DAC #1

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From HarperCollins:

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.

Just like Aria feels when she is suddenly exiled from her home in Reverie, I felt unsure and confused at the outset of Veronica Rossi’s debut novel, Under the Never Sky. I was thrown into a futuristic world with unfamiliar terms, new technologies, and many characters. When I started reading this book I felt like I was one step behind and had to rush to catch up and get back on track. However, these muddled feelings quickly dissipated by the 3rd or 4th chapter and suddenly I found myself in a world I did not want to leave.

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Aria and Perry. This narrative technique really helped flesh out the characters and the complex relationship between the Dweller and the Outsider, a relationship that is fraught with prejudice. I enjoyed witnessing how their understanding of one another evolved.

Overall I felt that the story had very good pacing. Important plot elements are carefully woven into the narrative so that plot twists don’t feel unbelievable within the story’s structure. I appreciate that quality in my books. Problems being solved by coincidence or luck are often indications of a poorly thought-out storyline, but Rossi avoids that pitfall with prudence and stealth. For example, Aria adjusts to the outside world organically, acquiring skills and knowledge along the way that she later puts to good use.

Under the Never Sky is filled with the kind of characters I love to read about. Aria is stubborn, resilient and curious (although her sudden sexual confidence was a bit shocking…). Perry is strong, brave, determined and compassionate—the kind of hero you want on your side. They are the perfect complement to one another and their relationship pulled at my heart strings. The secondary characters like Marron, Roar and Cinder all have their own stories and secrets—as they should—and I sincerely hope we will meet them again in the sequel and get to learn more about them.

Even though Under the Never Sky ended with more questions than it did answers, I was satisfied with the ending. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to the next chapter in the lives of Aria and Perry as they learn and love under the never sky.

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