|TITLE: Under the Never Sky SERIES: UTNS #1|
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi PUB DATE: 1/3/12
PUB: HarperCollins FORMAT: ARC, pb, 374 pgs
SOURCE: from pub. in exchange for my honest review
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.
THREE WORDS: Original, Enthralling, Superb-Romance (just pretend that’s one word)
MY REVIEW: Wow! Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky had me reading until the wee hours of the morning and simply blew me away. This is a brilliant debut!
MY BRIEF SUMMARY
Aria has lived her whole life within the safety of Reverie, living her life in the virtual, pseudo Realms. But all that changers when she’s cast out for a crime she didn’t commit. Once on the outside, in what Dwellers like her call the Death Shop, she is certain she will die. But fate as other plans. Peregrine ,“Perry”, has lived his whole life on the outside, out in the real world. Their desperate situations-Aria must find her missing mother and Perry must find his nephew who was taken by Dwellers-bring them together. Reluctant to work together at first because of a mutual hatred and fear, the two set out to find their loved ones, and somewhere between running from Cannibals and dodging the dangerous Aether storms, the two fall in love.
UTNS offers one amazing story! The futuristic, dystopian world in this book is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, although it reminds me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (which is a big compliment by the way!). The story is modern, yet feels timeless, edgy and startling at times, yet captivatingly beautiful and thoughtful at the same time. I seriously hope UTNS gets to adapted into a movie, because I want and need to see this story and world play out on screen.
Perfectly and effortlessly paced, the book is organized into chapters focusing on either Aria or Perry’s perspective. I really liked this alternating perspective and the way that it allowed me to see the whole picture, yet at the same time it also allowed a very intimate relationship to form between me, the reader, and the characters.
The world-building in UTNS is spectacular. Rossi’s world is well developed, vivid, realistic even in its moments of fascinating unfamiliarity, and absolutely breathtaking. I love Rossi’s idea behind Reverie, the Pods (where the Dwellers live), and the virtual Realms. First and foremost, the simple idea of pseudo Realms where everything feels incredibly real is beyond cool, intriguing, and thought-provoking. But secondly, the stark comparison between Reverie and the real, outside world is really very insightful and left me quite thoughtful. Underneath the sci-fi elements, the action, and the romance, Rossi has really done an impressive job of exploring the human condition and the deep line between simply being alive and living.
The story itself is gripping and, honestly, quite addicting. I fell into the story quickly and my attention never wavered. Rossi is one of those authors who aren’t afraid To Go There, and UNTS definitely goes there and a bit farther. The outside world beyond Reverie is relentless, hard, and unforgiving and the gritty, sometimes violent action and fighting scenes reflect this wonderfully.
There was one thing throughout the book that didn’t bother me as much as it intrigued me. The characters use each other’s name a lot. Like, A LOT. When addressing someone the characters always seem to incorporate that person’s name into their sentences. Like I said this intrigued me and I’m definitely curious as to whether this holds some significance.
The last few chapters are heart-stopping and left me breathless. And the ending?! That ending was pretty perfect. There are still many questions left unanswered, but the ending of the book is very satisfying and left me totally eager (and impatient) for me.
UTNS has an awesome cast of compelling characters. When we first meet Aria, she’s a little cocky and naïve, but even after being sheltered in Reverie her whole life, she’s still has an awesome feisty, stubborn streak. Aria grows a great deal throughout the book and her growth is very organic and natural, which I loved. She’s faced with a lot of hard realizations and situations in a very short time span, and I think her character reacts in very realistic and relatable ways. I found her a sympathetic and engaging character.
Peregrine, “Perry”, gets a million cool points from this nerd simply because his name is Peregrine (LotR fans will know why). But, his name aside, he’s a totally compelling character on his own. Perry has such a captivating mix of strength, vulnerability, sweetness, wit, and swoon-worthiness. Perry doesn’t talk much and we get to know him more through his actions and thoughts, and I found myself so fascinated by this complex guy.
Even the minor characters, one we never actually get to meet, are well developed and interesting. Perry’s best friend Roar adds a wonderful sense of humor to the story. The mysterious and powerful young boy Cinder, adds an even more mysterious layer to the book. And even the Cannibal tribes have piqued my curiosity. Liv, Perry’s sister is the character we never meet in this book and I’m really hoping she’s in the next one! She already seems like a helluva girl.
Ahh yes, the superb romance I mentioned above. When I first read the synopsis of UTNS I was scared that I’d find a clichéd, insta-love kind of romance, but I found the complete opposite. Aria and Perry don’t even like each other at first, and we really get to see their friendship develop first, then their romantic relationship. It’s always refreshing to actually get see two characters fall in love in YA.
And the romance between these two is really quite beautiful and touching. There’s hot spark between them,but a deep, profound connection as well. And of course, there are obstacles standing in the way of them being together and there’s no guarantee that they’ll up together in the very end, but you can bet I’ll be rooting for Team Paria…and I think you will too ;)
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Under the Never Sky is a fresh, stunning debut from Veronica Rossi. I’ve fallen completely for this story and characters, and cannot wait for the next installment. An absolute MUST read!
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VERONICA ROSSI was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up, she lived in several countries and cities around the world, finally settling in Northern California with her husband and two sons. She completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. When not writing or painting, she chases after her boys, who make her laugh every day, and who teach her about love that's a million gazillion times bigger than the ocean. UNDER THE NEVER SKY is her first novel.
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