Krista Reviews: Veronica Rossi's - "Under The Never Sky"

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

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: February 7th 2012 by ATOM (first published January 3rd 2012)

ISBN 1907411054 (ISBN13: 9781907411052)

Under The Never Sky is told from alternating perspectives of Aria and Peregrine (Perry). Aria has lived a very sheltered life under the dome of the Pod called Reverie. Everything is controlled, monitored and protected. They have learned to fear and avoid the outside world known as “The Death Shop.” For it contains wild people, uncontrollable weather and sickness. All of these things are personally unknown to Atria who lives her life in a protected world. Those in the Pod are connected together with their Smarteye. A device that attaches itself onto the head and has visual and hearing capabilities to talk to other people in other pods as well as their own. As well as many other features, but mostly used as a communication device.
The alternative perspective is Perry’s. He was born outside the Pod in the” Death Shop “and survival is key on the outside. He must hunt, protect his people against other tribes and lives in a world that is opposite of Atria’s.

When Atria is banished from her Pod she has no choice but to move at all times. She has focused her efforts into locating her mother who was away on business at another Pod. During Atria’s travels she eventually meets up with Perry. The differences between the two are so distinct that it makes for most of the story. Their interactions with each other are very calculated and slow-building. Atria is very talkative, while Perry is more pensive and watchful. He has a very animalistic way about him and she is very naive and unaware. The interaction between the two as they discover together that they need each other to find the people that they have lost and Atria depends on Perry for survival.

The world that we are brought into is very creative and vivid. The idea of how the Aether sky works exactly, what has brought about this Never Sky of constant storms and electric build up. The author describes the Aether storms as the famous Starry Night painted by Van Gough. A very visual mental picture of swirling blues and electricity lighting up the sky and high winds that endanger all. This world is so different than our own, but it’s delivered to us in a way that we can understand and somewhat grasp what the characters are going through.

There is a constant flow of activity and pace to the story that it was hard to set down once you begin reading. There are several obstacles and danger that build to the mystery of the plot that keep the reader intrigued and interested with what is happening and how the story may end. Perry and Atria build their trust and relationship very slowly through arguing and learning and adjusting to each other in their new situation, but they always seem to get back to focusing on what the bigger picture is and where they are going. The author introduces several other side characters along the way that bring in both humor and danger to their quest. We are introduced to Atria as her being a very naive and sheltered person, but she grows into a determined fighter that the readers will grow to admire and root for as a leading heroine.

Overall I enjoyed the story, it was very fast paced and entertaining. The world that we are taken into is imaginative, unique and engrossing. I would have liked to see  more of the inside of Reverie and the daily lives that Aria and her people have come to know before she was actually forced out of the Pod into the Death Shop. I am also interested in understanding how this world came to be, what kind of apocalyptic incident happened to make the world this way. Although I have no doubt that we will learn more about that in future books and intrigued by what that background could bring to the story.

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