21 March 2013

Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under The Never Sky
Author(s): Veronica Rossi
Genre(s): Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher/Date: HarperCollins / January 3, 2012
Series: Under The Never Sky (Book #1)

"With the weight of the rock resting in her hand and the dusty smell he'd brought in with him, Aria heard her own breathing and felt the quiet power of his attention. She felt completely where she was. There wtih him. With herself." -Aria

Case Study
Imagine a world where every human being is nearly genetically perfect---a world where you can be whatever you want, do whatever you want, go wherever you want. Sounds pretty awesome, eh? Well, things aren't always what they appear to be.

Aria lives in a virtual world in the enclosed city, Reverie. With the Aether storms ravaging what's left of the land, humans were forced into domed pods, turning their backs on anything and anyone left out in the cold. In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her scientist mother, Aria finds herself exiled from home, left fending for her life in the barren, harsh wasteland beyond the pod. Sheltered, she must learn to adapt and survive. And with help from a most unlikely source, Aria soon learns that the Dweller life she lived wasn't really living at all. 

Perry is an ousider, a "savage" to most, but he could care less because he's a fierce hunter and top contender for Blood King. The only thing that worries him are the merciless Aether storms that threaten the tribe's land, at least until his beloved nephew is taken hostage by the Dwellers. His only connection to the Dwellers and sole hope for finding Talon is Aria, the fragile girl that was left for dead. Together, Perry and Aria must learn to tolerate and rely on one another as they battle their way across The Death Shop in search of the ones they love. Little do they realize just how much this unlikely alliance will forever change the lives of all who live under the Never Sky.

The Game's Afoot
I'd been looking for a good sci-fi/dystopia book for quite some time and with the all the buzz surrounding the Under The Never Sky series, I figured I was in for a real treat when I picked up the first book. Let me be frank with you all for a minute---when I first started Under The Never Sky, I wasn't that impressed. I found the mechanics of Rossi's sci-fi world somewhat difficult to decipher and felt no connection at all to Aria. Did I miss something? Perhaps my initial sour feelings could be attributed to my frame of mind at that time, but whatever it was, the book and I were off to a rocky start.

Upon first glance, Aria is a sheltered, uber-dependent, stubborn mess. Like, I totally get that she's a product of her environment but in the beginning, her helplessness was incredibly frustrating. I seriously wanted to shout "man up, bitch!" at her just about every time she bumbled into trouble. All I can say is, thank god for Perry in those first few chapters because he's the one who made me stick with it. More animal than man, he's got special abilities that set him apart from so many others in his tribe. He's a graceful, leonine fighter who fiercely cares for his people. You admire his quiet strength when contrasted against Aria's constant chatter. And though Aria and I didn't jive in the beginning, it was her adaptiveness and eventual independence that got me. She's stronger when she breaks ties with her former life and I loved watching the growth during her journey. I'd say she's the person who makes the biggest arc from beginning to end and it's a beautiful one.

If I had to pinpoint the spot where I started really enjoying the book, though, I'd say it coincides with the appearance of Roar. Coincidence? I think not because Roar is undoubtedly the best character in the book. He's wild, funny, hunky and awesome. This is also the point where things were heating up between Perry and Aria which is interesting considering their vast differences. I loved how their relationship developed organically starting from mutual respect then building slowly to friendship and then on to something more. It was nice to see that though things got hot and heavy (at one point), it never culminated in a super serious happily-ever-after. By the end, as the reader, you're left wondering about the state of their relationship just like they both are.

The story is told from both Aria and Perry's alternating POV which I thought was really well done. It allows you to see two very different perspectives and the very different worlds in which they each lived, making the contrast between them more effective. And another thing I thought was really clever was how Rossi gave each of the main characters a name that corresponded to their special talents. Every name is appropriately indicative of that character's unique personality, and it goes without saying, as a writer myself, I think that's super cool. Despite my initial misgivings, I gotta give Rossi credit because she managed to turn it around. When things clicked, they really clicked. Aria, Perry and the gang all won my heart in the end.
Summary Prognosis
Though I had some reservations in the beginning, Under The Never Sky ended up really surprising me with the depth of its characters and the power of its story. Mixing sci-fi, dystopia and magical talents, Rossi's created a unique world full of danger, deception and fun. This is one of those books that didn't have a tidy ending and left you craving more. I'm beyond glad I didn't DNF it and I can't wait to dive into the sequel!

Rating: ★★★★

Read It:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website


  1. Yay! I had a feeling you would like this one, but I have to agree about the beginning - I get that Rossi was trying to get straight into the action, but it was really disconcerting - I was confused and I actually stopped reading, and went back to it a few days later.

    Funny how Roar turned out to be everyone's favourite character.

    Now, you just need to get to Through the Ever Night, which I thought was even better!

    1. Yeah, I thought maybe I wasn't paying enough attention in the beginning and missed something critical, but I think you're right --- Rossi just dove right in without too much explaination. I am really glad I stuck with it though because the payoff in the end was amazing.

      I'm actually reading Through the Ever Night right now and am LOVING IT! Oh god, and Roar. I'm crushing sooooo hard.

  2. Glad you ended up enjoying it! I'll keep the rocky start in mind when I start reading it. I've heard so many amazing things about this one so it's good to keep expectations in check.

    1. It might have been just me but something wasn't really clicking at the start, however, by the end I was totally loving it. It's worth sticking through if you find yourself not-so-impressed.

  3. That's great that you stuck with it and the story turned around like that. The world building sounds pretty cool. Perry and Aria's relationship sounds believeable, I hate when things are rushed.
    Happy Friday!

    1. Thanks, Naida! I've been wanting to read a great sci-fi book for awhile now and this one really fit the bill. The sequel is even better too!

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I confess to having more mixed reactions to the book as a whole, but I'm curious about Through the Ever Night after seeing so many rave reviews.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I won't deny that the book definitely had its issues, but overall, I was quite impressed with the comeback. And yes, Through The Ever Night is SOOOOOOOO good thus far. It's not often I like a sequel better than the first one!


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