
This one caught me and just would not let go! As soon as I got up the next morning, I was back with my nose in the book and manage to finish it off in one sitting. The boyfriend attempted to get me to put it down once but quickly saw the error of his ways!
The world invented here is really ingenious. At some point in the past, these things called Aether storms set in and killed a lot of people. No explanation about this Aether storms is offered: where they came from, what caused them. They’re just there and surprisingly the story does not suffer for it one bit! All we know is that after the storms set in, the remaining people protected themselves from this new weather phenomenon by building “pods” where they could live in safety. The only problem with this is that there’s not enough to do in such a small, enclosed area to keep everyone from getting bored and so the Realms were created.
The Realms are essentially virtual realities where you can do what you want, be who you want, and are accessible via a clear patch worn over the left eye. This is something that I can readily see being the future of man in a technologically advanced world.
There are, of course, people who survived outside the pods as well. We’re not really filled in on why there are outsiders – whether they did not want to enter the pods, failed to get to them in time, or just were not permitted entry – but they were there and over time their genetic makeup allowed for certain changes, as seen in Peregrine, our hero.
As the story opens, Aria, the heroine, is so desperate to hear news of the pod where her mother has been working after days of no communication that she wrangles her way into what is supposed to be fun and games in an Aether-compromised area of their pod with the son of the head of security and three others. It soon becomes clear, though, that she may have bitten off more than she can chew and when a terrible event takes place, Aria is used as a scapegoat.
She finds herself cast into the Death Trap – the world outside the pods. Her reactions to all these new experiences in a world she’d always been told was full of dangers that she would not survive were always realistic and occasionally heart-wrenching. The only thing that I’m not sold on is the idea that she walked for days while the skin on her feet was shredded and full of blisters. My experience with severely blistered feet has always been that they slow you down considerably as you’re forced to hobble and running on them is the very last thing you’d want to do.
Perry has got his own interesting story and motives, joining forces with Aria only in an attempt to get his nephew back from Aria’s people, who kidnapped him. But together they end up on quite the adventure, learning to tolerate one another as they run from a cannibalistic tribe and meet a boy with a most peculiar and deadly ability.
I loved the outside world that was created and the dangers they pushed through in their separate quests: her to find out about her mother and him to rescue Talon. I loved Perry’s genetic difference and how that filled him with a duty he felt he has to honour but also left him feeling cursed. This gave him a hard but vulnerable edge that made me adore him just that much more. And I loved how Aria seemed to slowly come to the realisation that maybe the Realms aren’t really all that great but still struggled with the feeling of needing to go home. Especially towards the beginning, when she wanted to wear the Smarteye over her eye because it was simply something she was used to really rang true for me. It was the little details like that that made the story something really special.
The progression of the relationship between Aria and Perry was also just perfect. It didn’t take too long and it didn’t rush into anything forced. I admire the way that Rossi was not afraid to take the relationship to the next level when it was time.
I’m interested in seeing how their relationship will progress. There are already certain hurdles placed in the way and I want to see how they will overcome them. I’m also really looking forward to discovering more about some of the other characters (Liv, Cinder and Brooke (in particular Brooke’s reaction to Aria as it’s made obvious as of fairly early on that Brooke hopes Perry will choose to be with her)), and the dangerous world they live in.
This book was just my cup of tea and I loved the adventure that it took me on.
Style: Occasionally a bit rocky. The main perpetrator was when two or three sentences in a row would start with the PoV character’s name. Despite this, it really drew me in.
Final verdict: I was really lucky the weekend I read this (a week ago now). I was on a real YA high. I read two books in two days and both of them were absolutely brilliant reads that have ended up on my favourites shelf! I really cannot wait for the next book in this series! 5 stars.
Extra notes: I didn’t notice any bad language. Sex behind closed doors.