A great dystopian with virtual worlds, brother fights, super-senses.... need I go on?
I will attempt to explain the plot, but I'm afraid you might be a little confused. Don't worry, the actual book is nowhere near as confusing.
In a very distant future, the world is ravaged by climate change, which, obviously, makes living a little difficult. Most of the people live in a self-supporting dome. There isn't much to do in a little dome, so the people's only relief is taking refuge in a virtual world, where everything can happen just by thinking about it. The rest of the people live outside, where living is very tough, and they barely survive.
Aria lives in this little dome (AKA Reverie). Having lost contact with her mother, she decides to befriend one of the most powerful boys in the dome, to get information. Little does she know what a creep she is, and, after an unfortunate accident, she is banished outside the dome.
Peregrine lives outside. His nephew is very sick, and he is desperate to save him. He breaks into the Reverie just in time to save Aria, which leads to the expulsion from his tribe, The Tides. Being gifted with night-vision and an amazingly good sense of smell (as in, can smell your emotions kind of good), he finds Aria, and, despite his loathing of her, decides to help her.
Note: There is NO instant love here. They hate each other for the better part of the book. Aria thinks Peregrine (Perry) is a monster, a Savage. Perry thinks she is useless, a mole. But the circumstances require them to work together. So they do.
The story is told in third person, switching POVs every chapter. Doing this avoided similarities between the voices, and it really worked in this book.
This story is more of an adventure story than a romance, which is good. There is some romance, of course, but it is slow, not overwhelming. It's clear that the characters understand that there are more important things in the character's lives than romantic relationships, like family and loyalty and the fate of the world.
My favourite character was probably either Perry or Roar. I didn't really connect fully with Aria, I didn't really have much of a sense of her personality until past halfway. Probably because she only really started living when she got out of the dome. She also seemed a bit helpless at the first couple of days in the wilderness, but I can't really blame her for that. I liked Perry, he seemed really sweet, caring and understanding. I also loved Roar, he seemed fun and nice.
I'm just wondering a couple of things that hopefully will get answered in the next book. Like: How do the people on the outside get those powers? Did they evolve or something? What exactly is the aether and why is it so important? I think it's like a cloud or something. Maybe smog, from climate change? I could be wrong. I don't know. Hopefully my questions will be answered later.
This is a great book that I definitely recommend. I can't wait for the next book. I really want to see Aria grow into a powerful heroine and learn more about their world.
Veronica Rossi paints an interesting picture of a future dystopian world of those on the outside and those on the inside. I loved how much both Aria and Perry grew and changed throughout their adventure and look forward to reading more about them and their world.
I have a lot of love for dystopians, but ‘Under the Never Sky’ is definitely one of my favorites. There’s new tech, action (fight, fight, fight!), cool powers, super dangerous places to visit, insane sky effects, nifty characters, a not-over-dramatic romance and a crazy kid who can burn you with aether. Oh, yes. This is good.
I loved the world-building, with the Dwellers who live half-virtual lives in the big safe domes while the Outsiders manage to survive by intelligence, know-how and sheer determination to live. Personally, I’m all for the Outsiders. They’re super awesome and could probably kick any Dweller’s butt, as seen by Perry at least once or twice. Hmm, Perry. More about him later. I like the world that Rossi builds; the crazy, ever-present Aether sky is a very nice touch, and I could imagine as impressive and looming throughout the book.
The powers in this world were really, really neat. Most of them are more like heightened senses rather than standard telekinesis or telepathy or weather control things of that nature. They actually seemed more plausible than most normal powers. The technology in this book is pretty awesome too, though I would like to know more about how Aria’s SmartEye thing works. Somehow it connects to her brain and nervous system through her eye and it can be pulled off without ripping her eye out…not entirely sure how that all works. But I can forgive that since I just think it’s awesome that she basically has a holographic gameset attached to her face constantly whenever it’s on.
And finally getting to him, I think I am sort of in love with Peregrine; he’s manly, fierce, hot-tempered and an awesome hunter, and I am all about guys who can take charge and get dirty. So, therefore, I have a massive literary-character crush on Perry, and I am unashamed to admit it! I really liked the characters in this novel, but Perry was my favorite, and not just because I’m in love with him. He was complex, rough but kind, and I like the way he thinks and how he treats Aria. Aria, by the way, is a fantastic female protagonist, and I looove how she grows through the book. She’s sort of weak at first, but she finds her strength through the journey she takes and becomes a much more self-confident and aware person.
I absolutely cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out. I need more Perry. And Aria. And everything. Now! :)
Exciting and intriguing start to new sci-fi/dystopian trilogy
(Updated: May 23, 2012)
I've been pretty psyched to read Under the Never Sky since I saw the cover several months ago. I mean, that is a pretty sweet cover, right? Plus, it's a sci-fi dystopian, which is a mash-up of two of my favorite genres. So I was excited when I was finally able to sit down and read it.
This world is complex, and although I love the thought that went into it and all its intricacies, I found the story initially kind of hard to settle into. There's a lot that happens very early on in the story, and I had to struggle to get my bearings. But once I got my feet under me, I really enjoyed the story.
I think this book is actually only loosely a dystopian. It's really much more sci-fi, with a few dystopian elements thrown in almost as an afterthought. Truthfully, if not for random mentions of pieces of Earth's history (a Matisse painting, a National Geographic magazine) sprinkled in sporadically, this entire story could easily have taken place on an alien planet. The atmospheric conditions are so different from what we currently know, and humans have changed so much, that the setting isn't really recognizable as Earth. However, the back story of how the Earth came to be this way is never explained (there are some vague mentions of what happened before and after "Unity," but the book never explain what this was), so maybe if it is revealed in the sequel(s), it will all make more sense.
I enjoyed Aria's character. She wasn't a meek and klutzy damsel in distress like so many YA heroines. (She was, of course, freakishly beautiful, BUT that is explained as a product of genetic engineering, and therefore forgivable. In Aria's words, in Reverie, "everyone looks like this.") She had her moments of forehead-slapping idiocy, but she also learned and grew, realized when her stubbornness was stupid, and was someone I could root for.
I liked Perry even more, although at the beginning I kind of wanted to punch him, what with all the "my brother's in charge but it really should be me" nonsense. Okay, fine, it should be you, but stop acting like your only two choices are killing your brother or exile. There's such a thing as humility, dude.
But again, that was just in the beginning. Once he was out on his own and with Aria, I liked him much more. And like Aria, he also grew, which I appreciated. Too often, the worldly male character in a book serves only as a teacher for the naive female character. But while Perry did teach Aria a number of things (including how to not pick poison berries, a lesson Peeta could have used), he also learns a great deal himself.
I enjoyed the pacing and the development of the plot, and the writing was absorbing, once I got used to it. I loved that the romance in the book developed slowly and naturally. The only complaint I had was that I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending. A lot of questions go unanswered. Since this is book one of a trilogy, I'll forgive it. But I was hoping at least a little more would be wrapped up in the first book.
Overall, I thought this was an intriguing story with engaging characters, and I'm excited to see what happens next.
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON http://shelversanon.blogspot.com
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a dystopian third-person dual narrative. To be honest, when I read the description, I wasn't very interested. I hate switching to different perspectives, the whole girl-from-a-supposed-utopia-goes-to-the-wild trope is getting a little old, and I figured I knew exactly how the relationship between the two characters was going to play out. He's a jerk, she gets feisty, aw he's a wounded soul, smoochie smoochie smoochie, the end. I was right... and I was very, very wrong.
The official description quoted above does the book a great injustice. The best taste of the book comes from my favorite quote, found on page 125:
"Do the clouds ever completely clear?" she asked.
"Completely? No. Never."
"What about the Aether? Does that ever go away?"
"Never, Mole. The Aether never leaves."
She looked up. "A world of nevers under a never sky."
She fit in well then, he thought. A girl who never shut up.
That's Aria, inquisitive to the point of irritation, intellectually curious, artsy, and poetic. And that's Perry, rough, blunt, and dry.
The book opens with Aria. Unfortunately, it also opens with a heaping handful of other named characters that I wasn't inclined to care about. Because of the description, I knew she was going to be exiled at some point, and seeing as the first scene is about a group of teenagers about to do something mind-boggling risky and stupid, I figured this "something" was going to be the impetus for the exile. I'm not going to put spoiler tags around that, because it's a bit of a no-brainer. And since I knew she was going to be exiled and therefore unlikely to see any of these other teenagers again, I REALLY didn't care who they were.
Luckily, Rossi finds her stride fairly quickly. The unimportant teenagers are a teensy bit important, because the lead teenager, Soren, is Aria's link to finding her mother, with whom she lost contact several days prior. What's supposed to be a fact-finding mission disguised as a rollicking good adventure in a forbidden area soon devolves into something primal and savage. Tragedy and mayhem ensues, leading to Aria's rescue by a mysterious Outsider who then disappears, and ends with Aria's banishment.
That synopsis might seem a bit dismissive, but only because it is. Aria is fine in her own right, but my heart beats for Peregrine (aka, Perry), the hunky Outsider who saves her not only in the teenage mayhem but also when he finds her exiled and trapped in the middle of an Aether storm. Despite their mutual distrust of and disgust for each other, the two reluctantly join forces to help Aria return home - Aria to clear her name and find her mother, and Peregrine to save his nephew, who was kidnapped by Dweller soldiers.
And snap diddley, does it take off from there! By switching back and forth between perspectives, each character serves as our eyes into a world we don't understand. Through Aria, the girl who finds the Aether fascinating and the fact that fingernails can grow bewildering, we learn about the world inside the pods and the Matrix-meets-Genetics-101 reality she thinks of as normal. Through Perry, younger brother of the tribe's Blood Lord, we learn about the harsh, unbending reality of the outside, where madmen and cannibals roam and a chosen few wield almost supernaturally enhanced senses. Each knows of the other world only what they've learned through legend, which can carry a shocking degree of truth amid the lies.
There were details that irritated me. The very fantasy-like Aether and its effect on Outsiders is never really explained, though the world of NEVER SKY is supposed to be a future version of our own world. Also, Rossi serves up some common stereotypes (of COURSE the heroine of the story can sing like an angel; of COURSE the hero has a rare and valuable skill set) that make me grit my teeth every time I see them in a book. However, the negatives are more than counterbalanced by the positives. Charming and charismatic cannibals that have an established reason for being cannibals? Check! A Jacob-and-baby-in-Twlight type of bond that is NOT solely romantic? Check! A character named PEREGRINE?! Check! (Although I did mumble "Fool of a Took" in certain sections.) Best of all, like other clever authors before her, Rossi shows she is unafraid to kill off a character just because it is expected that she won't.
While the story was in part predictable (the relationship model I expected between Aria and Peregrine? Yeah, it was pretty much like that), Rossi managed to avoid a purely stereotypical ending and left enough valid, compelling loose ends (both plot-wise and character-wise) that a sequel is inevitable and welcome. I look forward to meeting an ever-maturing Aria and an ever-hunky Peregrine in their next episode of their continuing adventure, as well as their array of supporting characters (I won't mention names, as I've already mentioned that she does kill off someone(s).)
**Points Added For: Charismatic cannibals (I squee with joy just typing it), hunky boys who genuinely love kids, main characters older than the obligatory 16, pyromania, sensible Jacob-and-babying (here called "rendering"), characters with cool names, "fables" that actually have some truth to them.
**Points Subtracted For: Unimportant minor characters (Brooke, grrrr), super-Aether in an otherwise realistic world, missing/dead/abusive parents, girls whose main claim to fame is singing.
**Good For Fans Of: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (I view the Dwellers as ancestors of both the Eloi and the Morlocks).
**Points For Parents: Mild-to-moderate language (semi-frequent use of the word b*stard), non-explicit sex, non-explicit supposed attempted rape (nothing graphic and no actual rape), violence.
An excellent love interest and charismatic cannibals. Need I say more? (Yes? Then check out the full review.)
I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. At first, I wasn't feeling it. Immediately, there were a lot of terms introduced that had to do with the world and I had no idea what any of them meant. The first
few chapters were a little ehhh for me. I know that a lot of people were immediately swept away by the beginning, but I had a hard time keeping up. After that, though, it was a pretty good ride. The worldbuilding may not have been the most original. The plot may not have been the most exhilarating. But underneath that there was brilliant writing that seriously sucked me deep into the world of Aria and Perry.
When I discovered that the narration was third person I was upset. When I discovered it was third person and it alternated between Perry and Aria I was even more upset. Generally, I don't like those types of books, but this one really worked well. It switched at all the right places - not too often, not too scarcely - and really helped readers get to know both of the characters. In the end, it was used to tie together the story lines and conflicts, not just to add action.
My favorite part of this book would be the romance between Perry and Aria. Not because I'm a romance freak, though that has something to do with it. But I think more YA romances should be like theirs. It progressed slowly and naturally, giving readers time to really root for their relationship. After 100 pages, Perry still hadn't told Aria his name. I love love loveddd how it took time for them to trust one another. It got to the point that the first time they kissed, my stomach was in knots because I was so excited! And then, here's the best part: Even though they fell in love, they maintained their individual goals and aspirations.
The character development was absolutely phenomenal, in my opinion. All of the characters grew tremendously, but especially Perry and Aria. Aria started out clueless about the real world. She's lived her entire life in the Realms where everything is generated. She doesn't know real pain and she has never seen a real rock. Perry has trust and self-deprecation issues. He thinks that he really is a Savage, and he thinks that he is cursed and that everyone he loves is doomed, pretty much. These two characters change each other so so so much. At the end, Aria is tough and determined and just made of win. Perry knows what it is like to really love and he knows that he has to do what he has to do to care for his tribe. I can't say for certain who my favorite character was, though, because they were all pretty kickass.
As I said before, the world wasn't that original. The technology had pretty much all been done before, but I still really enjoyed reading about it and learning more about the Pods. I'd recommend this to those who enjoyed Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy and Robin Wasserman's Cold Awakening trilogy.
I couldn't believe how addicted I became to this book. I was utterly absorbed in the words and the story. The writing was very vivid and the plot, while not entirely unique or mind-blowing was still interesting. The action was tense and heart-pounding, and the conclusion was wrapped up nicely while leaving a TON open for the next book. The ending was not necessarily a cliffhanger exactly, but it still left me anxious for the next installment.
This was the last book I read in 2011 and I think it was a fabulous finale. This is a debut that I think true dystopian-lovers will really enjoy.
This is a nice, solid debut from Ms. Rossi. I really enjoyed the intriguing premise, the world building, and the way the heroine moved from a sort of spectator in life to an active participant who found the courage to risk everything for those she loved. I didn't care for the hero for the first half of the book, but then he really grew on me. I also wanted the linger a bit longer in the end to really savor the romance and understand the conclusion. But those small things didn't take away from the overall effect. This is a good book and is worth reading.
Fabulous world building, suspense and intrigue, solid character arc for the heroine