Saturday, January 12, 2013

REVIEW: "UNDER THE NEVER SKY" (Under the Never Sky, #1) - by Veronica Rossi

Title: “Under the Never Sky
Series: (Under the Never Sky, #1)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My star rating: 4/5




Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.


Rarely do I come across books with which I end up having a love-hate relationship. You know those ones which you want to love and dive into a gush-fest about, but however much you enjoyed it you just can’t overlook the things that bothered you about the story? For me, this is one of those books. I was really looking forward to reading this due to all the hype about it, and I’m definitely excited that it has been optioned for film by Warner Bros, but I don’t see myself reading it again.

It started off really well. My interest in the story was cemented the minute Aria was rescued by Perry, but what really intrigued me was the technology of the realms and the Smarteye. These only get explored and explained much later in the book, so by the end of Chapter two, I already had a dozen questions and thus threw myself into the story, reading until my vision blurred over. I needed answers and nothing was going to deter me from getting it. With all the possibilities the realms and Smarteye offered, it sounded like an incredibly exciting place to be, but when the author started explaining the workings of these, I felt she glossed over it too much and I ended up with more questions than I had before the explanations.

Aria and Peregrine… Well, I’m really in two minds about them. I loved Aria’s character and I loved Peregrine. Their characters were properly fleshed-out, they were interesting, and it was clear the author spent a lot of time establishing that connection between them and the reader. We are made privy to their background, their emotions, and their thoughts, which helped me to understand them and root for both of them. I especially liked Perry’s character at the start of the book when he viewed Aria as someone who is a means to an end. I loved that it wasn’t love at first sight and that their relationship developed gradually while I was getting to know each of them. But for me, they didn’t mesh well together as a couple. As lovely as the romance is between them, I just didn’t feel it. I felt Aria would be more suited for Roar, as they had a much more easygoing relationship with a natural feel to it with friendship as a foundation, than what she has with Perry. That’s my opinion.

Secondary characters who I hope to get to know better in the second book are Cinder, Roar, Talon and Liv. It took me some time to warm up to Cinder (he freaked me out the first few times I read about him), but once he started using his powers and scared the heck out of the cannibals, I liked him more. I hope in the following books his character will play a bigger role so I can find out what drove him away from his home. Roar I liked from the start, and the easy camaraderie between him and Perry was a joy to read. Not enough time was spent on Talon’s character for me to really invest in him, so when he was abducted it didn’t have much of an impact on me. He’s another character I’m hoping will get more of the spotlight in the next book or the one thereafter, so I can establish that connection with him as it seems he is an important character in the development of the story. Liv is a character who only gets mentioned in this book, but I already like her. This is one of the reasons why I’d want to read book two.

Halfway through there were a couple of chapters where I felt the story was starting to lose my interest, as it was dragging along, but then it picked up again nearing the last ten or so chapters. Regarding world building I think the author did a swell job, but at the same time I feel there were some elements she could’ve explained a little more to really give me a feel for the characters’ surroundings.  Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It’s something completely different from other dystopian novels and it set my imagination on fire. It is filled with suspense and a few shocking betrayals, as well as otherworldly elements. The author maintained a good balance between a primitive dystopian world and the futuristic technology of the pods, which should be enough to get any sci-fi fans interested. Even at times when there were a lull between certain chapters, focus continually remained on character development imperative to the balance of the story, so I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) skim over it.

This really is a fantastic book and the writing is superb. I’m happy I gave it a chance. I want to read the second book, but because of the points I mentioned here I’m a little hesitant. On the other hand though, I’m really curious to get answers to all the questions I still have, so time will have to tell whether I’ll read Through the Ever Night. My recommendation is for readers who love romance, fans of dystopian novels and sci-fi, and bookworms with heaps of patience with slow-paced plots to give this book a go. Although I’m not sure at this stage whether I’ll read the follow-up to this book, I’d love to read more by Veronica Rossi.



Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi has 2856 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.




Veronica Rossi is the author of Under the Never Sky, the first book in a post-apocalyptic trilogy for young adults. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up, she lived in several countries and cities around the world, finally settling in Northern California with her husband and two sons. She completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. When not writing, she enjoys reading, painting, and counting down the minutes until she can get back to making up stories about imaginary people. 


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