Here’s my review of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, a dystopian YA novel.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi takes place in the (hopefully) distant future. The main characters, Aria and Perry, live in a world that is nothing like the one we know today.
Aria is a Dweller. She lives in Reverie, huge technologically-advanced Pods which house hundreds of thousands of genetically engineered Dwellers, many of whom live to be over 200 years old. Using their SmartEyes, people living in Reverie connect to three-dimensional computer generated worlds, which allow them to experience anything from the Paleo-lithic Era, to the Dark Ages, to the inside of a video game. Aria’s mother, and only parent, is a geneticist who designed Aria to have a spectacular singing voice. Life is care-free in the Reverie, and little thought is given to the outside world.
Perry is an Outsider. He lives in the world Dwellers call the Death Shop. Here, tribes of people make the best living they can in a desert plagued by Aether storms. They hunt for meat and grow their own crops, make their own clothes, build their own houses, and make fires to keep warm in the winter. But Perry is unique in his own way. Many people living outside the Pods develop special gifts–like the ability to hear things over extreme distances, to see in the dark, or–like Perry–to have an enhanced sense of smell.
Through circumstances beyond their control, Aria and Perry find themselves in the middle of the desert, forced to become allies to survive. Aria will not make it in the Death Shop without Perry, and Perry cannot achieve his goals without Aria. Can they work together to the end of their adventure? Or are they both doomed to die in the Death Shop?
Under the Never Sky is the sort of novel you just can’t put down. The characters are interesting and believable, and easy to emphasize with. The reader doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the story any more than the characters do–in fact, the reader knows even less about the world than those who inhabit it, so the reader is always wondering what is going on, and what will happen next. It is especially fun to watch Aria and Perry grow as they learn more about each other and their relationship changes.
When I first began reading this story, I was sure Aria was going to be a whiny teenager that would get on my nerves (*ahem* Bella…sorry but she did) and Perry would be the “macho-man” who would prefer to have nothing to do with said whiny-chick, but begrudgingly saves her life anyway. The story may have started that way, but instead of staying stagnant and boring, the characters grew, and developed into people you might actually want to be around in real life. I was impressed. Another thing that impressed me about this novel was that you never quite understand everything. For example, what is the Aether?? I imagine Veronica Rossi sitting on a bench somewhere, watching people buy this book, snickering and thinking, “I can perplex another one!” There are so many things she doesn’t tell us–and yet, it’s perfect. Rather than get on my nerves, it makes me want to figure things out for myself, and use my own imagination. And really, who cares where the Aether came from? What really matters is how Rossi’s brilliant characters are reacting to it now.
I believe this book is the first in an eventual series, and I hope the next book gets here fast! Things are only going to get more intriguing as the story of Aria and Perry continues.