From Goodreads: 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.
My Rating: 4 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky was a story that I thought started slowly because it put me smack into the middle of a world I barely comprehended, and used terms which I didn’t understand. As the story progressed however and I started to grasp everything, I ended up getting sucked into the book and falling in love with it.
Basically, the Dwellers have taken shelter permanently from the Aether storms in domed buildings and have become very technologically advanced. Never being able to venture outside I suppose has its perks: the Dwellers have managed to eradicate disease so that they can live up to over a hundred, figured out how to create designer babies, and built virtual environments to avoid boredom.
On the other hand, you have the Outsiders who have learned to live with the Aether storms and developed mutations in the process. Seers have better vision than most; Audiles have sensitive hearing, and Scires have a heightened sense of smell. It all sounds kind of sci-fi-ish, but the Marked’s (i.e. those who have enhanced senses) powers also have a fantasy element to them. Furthermore, Rossi doesn’t go into a huge amount of explanation about her world – so for example, I still don’t know what the Aether is. Still, she makes it work; and over time, I sort of forgot that Under the Never Sky was inconsistent on the science-y details.
I really liked both Aria and Perry, and so it was nice that Under the Never Sky alternated between their perspectives to provide more insight into their character. When Aria is thrown out of Reverie, she has no idea what will become of her. Luckily, Perry has been seeking the Dweller he saved to help him find his nephew. He needs Aria, and she’s smart enough to understand that she needs him to learn how to survive on her own. Theirs is a mutually beneficial arrangement that gradually and unexpectedly blossoms into a romance as the two learn to see beyond their prejudices about ‘Moles’ and ‘Savages’ to the actual person underneath. (Seriously though, what was up with Perry smelling violets? As much as I liked the romance, that part grossed me out.)
The secondary characters were also great; and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Roar and Cinder in the sequel. As well, I’m hoping that Olivia will grace us with her presence in it since I’d like to see how she interacts with Perry, Aria and Roar.
Under the Never Sky was released by HarperTeen on January 3, 2012.
Comments About the Cover: If there are Aether storms, why does the outside world look very serene? Why is Aria confidently out walking, dressed in leather? If you haven’t figured it out, the cover doesn’t match the story at all.
In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via NetGalley.