Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Genre: Dystopian / sci-fi
Release date: January 3, 2012
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Source: ARC from Harper Collins
Reviewed by: Tynga
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
The world as we know it is being slowly destroyed by Aether storms and in an effort to survive, a portion of the population created pods: Relatively small structures in which thousands of humans live physically. While their bodies stay behind in those buildings, their consciousness travels amongst thousands of virtual realm where everything is “better than real”. Technologically advanced, reproduction is handled by geneticists, they even found a way to reverse aging and Aria enjoys her virtual world immensely. After a sequence of unfortunate events though, she finds herself on the outside, with Savages, how will she survive this harsh reality from which she can’t escape?
Veronica Rossi created a very unique world when she wrote Under the Never Sky and even though I truly enjoyed the book in the end, I didn’t fall for it immediately. See, the beginning of the book has a very strong Sci-fi vibe to it, with the virtual realms and all and I’m really not into sci-fi, but Aria and Perri, the main characters, sounded promising so I kept on reading and I’m glad I did. Once Aria finds herself in exile and finally meets Perri, the story really picked up for me. Both characters launch themselves on a harsh journey on the very slim hope to reach their personal goals and it’s not an easy alliance.
Perri is what Aria calls a savage. He lived all of his life on the outside, in a tribe, and conflicts with his family will push him to take risky actions. I really liked him from the beginning and he didn’t disappoint! It wasn’t love at first sight with Aria though, but she grew on me as the story progressed, mostly because of her strength and determination and she proved to be a great character in the end!
The plot is mostly linear as the main characters slowly advance on their journey, but surprises will ambush them along the way. The first half of the book is mostly just the two of them and even though it could’ve been boring it wasn’t, but I have to say I was glad when secondary characters finally joined them on their quest as they spiked things up a little bit.
The end turned out to be heartbreaking but Veronica kept a door open for hope when she wrote her bitter end and I honestly can’t wait to see what awaits the characters in the next installment. She destroyed everything the main characters thought they knew in the first book and seeing them react to this new reality should be rather interesting!
This dystopian book isn’t full of action like Divergent by Veronica Roth or Legend by Marie Lu were, but it definitely held it’s own and I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend Veronica Rossi’s debut to fans of the genre!