Author: Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
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.
Aria is a pretty awesome chick. She's not a waif or a whiner. She is smart and does not complain overmuch and keeps pushing herself to be stronger. She goes through something of an ordeal at the beginning of the book, and ends up in a pretty sucky predicament as a result. But she handles it all with courage and an inner strength that kinda surprised me. Perry is a warrior and a survivor. He can be vicious when he has to, but is ultimately a caring individual with a strong character. His savagery comes from a need to survive and protect within a harsh environment filled with dangerous things and people.
Aria and Perry experience a heck load of tension in their initial interactions. Aria is frightened of Perry and his capability to kill. Perry is frustrated by Aria's talkativeness and questions. They come from different places and do not understand each other. They hold resentment and contempt toward each other until they get to know one another better. Once they get over their initial dislike, they're better able to acknowledge each other's strengths. I can appreciate the way that they slowly come to respect one another and the way in which their relationship develops.
The settings in Under the Never Sky are pretty crazy. It's like part dystopia, part post-apocalyptic survival. Aria and the Dwellers reside in biodomes built to protect people from the harsh environment. The society within the domes has become a bit dystopic. The people wear devices called smart eyes and use them to experience a virtual existence within the biodomes. As a result, she hasn't experienced very many things in real life, or "in the real" as she calls it. Smells and textures are all a little bit different once she's outside. While the domes are fascinating, only a small portion of the story takes place within them. The world outside the domes is wild, unsafe, and electric. Some of the Outsiders like Perry have developed enhanced senses. The sky is filled with Aether, which is some sort of flowing, fiery lightning that comes down from the sky in funnels and storms, wreaking havoc and destruction on everything in its path.
The plot moves quickly as Aria and Perry navigate this Aether infested world in search of a way to find/save/communicate with those who are loved but lost to them. The story is told in the alternating points of view of Aria and Perry. It's awesome to get both of their perspectives and to see how differently they view things. If I had to make one complaint, it would be that some of the stuff with the enhanced senses pushes into a territory that is almost paranormal, where I would've preferred that it were a little more subtle. But it's nothing too major and doesn't do much to affect my enjoyment of the novel.
I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to fans of stories with a bit of science fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic environment, and survival elements.