Under the Never Sky is told in third person from the perspectives of Aria and Peregrine (aka Perry). Aria lives in Reverie, a Pod, safe from the aether outside. Most of her life is spent in the Realms, complex simulations that are thought to be even better than the real world. She has no issues with her life, except for her worries about being separated from her mother, a doctor working on a project in another Pod.
Having lost contact with her mother due to network issues for longer than usual, Aria decides to investigate. To do so, she befriends Soren, the son of a powerful man in Reverie, hoping to lure the information from him. Little does she know what a creep Steldor and his dad are. This first section made it difficult for me to relate to Aria, not so much because she found herself in a bad and stupid situation, but that she should have seen it coming. She has observed some weird behavior from him before, but did not think better of going somewhere with him. Not wise.
Peregrine, desperate and searching for a way to save his nephew's life, breaks into Reverie just in time to save Aria. Ultimately, though, this condemns both of them to expulsion from their respective homes, him from his tribe, The Tides, and her from the Pod. Even worse, a bit of tech he took from her brings Reverie's soldiers after him, during which attack they kidnap his nephew.
Gifted with night-vision and a crazy good sense of smell, Perry finds her, doomed for death in the desert and rescues her despite his loathing for her. Note: there's no instalove. The both hate one another for a good portion of the book. Real trust and affection are slow in coming. In fact, she thinks he's a monster, a savage, and he thinks she's useless, a mole. Circumstances require them to put their feelings aside and work together.
For the most part, I didn't particularly connect with Perry and Aria. With aria especially, I just didn't really have a sense of her personality. Perhaps this stems from the fact that she wasn't a real person until she emerged from the pod and really got to experience life, but I found her very bland for roughly the first 3/4 of the book. Thankfully, a lot of the side characters grabbed my interest, particularly Roar.
What really caught my interest in Under the Never Sky were the powers possessed by folks on the Outside. These powers are essentially enhanced senses. Did they evolve? It's curious. I'm also really interested to know what's up with the aether. Is that from people having destroyed the environment? That's what I would guess, but I could be wrong.
While I was not blown away, I am definitely eager to read the next book, because I would like to learn more about this world and how it came to be this way. I also hope to see Aria really grow into a powerful heroine.