Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Publisher:  HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication Date:  January 3rd, 2012

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I had super high expectations of this book.  Not only has it gotten rave reviews from multiple YA bloggers whom I respect, but it has gotten much author love as well.  I went into this book expecting to be blown away and I was!  What an awesome start to what I am quite sure is going to be an excellent series.  Veronica Rossi has raised the bar for post-Hunger Games dystopia authors!

I have to admit that when I first read about this book, I wasn't sure.  The synopsis made the story seem a bit dull and predictable.  Don't get me wrong, I knew I wanted to read this, but it wasn't quite top of my list... It should have been!  The plot and pacing were awesome; never a dull moment, never a time when I said, "I totally saw THAT coming!".  This book was so expertly balanced.  The action was believable and very intense, while the more vulnerable moments were written with such a light touch.  I found myself gritting my teeth during the heart-pounding parts, and tearing up during the emotional parts- often these elements of this story only pages apart.  As for the idea behind the story?  It is unique and well represented.  There were subtle twists and surprises that kept me on my toes and reading until 4am because I had to know what would happen next.

The characters were impressive as well.  At first I thought I wasn't going to like Aria, but she turned out to be one of my favorite characters.  Same with Perry.  My favorite character had to be Roar though.  He has a quality that while difficult to pinpoint, makes you instantly like him.  The characters evolved throughout the story, and I never felt like I was given too much or too little information as the story unfolded.  I was equally impressed with the world building.  Rossi's descriptions of the sky, terrain, and the desolate nature of the environment outside the pods pulled me fully into the story.  I loved the way they the environment was described through those with enhanced senses.; that is what brought this world to life.

If you're looking for a great book to kick off your 2012 Debut Author Challenge, look no further! If you are a fan of Dystopia, Action/Adventure, even Sci-Fi, look no further!  I can't really imagine anyone being disappointed with this book.  Phenomenal!  A great way for me to have kicked off 2012!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book is violent at times, and it is implied that Perry is no virgin, but this book is otherwise pretty clean.  I would say that it is appropriate for ages 12 and up (7th grade+).

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you about the world building and the character development. I was a little put off by the romance though. It just didn't seem real to me.

    Nevertheless I'm still looking forward to the sequel!


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