“Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.”
Thoughts: The haves versus the have-nots – they have been at the front of most novels for hundreds of years. In Veronica Rossi’s world of Under the Never Sky, the haves do have everything, courtesy of a virtual world in which the inhabitants spend a large majority of their life. The have-nots are left to fend for themselves in a brutal world that pits man vs. man vs. mother nature. Into this harsh world Aria is thrust and left to her own devices, until she joins forces with Perry. Then the fun really begins.
Under the Never Sky falls into the very popular dystopian fiction genre. While touted as YA, it has a decidedly adult feel to it, as the problems Perry and Aria face are anything but child-like. Their actions, mannerisms, and thoughts are also extremely grown-up and thoughtful, something which is always attractive to readers outside of the target audience. This is one of those series that crosses generations, accessible and enjoyable to readers of all ages.
Ms. Rossi’s use of language is perfect for the stark landscape in which Aria finds herself. In many ways, it mirrors the harsh environment, with descriptions that are effective with minimal word usage. In addition, she provides enough character development to keep readers engaged with the characters while not detracting from the action and adventure that remains at the heart of the story. Ms. Rossi’s writing shows a level of a maturity that belies her debut novel status, providing more proof that Under the Never Sky is going to be a popular series.
With elements of Ready Player One, The Maze Runner series, Dune, The Hunger Games series, and more, Under the Never Sky is the ultimate combination of elements in previously successful dystopian novels, twisted in such a way to make each element fresh and exciting. Aria might not start out as a strong heroine but she evolves into an admirable role model that draws the sympathy and support of the reader. The worlds of Reverie and the Outside are a brutal reminder of the damage that could still happen due to global warming and a growing dependency on the virtual world. Almost non-stop action along with a decent amount of character development combines to create this thrilling new series that will leave readers anticipating the release date of the next story.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association trade show for my review copy!