Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Pages: 374
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Pub. Date: January 12, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Aria lives in a post-apocolyptic world unlike any we can imagine: a domed city called Reverie where she is commonly referred to as a Dweller.  She usually lives with her mother, but her scientist mother is off at another location, Bliss, for work, which leaves Aria on her own.  Recently, Aria has lost connection with her mother and she is worried sick that something has happened.  In order to gain more information about her mother's whereabouts, Aria starts hanging out with Soren, the head of security's son who is privy to a lot of information.  One night while they are all hanging out, they decide to sneak into a restricted area and even though Aria knows that this isn't a good idea, she does it anyway with the hope that she will spend some one-on-one time with Soren and get some information about Bliss.  Once they break into the restricted area, they must deactive their "Smarteyes" which connect them with Reverie. Soren starts acting violently and he and his friends are obsessed with making a fire as they have never seen a real one. Things go tragically wrong and Aria almost dies, but thankfully, Perry, a "Savage" from the outside world rescues her.  As the story progresses, things get crazier for Perry and Aria and they find themselves as unlikely allies on a quest to not only find Aria's mother, but Perry's nephew as well.  Veronica Rossi's unique dystopian novel, Under the Never Sky, is one that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The character of Aria is one that I struggled to connect with, but I really liked her bond with her mother.  She wouldn't give up until she found some answers regarding her mother and she had a feeling that things weren't right.  At the beginning of the book, Aria lacks the skills she needs in order to survive in the outside world, which is extremely dangerous.  There are various tribes, even cannibels, that rome the outside world and dangerous Aether storms that can kill instantly.  Aria gains survival skills through her friendship with Perry, whom at first she considers to be a "Savage" and beneath her.

The point of view in Under the Never Sky alternates between Aria and Perry, which was done well. I liked hearing things from Perry's perspective and learning more about his background as an Outsider.  His relationship with his nephew tugs on your heartstrings and you can't help but cheer him on as he tries to find him since he was kidnapped by the Dwellers.

One thing that I struggled with was Perry and Aria's relationship in Under the Never Sky.  It really didn't work for me.  I wasn't feeling the slow burn at all.  It seemed to all of a sudden develop from nothing and unfortunately, I just didn't buy it.  

Rossi's world-building is brilliant in Under the Never Sky. She created such a unique dystopia that is completely mesmerizing.  The concept of growing up in a Pod with access to various different virtual realms (can you say beach realm?!) where people don't feel pain or experience other horrible things is an interesting concept which is juxtaposed by Perry's world as an "Outsider."  He and his tribe have to hunt for food, deal with the Aether storms and other unpredictable tribes that vie for space. There's no doubt that Rossi, although a debut author, masterfully created an extraordinary setting. I have a feeling that this book is going to be a popular one in my classroom.

Even though Under the Never Sky didn't "wow" me as much as I hoped it would, I still plan on checking out Through the Ever Night, which is out now.  Lastly, I heard the film rights have been optioned by Warner Brothers. I think Under the Never Sky would translate incredibly to the big screen. I already can't wait! 

19 comments:

  1. This one kind of bypassed me when it first released, and I've read a couple mixed reviews, but now that you've read it and loved it, I might have to read it too! :)

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    1. I think you would enjoy it as well, Leanna, but the romance in this book didn't work for me. Everything else did though and the world building was awesome. I hope to find the time to read book two. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I have this one but I haven't dove into it yet. Can't wait though!

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  3. I'm currently listening to this one on audio. I completely understand and agree about Perry and Aria's relationship. It just seems a bit...forced. I also had a difficult time connecting to Aria though I'm not sure why.

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    1. Exactly. I had the same issues; nonetheless, I really liked the world-building and the suspense. I hope it picks up for you, Alexis. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. Awwww, I'm sorry this one didn't wow you as much as you'd hoped Christina! I'm glad you liked it overall though, even if Aria and Perry's relationship fell a little flat for you. I agree the world building was phenomenal and I can't wait to see how that continues and expands in Through the Ever Night!

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    1. I agree. If and when I read the sequel, it will definitely be for the world building. Thanks for visiting, Jenny!

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  5. I agree, I think this has the potential to be brilliant on the big screen!

    It's a shame this didn't wow you, but I'm glad you enjoyed it nonetheless! I totally agree, Rossi's world-building was great, and I loved the bond between Aria and her mother as well. And Aria's friendship with Roar (even if I would like them to become more than friends, because they have great chemistry!).

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    1. I'm glad we agree! I liked Roar, too. Thanks for dropping by, Amber!

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  6. I really enjoyed the alternating POVs but like you I just didn't get the romance. It felt too forced and kind of weird...especially due to some scent issues...

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    1. I'm glad I am not alone with not really feeling the romance between Perry and Aria. "Scent issues"---too funny! You are so right! Thanks for visiting, Christa!

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  7. The world-building sounds great and I love that there are two POV's, especially since one of them is from a man. It's a shame that the romance didn't work out, but that isn't stopping me from picking this book up :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Mel. Thanks for visiting!

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  8. I agree the world-building is awesome, and the sequel explains more and doesn't suffer from the pacing problems I had with the first. It's definitely become one of my go-to recs for teen readers looking for dystopia and romance, and it usually a hit!

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    1. Good to know about the sequel...will have to check it out! Thanks for stopping by, Molly!

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  9. I almost bought the Dutch version of this book, but then decided I wanted to read this book with the US cover. :)
    I love a book where the main character has a great, awesome bond with her family. Especially with the mother, I have that too and I can connect better with the character. :)
    Great review, Christina!

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    1. The familial bonds are pretty fantastic in this book and broke my heart a bit. I think you would like this book, Nina! I hope you get to check it out soon. Thanks for visiting!

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    2. I agree with everything you say. For a moment there I was really cross with Perry, and I also thought a love triangle was developing. Thankfully, he didn't fail us! this is also one of my favourite series. Can't wait for the next one.

      Marlene Detierro (Cash Advance Company)

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