Written by Veronica Rossi
Published January, 2012 by HarperCollins
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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.
I can safely say that I was blown away by Veronica Rossi’s debut, Under the Never Sky. Unable to put it down, I read the book in one night without pause. Perfect pacing, characters and a fantastic dystopian setting! This is definitely a YA release that lives up to the hype.
I was a bit anxious picking this one up that the hype surrounding it wouldn’t live up to what was actually inside. I was completely wrong. Under the Never Sky deserves all the crazy attention and hype it’s getting around the web. It really proved to me once again just WHY I love YA fiction so much, and revitalized my faith in the genre after a few months being stuck in my reading rut. From the first chapter, the action was ON! I had a feeling from the first few pages that things would only get better.
Aria was a fun character to experience the story through, and so was Perry. For once I wasn’t jarred by the alternating view-points, instead relishing the change in voice and new details I found out with each chapter. Both characters were so foreign to one another to begin with, and it was especially exciting to see those differences change little by little as their relationship grew and evolved.
The tension between Aria and Perry was FANTASTIC! I’m really glad things unwound as they did, at the perfect pace, and Veronica Rossi didn’t build it all up to disappoint. Their relationship – from wary allies, to friends and more – was probably my favourite part of the story, as it added a lot of heart, but there was so much about the world itself and the other characters that gave Perry and Aria a run for their money.
The world underneath the Never Sky was brilliantly laid out and unique in its own way. I liked both cultures; those of the ‘dwellers’ and those of the ‘savages’. Though the book started out with the dwellers being the civilized and the savages being well, savage, that all got turned on its head the more the book went on. The new sickness sweeping through the dwellers after extreme genetic modifying is a great plotpoint that will surely weave throughout the rest of the series. I’m interested in seeing where it goes from here.
Other characters such as Roar and Marron were fantastic to read about, too. I also loved learning about the Outsiders heightened senses and their abilities, something I wasn’t expecting when going into the book. If I had one ‘iffy’ point about this book, however, it would be that this aspect of the story ‘crossed’ over onto Aria too soon for my liking. I think she was a character with her own identity when the book began, and she didn’t need all that added ‘spice’ to make her interesting in the readers eyes. Her singing did enough in that regard. Though the rest of the book seemed to surprise me with where it was headed, Aria adopting a Sense of her own felt like a bit much too soon. I don’t know if it was just because I was bleary-eyed at six o’clock in the morning or what, but I didn’t even ‘feel’ her surroundings changing sound-wise when I was reading from her POV as her new abilities grew. The fact that she was a full-fledged Audile in the space of a few chapters was a little hard to swallow.
The Aether – the constant storms raging above the land – seemed to be a character in itself. It was there in every scene and added a sort of dream-like, apocalylptic feel to the whole story. It was a fantastic mood. I’m very interested to find out the origins of Cinder’s abilities, too. He’s definitely a character-to-watch, one that is sure to be integral to the way things play out in the later books. As for Talon and Vale, they each added a different tilt to the story. One good and one bad. I don’t want to give much away about the ending, but I was surprised regarding the twist with Perry’s brother, Vale!
All in all, a thrilling debut; one that kept me hooked from the first to last page. I know when I’m going to award something five stars, theres just that FEELING, and I definitely got it from start to finish with Under the Never Sky. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
Recommended to: Readers partial to dystopian fiction will love Under the Never Sky! Veronica Rossi is new a YA author to watch!