This month’s Spotlight Week features UNDER THE NEVER SKY, Book 1 of Under the Never Sky Trilogy by YA Author Veronica Rossi
384 pages, Hardcover
Genre: YA Ages 12 and up
Published on January 3, 2012 by HarperCollins
They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.”
Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.
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.
Under the Never Sky is a dystopian story with a strange combination of science fiction and fantasy elements. The world it portrays is deadly and unforgiving: food is scarce, diseases run wild and the skies are filled with aether storms –torrential, lethal, and unpredictable.
In this story, the world is also divided into two camps. On one hand, there are people who live in Pods–technologically advanced cities built under domes. They are safe from the aether storms and fortunate enough to have food and other needs available, but they are also trapped within the dome’s confines. To counter the feeling of restlessness and boredom, the people here use technology to escape into alternate realms in their minds.
On the other hand, are the Outsiders—people who have chosen to live off the wealth of the land, and beneath the harsh open skies. Their lack of technology means that every day they risk death. They’ve reverted back into the old ways of tribal living. They are hunters and farmers who are always on the brink of hunger due to failing crops, or of disease. In order to survive the brutal world around them, these outsiders have developed Senses— which means that one of their five senses are heightened so much that they become almost super human in their abilities. There are Audiles, who have super sense of hearing, Scires with an extreme sense of smell and Seers whose vision compares to that of nighttime predators.
The story is told in the alternating points of view of Aria, a Pod dweller, and Perry, an Outsider. Their paths cross when Aria sets out from the Pod of Reverie to look for her missing mother.
Aria and Perry come from two very different worlds, so their relationship begins with a lot of fear and distrust. Unlike most YA books where there seems to be an instant love connection, these two actually start out disliking each other. Through the ups and downs of their shared journey, however, they begin to learn more about each other’s lives and worlds. Respect develops and they learn to depend on each other. Their connection is born not only out of the need to survive and find answers, but also because they actually give each other hope and meaning in life.
Aria and Perry are both strong and stubborn in their own ways and watching them grow as individuals and develop as a couple was for me, the most enjoyable part of reading the novel.
There are a lot of unanswered questions with regards to the world-building in this story. The history of how the world came to be as it was isn’t fully explained, but I suspect everything will be cleared up as the next two books in the trilogy arrive. (The second book of the trilogy, Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky), is out in stores now)
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is one book which I certainly recommend to all fans of YA novels—especially those who love dystopian stories. Its riveting action scenes, intriguing storylines, and well-fleshed out characters make it a must read.
Come back this Wednesday for the second part of the Spotlight Week, where we feature an interview with UNDER THE NEVER SKY Author Veronica Rossi.
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