Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Digital Audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne Flagler
Published by Harper Audio on January 3rd 2012
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 374 pages or 9 hours, 39 minutes
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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.
Aria has been exiled.
After a haunting incident with her friends and the son of an important government member, Aria tells the truth and it leads her to the Death Shop – the world outside Reverie, where the Aether is wild and savages could get her… if she doesn’t die from exposure first. Lost and alone, Aria forces her way across the wilderness as far as her feet will carry her. She’s certain to die, until she meets Peregrine.
Peregrine is desperately searching for his nephew, who was kidnapped by a group of dwellers like Aria. Unsure where he is or how he will reach him, Peregrine sees Aria’s eyepiece and knows that they can help each other. Aria needs someone who knows how to survive outside the bubble, and Peregrine needs someone who knows how to get in. They become allies and together start forward on a quest to find those they love the most.
This book is more than a love story.
When I first started reading this book, I was certain it would fall into the usual dystopian love story tropes – girl meets boy, girl meets other boy, girl falls in love with both boys, boys spend story trying to get the girl to pick them. That is not what this book is about at all. Under the Never Sky is a story about love, but it’s a story about many different kinds of love. Friendship, family, and yes, romantic relationships too. There is no love triangle, but there doesn’t have to be another person involved for there to be obstacles on the road to happily ever after.
Altogether, I found the relationships in this book to be real. No love at first sight, no instant enemies. The characters struggle with trust and each has his or her own motivation. There are powerful and interesting side characters that could run a storyline themselves. In dystopias especially this is exciting to see, as minor characters often fall into the role of props.
Veronica Rossi is a world building queen.
One of the reasons I love epic fantasy so much, is that the authors put an amazing amount of effort into building their worlds. Tortall and Middle Earth are real enough you feel like you can step right into them. It’s not an aspect you see a lot in other parts of fantasy and science fiction – especially recently, as so much of a story tends to fall into dialogue. In Under the Never Sky, Rossi creates two different, complex societies. She creates mutations with rules. She builds a technological empire and a brilliantly alive tribal society. I found it brilliant.
I also loved the perspective of the story. At no point is this a “lets dismantle the new world order!” type of book. Society is breaking down all by itself and Aria’s role in it is to watch from the outside. She’s not a revolutionary. She’s not a rebel. Her goal is simple: find her mother. Survive. The natural feel of the setting is so refreshing in a world that loves to bicker over the perfect utopia. LOVED it.
This book is one I’ll have to add to my collection.
I thought Under the Never Sky was such a refreshing, well done book. I adored the mix of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve only read one other book by Veronica Rossi, but both have the same flair, interesting characters, and immersive worlds. There were moments in this book that made me laugh out loud. At one point, something ver natural happens to Aria and she is freaking out and saying she is dying. When Peregrine has to explain it to her, I burst out laughing. Because of course that would happen in this situation. It makes perfect sense. And rather than ignore it and keep the story prim and proper, Rossi chooses to address it as part of Aria’s transformation. I thought it was brilliant.
Things like that, relatable moments and good storytelling, are what makes an excellent book. After a slew of pretty *meh* reads lately, I was so pleased to finish this book feeling satisfied. I’ve already added the next book in the series to my “To Read” list.