- Date published: 8th January 2013
- Publisher: Hachette AU (ATOM)
- Format: Paperback, 384 pages
- Series: Under the Never Sky, Book 1
- ISBN 13: 9780349001487 ISBN 10: 0349001480
- Categories: YA – Post Apocalyptic
- Goodreads / The Book Depository / Booktopia / Bookworld
- Source: provided for review by the publisher
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love – one that will forever change the fate of all who live under the never sky.
Isn’t that cover gorgeous? I’m very grateful that Hachette gave me this copy, and the matching edition of the sequel, Through the Ever Night. I hope the Australian edition of Into the Still Blue matches these 😀
Onto what’s inside the cover! Under the Never Sky is a fascinating mix of post-apocalyptic, science fiction and fantasy. Post-apocalyptic: Some mysterious event has driven a people inside habitats called Pods. Those inside the Pods live sheltered ‘perfect’ lives inside pseudo reality environments called Realms. They hang out, eat, sleep, and even have relationships inside the Realms, where you get any experience you want, without pesky negatives like fear and pain. Science Fiction: Access to the Realms is given through Smart-Eyes, cool bio-technology based coverings that go over one eye and allow users to access the Realms and be in the real world at the same time. Fantasy: The Outsiders have evolved and gained super-senses – some can hear really well, while others can see or scent better than every one else. These powers seem to have something to do with the mysterious Aether exists in the sky, and the destructive Aether storms that plague everyone.
Although the world building is awesome, I would have preferred to find out a little more about how it all came to be. It’s unclear what kind of event made people retreat into the Pods, why some people got access to them and others didn’t, why the Outsiders don’t just break into the Pods and take the resources. The last is especially perplexing because it’s well established that the Pods are neither as safe nor secure as those living inside them would like to think. I would also like to know what those Aether storms are.
Rossi has crafted intelligent, believable characters in Perry and Aria. I really liked both of them and wouldn’t dare to pick a favourite. I love how nice Perry is – I love a YA hero who isn’t a jerk to everyone he meets because he has a ‘tough exterior’. He has issues with Aria, and understandably dislikes her in the beginning, but he’s always helping and taking of her because he’s basically an awesome guy! Aria is spunky and determined, and I really like how she grew into herself over the novel. She didn’t complain (too much) about how different life is on the Outside, and I understood all of her fears and misgivings.
My favourite part is that the pair didn’t instantly fall in love and spend the whole book playing cat and mouse. Their feelings grow slowly, naturally, and when they both finally admitted them, they didn’t dance around the physical aspect either. Refreshing! I think their relationship is strong, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops in future books.
I really enjoyed Under the Never Sky, I think it’s a clever book that will be enjoyed by readers who appreciate intelligent, witty characters and a captivating plot line. It’s even more impressive considering this is Veronica Rossi’s début novel, and I am excited to start the sequel soon.