Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi

I realize I am extremely late hopping aboard the Veronica Rossi train, but I wish I would have skipped most of the other YA dystopian novels I've read, and went straight to Under the Never Sky.  This... book... was amazing.

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.

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.                                                      @Goodreads

In Veronica Rossi's story, the world as we know it was destroyed about three hundred years ago, when a massive solar flare damaged the Earth's magnetic field, resulting in violent energy storms called Aether that wreak fiery havoc whenever they strike.  Shortly after the solar flare, a group of survivors banded together and formed the Unity; governments created huge domes, called pods, for survivors to live in to escape the harsh elements, and a lottery was held to determine who would be able to live in the domes on a permanent basis.  Aria's ancestors were fortunate enough to be placed inside a pod, Reverie, while Perry's ancestors were left outside, battling the harsh elements and struggling to survive.

The world building in this novel is fantastic.  Very imaginative and creative -- I haven't read anything like it at all, which is both unusual and refreshing in this genre.  Aria, one of the two main characters, lives in a pod with about 6,000 other people.  Since they are in such cramped quarters, they have invented a way to virtually go anywhere and do anything they can imagine, accessed by a Smarteye device worn permanently over their left eye.  They essentially live the majority of their lives in virtual reality, which they deem is better than real.  On the surface, it is.  They feel no pain, but can experience pleasure, smells, and tastes.  They can do anything, including flying, with no threat of danger.  They have everything they could need, and have even devised a way to life much longer than the current life expectancy, thanks to anti-aging treatments.

Early on in the novel, Aria is cast out of the pod for a crime she didn't commit.  Once she is on the Outside, with no hope of survival, she meets Perry, an outsider that is desperately trying to find his nephew, who was taken by the Dwellers that live in the pods.  He knows someone who can fix Aria's broken Smarteye device so that she can contact her mother, so the two of them form a shaky alliance out of necessity.

Despite the constant threat of the Aether, Aria soon realizes that nothing is better than real, nor is it even close to the same.  She grows increasingly attracted to Perry, and vice versa; Perry can scent her attraction, because he has highly developed skills that allows him to scent other people's tempers/moods, not to mention see clearly in the dark.  Their love story is slow to develop, but the end result is worth it.  I wanted Perry and Aria together, desperately.

With great world-building, excellent character development, and a unique, refreshing plot, Under the Never Sky has become one of my all-time favorites.  This novel wouldn't even wipe its ass on the Divergent trilogy.


  1. I've read a few mixed reviews on this book, but I'm so looking forward to reading it! Your review has really excited me!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

    1. I really liked it, but it seems I've been somewhat easy to please lately. :) Thanks for stopping by!


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