Title: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 3rd 2012
Pages: 376 (paperback)
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 energy storms will. 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 come together to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
I always hated how, when I read a book for the first time, I read so fast, I tend to skim through the important parts—but I've never hated it so much as now, after my second read of this truly wonderful book.
Aria had known nothing but ease and comfort her whole life—what with living through her Smarteye, a device that enabled everyone inside the Pods to do whatever they wanted by just thinking it—until she lost contact with her mother who'd gone to Bliss, another Pod, for her scientist work. Aria tried to pry information out of Soren, the son of one of their leaders, but let's just say her plan didn't work out the way she'd thought it would.
One of the main criteria in rating dystopia/post-apocalyptic books is world-building. Did you see that thought-up world behind your closed eyes? Did it terrify you or made you wish you live there? Did the writer do so well, you could practically taste the world through the pages? I'm very happy to answer "yes" to all of those questions. And yes, I do want to live under the never sky, even with its terrible yet fascinating Aether (which I imagine as destructive Aurora Borealis, lol).
Another reason why I loved this book was the characters. Aria had the potential to make me hate her with her Dweller background, but she didn't. She never made me facepalm or cringe, but instead made me admire her. She handled her new reality really well, and that's pushed her into my Top Ten Favorite Heroines. And then there's Perry. Oh, Peregrine. He was strong, tenacious, and, at times, harsh, so it was a delight to see glimpses of the thoughtful softie deep inside him.
Now for the romance. Aria and Perry disliked—or maybe even hated—each other, which was to be expected because she's a Dweller and he's an Outsider. They banded together because they had to, so it was nice to see that slowly change into because they wanted to. Beware, though, because when I said "slowly change", I meant "hair-pulling sexual frustration". Anyway, what set their romance apart from the ones in other books was that instead of dropping everything else to be together, they chose to man-up and do what they had to do. I swear that wasn't a spoiler.
And then there were the Marked, as in the Auds, Seers, and Scires—Outsiders who had extraordinarily strong sight, hearing, and smell. I liked how there was an explanation to their existence instead of being there just for the sake of adding to the futuristic feel
and natural birth control.
However exciting and unpredictable the plot was, I felt like it lacked a real climax, but that doesn't mean it lacked action. Oh, no, it surely did not. The story was one great journey that had me desperate for more, especially with that ending! And you know a book was made by an expert mind when it receives a Most Cinematic award. Now let me uncharacteristically bite my nails while waiting for Through the Ever Night (just a few more weeks! *happy dance*).