This book was an unexpected, delightful surprise.
Title: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Release Date: November 2011
Published by: Pier 9 Books
Source: Publisher (thanks, Ashlea!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Exiled from her safe home in the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria finds herself in the outer wastelands known as the Death Shop. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent energy storms will. There she meets a savage, an Outsider named Perry – wild, dangerous – who is her only chance of survival.
But Perry needs Aria, too, and they are forced into an unlikely alliance that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
So you want to be a part of a bit adventure. How about in the near future? And you want to be with two drastically different people trying to survive in the harsh world with a Sky that mostly kills than saves. You don't need to look far, because Under the Never Sky is the book you need.
It might just be me, but I took great delight in seeing Aria forge a strong character when she was out in the wastelands. She's a girl who, all her life, has lived in her own bubble inside Reverie where she can control everything, never knowing the outside world, and Aria learned just how it was like to truly live when she was thrown to the Death Shop for death to cover up a sinister deed. With an outsider. With Perry. There was a particular scene in the book, when Perry had to tell Aria that she had her 'first blood', that made me realize how constricted Aria's life really was. Even with all the technology, the freedom she enjoys in the Reverie, there were things she didn't even know. But the harshness of the terrain, every blister, every twinge of hunger, every single time she braved a storm when the Never Sky goes haywire, all of it contributed in creating a new Aria. A better Aria, one who knew the secrets behind her birth and what really happens inside Reverie.
Ah, Perry. How do I begin to describe this wonderful character? I was greatly fascinated with him. Perry's story is much more complicated than Aria's and I like a great mystery, something I want to figure out. He was raised in a world completely different from Aria's, but filled with the same familiar complexities. He has to kill his brother to become the Blood Lord, the leader of his tribe, but he couldn't do it because of his beloved nephew, Talon, who is dying. He's strong, a bit headstrong for his own good. He has plans vastly different from his brother, most of the time clashing opinions with him. Perry is Marked, a Scire. Rare, with two gifts instead of just one. He can smell emotions and see better than anyone else in the dark. It must be hard to possess both a gift and a curse. Perry will worm his way through the reader's hearts with his unusual charisma. Rough, hardened by life but smart and strong. Someone who's capable of loving so much and be harsh if needed. Experienced. Vulnerable. Wouldn't you like a person like that as well?
Veronica Rossi took the time to develop Aria and Perry's relationship. I am not a fan of insta-love myself so I am deeply impressed with the way Veronica made the shift of emotions between Perry and Aria from hate and disdain coupled with curiosity, to trust and ultimately, love. It takes time to build all of that, and surely enough the trials Perry and Aria went through were enough to show them the good side of each other. They grew on me. I was swept away by the story and I didn't even realize it until I was holding my breath during scenes where they faced great dangers and had to fight for their lives countless of times. The wastelands were an unforgiving place, either you fight to live or you die, it's as simple as that.
I think what made me fascinated with this book, aside from the great romance and dynamic characters, were how the settings were written. Veronica's world building is just amazing. Scary, but amazing. You can see the glaring difference between the Reverie and what was beyond the Wastelands. One was progressive, the other one simple, maybe even considered primitive. I don't think you can even call it a wasteland because people exist in those places. Granted it was with a life much more crude and harder than in Reverie but when you look closely, they also have startling similarities no matter how advanced or how 'outdated' both places are. After all, people live in there, they're ruled by basic instincts, with desires and wants, though it might not be exactly the same. The Reverie needs to find a way to correct the mistakes they made in their ruthless pursuits of technology to live better, and The Blood Lords will do anything to make their tribe survive.
What's more amazing is that there's an abundance of supporting characters that readers will also love. Roar is one particular interesting fellow. I knew from the moment I've read of him that I will like him. Roar has superior hearing, his gift. I'd like to read more of his story with Liv, Perry's sister. He's a great friend to Perry and to Aria. And probably the first person who will get your attention aside from the three is Cinder. A great mystery surrounds this boy who harnesses a deadly power, one which can potentially change the whole story.
There's a lot to look forward to in the sequel, which I am excited to have, but for now I will say this: Under the Never Sky is a phenomenal debut for Veronica Rossi. Like the Ether filled sky, this book will entrance you from start to finish. To simply say I love this book is an understatement. I devoured it, I absorbed every single word, page by page. Brilliant and simply wonderful!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Highly impressive debut!
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
The Never Sky, gorgeous and dangerous.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.