Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Format: Audiobook, Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.
As I’ve mentioned a couple other times on this blog, I’m going back and re-reading some of my favorite books. I started the project as a refresher to prepare for the release of a couple long-awaited sequels, but decided to keep it up because, well, I just love some of these books so much. I’ve been “reading” them via audiobook because it gives me a different experience of the book — and it tremendously helps my daily commute. Under the Never Sky was the 7th book I read for this project. And while I enjoyed this book enough the first time for it to make this illustrious list, I have to say I didn’t have a full appreciation of it the first time, for whatever reason. (I think it might have been dystopian burnout.) Under the Never Sky was amazing.
“She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she’d ever taken. And never had she loved life more.”
Aria is forced from her world in Reverie and into the outside world, the Death Shop. She meets an Outsider named Peregrine who hates her kind, but is drawn to her, inexplicably. She considers him to be a savage, and while she’s scared of him, she knows she will have to rely on him to keep her safe. But, Aria wasn’t as helpless as she sounds. She was sheltered, but strong. Her time in the outside world with Perry helped bring it out in her. Used to spending time in simulated realms, she did have a sense of adventure. She was just a little in over her head here. She and Perry form an unlikely alliance, which ultimately grows into more as time goes on.
“And in life, at least her new life, chances were the best she could hope for. They were like her rocks. Imperfect and surprising and maybe better in the long run than certainties. Chances, she thought, were life.”
I feel like there’s little that I can say about the actual book without giving anything away. The plot was unique, action-filled and intense. As Aria and Perry fight their way through the Death Shop, coming across a string of dangerous characters and perilous situations, I was on the edge of my seat. The world that Veronica Rossi created for this book was phenomenal and engrossing. I felt like I was right there with Aria and Perry as they battled for survival.
“He kissed her slowly. Everything went slowly so he could follow her temper, and search into her eyes. When they joined, her scent was brave and strong and certain. Perry took it into himself, breathing her breath, feeling what she felt. He’d never known anything as right.”
Aria and Perry’s relationship progresses from apprehension to interest to … more… smoothly. There’s no insta-love here. If anything, they actually spend a lot of time fighting against their initial impressions and prejudices of the other, before accepting the other for what they were and recognizing their strengths. They fought against the inevitable for quite awhile, neither willing to make the first move. When they finally admitted the depth of their feelings for the other, I thought their relationship was beautiful and natural. They worked so well together, complementing each other perfectly. I fell more than a little in love with Perry myself.
“Your voice sounds like a midnight fire. All warm and worn in and golden. I could listen to you talk forever.”
“I could never do that”.
She laughed at him. He brought his lips to her ear.
“Your scent is like violets early in spring,” he whispered. Then he laughed at himself because though it was true, he sounded like the worst kind of fool.
There’s so much right about this book. From the world-building to the action, the dialogue to the character development, it was everything I want in a book in this genre. It was a total adventure. The book was told in alternating perspectives between Aria and Perry. The execution was perfect. Each character had a clear voice and I never found myself confused as to whose chapter I was reading. I loved that we got a glimpse inside each character’s head. While I really Aria and found myself identifying with her and thought Perry to be completely swoon-worthy, the secondary characters can’t be easily forgotten. Roar was intense and charming. I can’t wait to get more of his story. Cinder was mysterious and a puzzle. I think he will play a huge part in this series and I can’t wait to find out.
“She’d survived the outside. She’d survived the Aether and cannibals and wolves. She knew how to love now, and how to let go. Whatever came next, she would survive it, too.”
Aria grew tremendously in this novel. She was a little prissy and sheltered when the book started. She learned and accepted truths about herself and her background. Thanks to Perry, she learned what real adventure – and love – was. Perry grew in his own ways. He opened up emotionally. His transformation from the “savage” we were introduced in the early part of the book was huge. I can’t wait to continue their journey in the sequel.