Release Date: January 3, 2012
376 pages, Under the Never Sky #1
Rating: 4 stars
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“She looked up. “A world of nevers under a never sky.”
She fit in well then, he thought. A girl who never shut up.”
― Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky
Aria has lived her whole life in Reverie, a dome that protects her from the Aether storms, cannibals, and savage tribes of the outer wastelands called The Death Shop. But when Aria is exiled from Reverie, she suddenly has to fight for her survival in wastelands she never stepped foot on before. With her mother missing, she has to depend on a Savage named Perry to help her stay alive in The Death Shop. He also needs her help in order to find his missing nephew. They may be each other's best hope in finding their missing loved ones.
I just love how authors nowadays work so hard to stick the title in somewhere. It happened with Shade's Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and now Under the Never Sky. I always laugh when I see the title just staring at me in the middle of the page. A world of nevers under a never sky. Random thought.
Under the Never Sky was fast paced and entertaining. It had me from the first page, and the pace never slowed for a second. This dystopian world was easy to fall in love with. The Death Shop possessed a certain dark beauty. It had its frightening elements, with the cannibals in the beaked masks and the weird, zombielike people just hanging in trees. But it had such a stark beauty as well. I fell in love with the Aether swirling in the sky above. Rossi described it beautifully, and I found myself imagining a deadly, alive aurora. Plus, it was compared to my favorite painting, Starry Night, so that was all I needed to know. The Aether, the Smarteyes, and the Realms were wildly imaginative. I loved the idea of escaping from a dull reality into different visual Realms. And these Realms were endless. There was a Medieval Realm, a Future Realm, an Opera Realm and so on. And while the Realms weren't real, they felt real to those inside them. That is just trippy. Plus, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of those Smarteyes. Much more convenient than my iPhone.
As for the special Senses some of the Outsiders had, that was an awesome idea as well. I especially loved Perry and how he could learn so much just by sniffing. I won't say anymore, but trust me, it's not as stupid as it sounds. We're not talking Rachel Ray in the kitchen sniffing. It did remind me of Graceling and Po, but not overly so. I won't say how it reminds me of Po because that would be a Graceling spoiler. But if you read the book, you know Po's Grace. I'm exhausted from trying to avoid spoilers.
I really have to praise any author that experiments with different POVs, especially when it's the lead male and female. Rossi did a wonderful job of switching between Aria and Perry. It was smooth and flowed naturally. It also gave me a good sense of Savages versus Dwellers, their prejudices and backgrounds.
I loved all the characters, especially Perry and Roar. I even liked Cinder. He was very intriguing. But I will admit that for most of the book, I found Aria annoying. She was whiny and obnoxious. She was so critical of Perry and found him too savage. She had some high and mighty complex. She wanders off, completely disregards what Perry says, and just has moments of utter stupidity. I can understand that she lived her whole life in Reverie and was sheltered and taught to believe certain stories, but it took her such a long time to really appreciate Perry's help. Though he also had his cold moments, he was the maturer of the two and was adorable. But Aria transformed as heroines always do and I finally grew to like her later on.
What really frustrated me is that the book needed more world building. We hear so much about an Aether storm, but we are never told what exactly an Aether storm is. Or how it came into its stormy existence. The reader is given tidbits of information, but there isn't enough. I want more background and explanation. Maybe I'll get that in the upcoming book. Hopefully.
I will definitely read the sequel. First, because I love the characters. Second, because I want some answers about the world building.