UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
384 pages, hardcover
Available now (Jan. 2012)
Review copy provided by publisher for 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.
Positive: Charismatic characters. At the beginning, Peregrine and Aria couldn't be more different if they tried. Aria's sheltered, has never known violence or hunger, and she's relatively incapable of taking care of herself. Perry's had to grow up very fast in the harsh world, can survive weeks or months on his own, and has quite literally violence bred into him. Over the course of the story, Aria learns not only how to take care of herself but she actually flourishes outside of her domed world while Perry learns tenderness and love through his contact with Aria.
Positive: Creative worldbuilding. While the idea of a protected, domed city isn't a new one, the world and people who live outside the dome are quite unusual. Many are Marked, with extra-strong senses: Audiles can hear a long way off; Scrires have fabulous senses of smell, a rare few, like Perry, can even scent emotions; and Seers who have impeccable vision. And then there's the Aether, a swirling, ever-present essence in the sky that blocks out the stars and can form into incredibly destructive storms that scorch the earth.
Positive: This will be perfect for my post-apocalyptic/dystopian unit. This year, I'm moving up this unit to next month, so I can get as many kids as possible reading and finishing THE HUNGER GAMES before the movie comes out (hells yeah! Can't wait!). But, since a lot of people have already read THG, I give them a long list of other post-apocalyptic/dystopian books to choose from and UNDER THE NEVER SKY will definitely be on that list.
Wish: I wish this was a stand-alone. It's not that I won't be very excited next year when book two comes out but here's yet another first book in a series. *sigh* Series overload!
Overall: Fast-paced and intriguing, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a great edition to the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre.