Under the Never Sky
Summary: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.
Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky a truly enterprising debut. This being said, is not a fantasy book, it’s not a dystopian story, it’s not a science-fiction novel; but rather all three of those genres.
And that brings me to my first problem with the novel. It’s labeled as a “dystopian” novel, but it’s not. Like most so-called “dystopians” in this dystopian craze, the actual dystopian elements are highly overlooked; replaced by a plethora of unnecessary romance.
In a nutshell, Under the Never Sky is set when violent storms called Aethers have destroyed the Earth. In an effort to save humanity, people relocate basically to virtual realities. On the other hand, “salvages” live outside these realities, and have to learn to survive on their own.
Our main character, Aria, lives comfortably in the pod city of Reverie with her mother. But one day, she gets blamed for something she didn’t do, and is exiled to the real world – where her only hope is the last person she’d normally think of asking for help – a Salvage named Perry.
Aria was an okay protagonist – if a bit selfish and just downright stupid at times – but certainly not even close to being as annoying as some other protagonists in the genre. I found her to start off the story slightly on the Mary-Sue side, but the more the story progressed, the more I began to like – or at least somewhat admire – her.
The supporting characters were the same way. None of them particularly stood out; and, honestly, there were times when they were all so similar and blended together all so easily that it made me literally go: “Who was that character again?”
And, because I couldn’t fully connect to Aria and Roar, their romance was simply not one of the strong points of the book for me. I mean, it was sweet and all but I just didn’t care for it. It was just…there. I never felt the romantic connection between them. It never felt genuine or exciting; and honestly, it just felt like a couple of teenagers saying “I love you” in a monochromatic tone. I never really felt the attraction between them.
Lastly, the thing that I believe completely broke this story for me was the world-building…or lack thereof.
The Aether didn’t look like something that could put an end to the world, yet that had nearly happened during the Unity.
Speaking of which, let me pull up some more quotes Veronica wrote describing this storm because it was pretty much mentioned every other page! Besides mentioning that it’s a). very dangerous and b). a storm, the Aether was explained at all, which is horrible because it’s a HUGE part of the story!
What is the Aether actually? Is it like a giant tornado? Is it a massive cloud causing an abundance of destruction and toxic gasses to spread? Or is it something else? Honestly, I don’t know….and that left me really behind in terms of visualizing the story.
And then there’s the question of how this society formed in the first place. We know why it was formed, but we don’t know the how, what, when, and where. Not only that, but there is a major question left that really is never answered: Why are the “Outsiders” not allowed to live in the pods as well? There’s obviously plenty of room…it doesn’t make sense!
All in all, while Under the Never Sky certainly isn’t my favorite book of all time, I wouldn’t skip it just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. A lot of other reviewers (most of them in fact!) have ended up really enjoying this one. As for me, I’ll definitely at least try to continue the series!