UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Release Date: January 3rd, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
Life in the Realms is all Aria knows. She can visit any place and do anything through her Smarteye, which promises life Better than the Real. Basically, Aria, and the thousands of others in Reverie and other Pods, live life virtually. And they’re okay with that.
For anything is better than the Death Shop – the real world that promises nothing but a million ways to die. Even breathing means death.
When circumstances get Aria wrongfully exiled to the Death Shop, Aria is certain she won’t see a new day, or justice for that matter. But Aria is different, she just doesn’t know it at first, and neither do we. When she crosses paths with a Savage by the name of Peregrine, their fates intertwine. Peregrine holds the key to Aria’s freedom, and Aria to his.
Wildly reminiscent of Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, Under the Never Sky was a story I wish I could relive for the first time once more. Narrated in the third-person, we get to see debut novelist Veronica Rossi’s world through the eyes of two very different characters – an Outsider (or Savage) named Peregrine and a Dweller (or Mole) named Aria. Yet despite the switching between viewpoints, the story never became confusing or lagged in the least.
The characters were wholly fleshed out, leaving nothing to be imagined, nothing hazy – everything was vivid, clear, and compelling. But for me, more than fleshed-out characters, I need a plot that will hold me from one page one – and that’s definitely what came out of Under the Never Sky. A plot that won’t be easily forgotten.
Veronica Rossi is an author to praise. With a dystopian world such as hers, world-building is a must. And she delivers one with crystal-clear imagery – words that won’t bring you to a state of boredom, but will leave your heart pacing from one word to the next. Fans of Graceling, you’ve found your match. Under the Never Sky is one 2012 debut you won’t want to go without.