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I have been on a real dystopian kick lately and I can honestly say that 'Under the Never Sky' was fantastic! The first of an up-coming trilogy, both the writing and plot line were amazing to the point that it's easily ranked into the top three of my favourite dystopians, (the others being 'Delirium' and 'The Hunger Games' if you're wondering) it was simply just that good.
Told from the dual perspectives of both Aria and Perry, the book explores a post-apocalyptic world where the privileged 'Dwellers' live in protective domes, experiencing the world through a series of virtual realms where they are kept safe from all physical dangers and disease. Yet on the other end of the scale are the Savages, the people who live beyond the domes in the outside world, gathering together in tribes where every day is a fight for survival.
Aria has lived her entire life within the domes and for her, life couldn't be more perfect. Then her mother goes missing and suddenly, Aria finds herself exiled into the outside world, punished for a crime she didn't commit. It is here she meets Perry, a savage outsider with an unusually heightened sense of smell. And so with Perry in search of his nephew and Aria looking for her mother, together they form an uneasy partnership and set out on a journey that will question everything they think they know about their worlds... and about each other.
As a main character Aria was amazing. After living such a sheltered life her struggle to adapt to the outside world was moving, especially as she did her best to put on a brave face and become self-sufficient, despite being scared out her mind. Also Perry was a fantastic male lead. Powerful and so utterly masculine, he is a lethal hunter who keeps his warmth and kindness hidden behind a tough exterior.
Also the romance between the two of them was just breath taking to read. Their attraction to each other developed gradually as they learnt to trust one another, slowly proving that their original perceptions of one another were wrong and that beneath the surface, both were more than their 'Savage' and 'Dweller' labels suggested.
So overall I thought this book was absolutely fantastic! Although it took a few chapters for me to truly get into it, the story soon had me swept away. And with some questions left unanswered, I really can't wait to see what else this trilogy is going to bring. Just Brilliant, 4 ½ stars!
About the book
Under the Never Sky is the first book in a series by Veronica Rossi. It was published by Atom on 7th February and the book is 336 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
Worlds kept them apart.
Destiny brought them together.
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.
(Taken from Goodreads.com)
What I thought
Under the Never Sky is a book that I've had on my TBR pile for months now. While I was having a blogging break, I didn't read much at all so this was one of the books that got neglected during that time.
Under the Never Sky has a pretty slow start. Luckily, I had been forewarned about this otherwise I think I may have given up on this book quite quickly. During the first 50-60 pages or so, the book launches us into a completely new world that isn't explained too well. Confusing is an understatement. I had no idea what was going on at all. Luckily, once this part is over, everything clicks into place quite nicely and it all made a lot more sense.
Aria, the female protagonist of the story, narrates part of this book. Chapters are alternated between her and Perry, the male protagonist. I really like this way of telling a story as it makes it possible to really get to know both characters. Once Aria leaves her safe home of the Pod and is forced into the wasteland, she has no idea what is going on or how she will survive. Her home is one that is very futuristic where she is able to go wherever she wants in a virtual reality system. The outside is extremely different and so are the people. Where Aria is used to her way of life, Perry is used to something else completely.
I really enjoyed the contrast between Aria's home and Perry's. Aria's home is reliant on technology whereas Perry only relies on his senses, hunting and basic ways of survival. The alternating narratives help to show how each character copes in their newfound situations and I could easily see the differences due to their upbringings. The way in which Perry lives has quite a complex background to it and this was one of the most interesting parts of the book. I loved learning more about the ways of his tribe and how everything worked.
A lot happens in Under the Never Sky but the pace seemed pretty slow for the most part. I think this was mainly to do with the fact that Aria and Perry travel around quite a lot so some time is spent walking or hunting etc. However, during these times character development is strong as there is a fair amount of dialogue and getting to know each other. The pair, with an obvious romance about to happen, take things extremely slow and they don't even like each other to begin with. Veronica Rossi builds up the tension between the two characters and lets things progress at an even pace.
Even though this book had a really slow start and was so confusing, I really enjoyed it in the end. The world created is an extremely interesting one and the characters are amazing. Under the Never Sky reignited my interest in dystopian novels!
Aria has lived her whole life under the dome in a virtual reality. But when her Mother goes missing, her quest to find the truth see's her cast out of the domes protection and safety and into the wilderness beyond. In a cruel and harsh environment, with the threat of the electrical aether sky storming above her constantly, survival is slim.
But then she meets wild, savage Perry who has also lost a beloved family member and found himself expelled from his tribe. Forming a loose but fraught allegiance they both set out to find answers. But danger lurks around every corner...only their fragile friendship can lead them to survival.
For the first 50 pages of this book I was fully prepared to give up on it. I was beyond confused at the new world we are dropped into with very little explanation and didn't have a clue what was going on. But then it all clicked into place and from then on I was hooked.
The book begins with Aria. Her world in the pod is alien and complex and at first I really struggled to get to grips with it. Veronica Rossi doesn't ease the reader in slowly, more plonks them right in and I truley felt I was in another world. Once I got my head round the ideas though I absolutely loved it. It doesn't take too much to imagine a world where people live in a virtual reality. Where Aria's world is futuristic, on the outside Perry's is primeval. The people on the outside live in clans and at the mercy of the elements. I loved the contrast between the two, though immediatly preffered Perry's. Despite the dangers the outsiders faced I'd take that over a life stuck in a pod where you have everything you wanted or could imagine, though none of it is real. The aether itself is a constant, threatening presence and is described so vividly I could see it in my mind, despite the fact I had no idea what it was to begin with.
Told in a switching third person narrative by both Aria and Perry, Veronica Rossie ensures we really get to know both of these characters very well. I didn't like Aria to begin with, but throughout the book she developes into a strong heroine. There isn't a pivitol moment where this happens, she doesn't suddenly turn from protected weakling to kick-ass. It's a quiet and believable progression. Perry on the otherhand was fascinating from the start (and also particularly swoon worthy!). If I'm ever stuck in a post apocalyptic world, he's the guy I want with me. As with Aria's developement, Rossi takes a slow approach to the romance in this book. And wow, did I get fully caught up with it. There's no instant attraction here, the pair connect through need rather than want and the chemistry between the pair is as electrifying as the aether that constantly threatens them.
Despite the slow start, Under The Never Sky turned into a fast paced, thrilling ride which had me hooked. It's tough, bloody and action packed at times with some heart stopping moments that kept me turning pages as fast as I could. Although I was baffled with the world to begin with, Rossi captures it so well that once you get it, it becomes believable, detailed and developed, so much so that while reading it I felt I was actually there. I would like to know what happened to make the world how it is in Under the Never Sky, as this isn't covered. Maybe that will come in following books in this series, which judging by the ending of this one promise to be every bit as good. If you like your dystopia worlds bleak and ruthless with an action packed and fast paced plot, then I recommend Under The Never Sky.
Published by Atom February 2012
Copy received from Publishers for review purposes.