Review: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky
Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky, #1
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 374
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 of 5 stars 

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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.
If I’ve learned anything while reading young-adult, it’s that dystopian novels are tricky. (That and the fact that werewolves do not make ideal boyfriends, but that’s pretty irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make.) There are some YA dystopian novels that make me question why the genre even exists (not going to name names or anything) (shoots death glare at Glitch). But then there are also hidden gems of dystopian novels that restore my faith in the genre and have me wanting to read more and more of what it has to offer.

Under the Never Sky, my friends, is one of those dystopian novels.

In Under the Never Sky, people of the world have been forced into Pods after Aether storms (basically lightning and fire swirling in the sky) reigned their destruction onto the world and left it as a ravaged wasteland. In the Pods, the residents are given Smarteyes, which allow them to make any of their dreams a reality. With the Smarteyes, you could transport from place to place in seconds, you can’t feel pain; hell, you could even fly. But one day, Aria’s mother goes off into another Pod than her’s – Bliss – and she doesn’t return for a week. In hopes to discover more about what happened to Bliss, and more importantly her mother, Aria decides to go outside of her Pod with the Consul’s son to get some answers. But as she’s outside the Pod, things start to go awry, and soon enough she’s stranded in the wild to fend for herself.

When reading dystopian novels, the first thing I ask myself is, “If I were put in the same situation as the characters in this book, would I survive?” More often than not, the answer to that question is a big, fat no (you authors can come up with really impossible to survive in landscapes…). However, upon reading the first few chapters of Under the Never Sky, I not only felt like I could easily survive in its world, but that I’d prefer to live in it.

Then of course, as I read more, Under the Never Sky proved me wrong and showed me its world would kill me in an instant with no worries whatsoever. With cannibals, disease, mutated people, and an Aether storm looming above, the world of Under the Never Sky turned from a world I’d like to live in to a world I’d never want to visit. Ever.

And while it may take a while for you to understand the terminology in Under the Never Sky (which is thrown around like wildfire with little to no explanation as to what the terms mean), and it may take you a while to grasp the world and technology, too, but once you do begin to grasp that, you’re in for a fun read.

The plot for Under the Never Sky is well executed, and so are the dual narratives and romance between Aria and Perry. Usually, when I hear that a book has dual narratives, I run for the hills because more often than not both of the narratives are completely identical and indistinguishable. But in Under the Never Sky, Rossi provides us with two thoroughly interesting and distinguishable narratives. (Though I personally favored Aria’s over Perry’s.) And as for the romance between Perry and Aria, it’s not insta-love! Their romance is similar to a real one, in that it takes time to develop and they aren’t fawning over each other upon their first meeting. (In fact, they learn each other’s names about halfway through the book).

With interesting characters, an engaging plot, well written fight scenes and fascinating world-building, Under the Never Sky is sure to please readers who have been looking for a good YA dystopian on the market. While it isn’t a perfect novel, it sure is a fun one (and I’d totally die if I were a character in it).


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