Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review - Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Series: Under the Never Sky #1
By: Veronica Rossi
hardcover, 400 pages
Expected Publication Date: January 3rd 2012 by HarperCollins

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 The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure

My Review Breakdown

COVER: 4/5
FINAL SCORE: 21/25 = 5 Cupcakes


WHY I WANTED THIS BOOK: There is no shortage of hype surrounding this book in the blogosphere. To say it is everywhere isn't sufficient. Dystopian is a huge genre out there in young adult books right now and I can't get enough. The synopsis both on the back cover and Goodreads gave me the impression that this was one heck of a unique book and when an ARC showed up on my doorstep I was beyond excited. Sometimes dystopians can blur together and not stand out on their own but Under the Never Sky is one that you won't soon forget.

STORY/PLOT: I will admit that the first maybe twenty pages or so really weren't holding my attention. I was having trouble with Aria's character, and couldn't completely grasp the world she lives in. I knew her mother was missing, her world is corrupt, strict, and they visit virtual Realms where they interact with others. Perry's character and story line is definitely what drew me in and made me stick with it, and very soon after I was completely submerged and engrossed in the book.

The story is definitely unique. Not so much Aria's world, which is one explored in other dystopians (not identically but similarly). Perry's story, however, is unique. The ideals explored in the Death Shop and how there are so many different types of existence outside of Aria's world is intriguing. The story is well paced and keeps you engaged from the beginning. Sometimes it seemed scenes would take longer than needed but it wasn't dull or boring.

CHARACTERS: I didn't mind Aria's character but she wasn't the standout character of the book. Perry was by far the strength of the book. The way of life for him in his tribe, The Tides, and living under his brother's rule, since he's Blood Lord, is very interesting. Just the way of life and how realistic and rational Perry is makes it that much better. Roar was a good character as well. The characterization was done wonderfully. Never did I have trouble connecting with any of them even though it was hard to sympathize with Aria at moments. I liked everyone's names as well, some were very different, other's common.

WRITING: There is something so lyrical and poetic yet simple about Rossi's style. It's a pleasure to read. Told in alternating narratives from Aria and Perry's points of view, it is easy to feel what each character is thinking or how they react to situations and other people. It's difficult for some author's to grow a relationship between characters from loathing each other to falling in love with each other. Rossi had absolutely no problems with this whatsoever. The hostility felt between Aria and Perry at the start is tangible. You can feel the repugnance Aria has for Perry, whom she refers to as Savage. And the dislike that Perry has for Aria, who's a Dweller is also something you can fully comprehend. As their relationship slowly begins to grow and change it is endearing to see how their interactions change as well. How a simple touch or passing glance can send shock waves through your body. The world building is equally incredible. Every place or person spoken about was well thought out and masterfully delivered. To create such a wide, diverse landscape with such differing personalities, strengths, and weaknesses is nothing short of incredible. Rossi is also a master of unpredictability. There were parts that I anticipated something happening but there were other times where I definitely did not see scenes coming. This is a great tactic to keep readers engaged and guessing until the end.

ENDING: Loved it, great ending, this book was the perfect welcome to the series. I don't think the ending could have been any better, or would have wanted it done any differently and is done flawlessly leaving off with a colossal cliff-hanger that will leave you begging for the sequel!

COVER: Gorgeous. Aria standing beneath the Aether, the Never Sky, is perfect. The tangled looking stuff behind her is very symbolic to me of her struggles both in Reverie and in the Death Shop.

LAST THOUGHTS: If you didn't pre-order this one; shame on you! Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but you need to get up and go buy this one NOW!!!!

MY HOPES FOR BOOK #2: Find Liv, See Perry grow as Blood Lord, Get closer to finding the Still Blue, See growth in Aria as a character and become one kick-ass heroine, as much fun and edge-of-your-seat scenes as Under the Never Sky delivered.

READ THIS IF YOU LIKED: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Matched by Ally Condie

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