March 6, 2013

Better Than Real?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Release Date: January 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 389 pages
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle ebook
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Amazon)
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.

Thoughts on Under the Never Sky
Before I ever picked it up, I had read great things about Under the Never Sky. So I went into it with really high expectations... and then spent the first 20% completely confused. Rather than slowly introduce us to the new world, or even spend some time explaining things, Rossi throws you right into this dystopian setting with little introduction.

The action starts early in this book, and I think it's a little disconcerting as a reader. While I certainly don't need pages and pages of exposition describing a new world, I do think there needs to be a little easing readers into the new world. The new terminology alone is overwhelming - dwellers, outsiders, death shop, aether, seer, scires, pods, realms - and that's just some of the things you'll learn about in this book! There was definitely a science fiction feel to this book and, to be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to end up feeling about Under the Never Sky.

I had such a hard time getting into it at a first, but then, things started to change. Perry and Aria unite to help each other accomplish their different goals - Aria to find her mother and Perry to save Talon - and then the plot and characters really became engaging. Chapters alternate between Aria and Perry's perspective. Sometimes, there is one character I like better so I look forward to those chapters more. In this case, I loved both characters equally and really just wanted to read even more from both!

Then, Perry's best friend, Roar, joins them. And that's when I fell even more in love with this book. There isn't a love triangle in Under the Never Sky, but there is a really unique triangle that develops between these three. When I heard Rossi speak at a book signing, she described it as a "stable" love triangle. Perry and Aria develop feelings for one another, Perry is best friends with Roar, and Aria and Roar develop their own friendship. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this, and I loved the dynamic between all three characters!

While I wanted more from the world-building and still didn't feel like I understand everything about certain aspects of this book (such as the aether), I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Their interactions are so enjoyable, and I knew that I'd be reading the next book just because I had to know how their stories continued. Aria really takes control of her situation when she's cast out of Reverie. I loved that she wasn't necessarily kick-ass from the beginning, but she absolutely knows how to hold her own. Perry is dark and intense, but I adored his passion for his family, his hopes for his people and his desire to do the right thing. Roar was funny, charming and brought so much to the story that I wish he had his own book!

Also, this is one heck of an amazing romance. There's no instant feelings here. It's a slow-build that develops naturally and believably, and it totally delivers on the swoon. This was also an instance where I loved being able to "be" inside both characters' minds because it gave their relationship so much added depth.

I loved that the book left me wanting to know what happened next, but it still felt like it was complete conclusion. There isn't a cliffhanger, and it ends on the perfect note. Some trilogies leave you feeling like you've only been able to sample an appetizer before you're cut off - you're left hanging and just keep hoping the main course will get here faster! In this case, it was like eating a delicious, full meal. You're completely satisfied, but are still looking forward to being able to come back for more in the future.

So Quotable
"And in life, at least in her new life, chances were the best she could hope for. They were like her rocks. Imperfect and surprising and maybe better in the long run than certainties."

"Touches that had no real purpose but to say I’m here and We are together still."

31 comments:

  1. I agree with you about the beginning. I had a hard time getting into it too, and as I was reading I kept wondering what is was that made my sister love the book so much. But by the end of the book, I was hooked so hard. And like you, Roar was part of was pushed me over the edge. :D

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    1. Yayyyy! So glad you had a similar experience and ended up loving it :)

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  2. Yessss, I love the romance between Perry and Aria! In this book, at least. In the sequel I found myself preferring Roar and Aria, even if they were just friends. I love Roar so much!

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  3. I'm just finishing this one now! I'm loving it. :) I think what I like best is the growth in Aria's character ... and Aria and Perry! I swoon just thinking about it!

    I'm happy you love this one!

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    1. Yay for just finishing this one! Excited for you to read book two :) It's even better!

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  4. Your review basically just made me want to push this towards the top of my (towering) to-read pile, as it confirms what everyone has been saying about this series. It certainly sounds unique, and I love the fact that there's a triangle that's NOT a love triangle in it!

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  5. Like you, I've heard a lot of good things about this series. I appreciate the warning about how quickly we get thrown into the action -- that won't stop me from reading it, but it's definitely good to know! I find the first few pages of almost any book a little disconcerting and I always wonder if I'm the only one! Especially if I'm not that familiar with the premise, I'm frantically trying to remember everyone's names and figure out what is going on and how it all interconnects -- I'm famous for going back and re-reading the first few pages after I've gotten a better handle on things, since I always feel like there was something important that flew right over my head the first time around!

    For me, the characters make or break a book since I view them as the heart & soul of any novel, so I think I will enjoy this regardless of any other negatives. And bonus points for not ending on a total cliffhanger -- I have a MAJOR love/hate relationship with those!

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    1. Glad you think the info about the beginning will be helpful! I definitely wish someone had told me that before I started. All I heard was how amazing it was, so I was super confused and scared I was going to be the odd person out when I couldn't really get into it at first.

      Seriously, you are going to ADORE these characters. The plot and pacing are awesome, too, but the characters are what's really PHENOMENAL!

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  6. Oh, I love the author's way of describing the Perry/Aria/Roar situation: a "stable love triangle". That's a really good way of looking at it, in my opinion. I do like how Rossi allows her protagonist to develop a platonic relationship with a male (who isn't gay and therefore a non-threat to the main couple). I really appreciated that from this book. So often authors seem to portray that the only opposite-sex relationship in a girl's life is with her boyfriend; heterosexual male friends just don't exist. Which is obviously silly.

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    1. That is a really good point Renae -- I hadn't thought of how unusual that is in a book until you said it!

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    2. I agree with you on the whole boy friendship thing! Anytime a girl is friends with a boy in book world, they end up having feelings for each other. I'm not saying that doesn't often happen in real life, too, but not ALL THE TIME.

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I've been holding off on reading it because I wasn't sure if I would feel the same but now I'm going to pick up asap!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad I've helped convince you to pick this one up soon :)

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  8. This is one of my favorite series! I agree with the beginning though. I felt so overwhelmed by all the lingo and the lack of introduction into the world. The author really does throw you in there with very little set up. But once I got the hang of things, the book just clicked for me. Mostly due to Perry and Aria, as individuals, and especially as their relationship developed. Such an intense and slow burn. Sigh.. I love them together. And I love Roar too! You'll definitely like the next book if you're a Roar fan. Plus there's the Roar and Liv novella which I ended up reading too. I liked learning more about him :) Great review!

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    1. This is definitely one of my favorite series, too! It's seriously amazing! But yes, the beginning was overwhelming and confusing. I'm glad it finally started to click with me!

      Intense and slow burn = <<<33333

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  9. You just described EXACTLY how I felt about it. I was sure I wasn't going to like it very much at first and it took me some time to get into the story, but then I suddenly fell in love with it. And yes, that had A LOT to do with Roar. I love him SO MUCH. I love the romance a lot too, and I mostly love the fact that there isn't a "real" love triangle. Though I have yet to read TTEN (because I want to re-read UTNS first), I am certain it will be just as wonderful :)

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    1. Oh, I love Roar so so so so much! But yes, it did take a little bit of time to get into this series :)

      READ THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT! IT IS AMAZINGGGGGG!!!!

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  10. Oh I loved this one the first time I read it, and I remember feeling exactly the same way you did. Then I did a re-read via audio not too long ago and remember feeling much *better* about my bearings at the beginning. I loved it so much more the second time - everything was so much more intense - the feelings between Perry and Roar, Perry and Aria, Perry by himself, Aria by herself, just everything. This is just an all-around great series AND I think my feelings for it are enhanced by the cover of the book. I kept referring to it over and over while I read about the aether because I think the visual image was much more of an explanation than even the verbal description. All in all, I LOVE this series and I'm glad you're reading it. I need to catch up with you and read the second book instead of spending so much time re-reading UTNS. :)

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    1. I definitely look forward to rereading this one! I already adore the series, but I think it's going to grow on me even more now that I'm more familiar with the world, the terminology and the characters.

      This is seriously one of my favorite new series! I just adore everything about it. And you need to read book two if you haven't done so already! SERIOUSLY. Just do it :)

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  11. I completely know what you mean actually -- getting into this book was really hard for me. BUT! The characters! The romance! I am so invested now!

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    1. EXACTLY! Hard to get into at first, but once you do... this series will never let you go!

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  12. Yay! I'm soooo glad to see your thoughts on this one, Hannah. Yes, the world building is a bit lacking and jarring in this first book, but the characters and their dynamics completely make up for it. I'm so in love with Roar, and Perry and Aria's relationship--I can't wait to see what you think of all the developments in TtEN!

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    1. The characters and their dynamics definitely sold me on this series! SO GOOD!

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  13. I started this one, but didn't finish it. Your review (as well as some of my other favourite bloggers gushing about this one) has inspired me to give it a second chance. It's good to know that it gets easier to understand later on. I think that was my problem with the book in the first place. The writing grabbed me, but I'm not much for sci-fi unless it's really well explained, so I got confused and put the book aside.

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    1. I definitely think you should give it a second chance! I really wanted to set it down when I first started because it was so confusing. But I promise you, it really does get better and easier to understand! I'm not big on sci-fi either, and I didn't realize how much of sci-fi book this was going to be. BUT the characters totally make up for the confusion the further you get into it!

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  14. I'm so glad that I'm not the only person who is (or in your case now, was) late to this book! I was a little burned out by dystopians for a while, so I've been hesitant to dive in despite hearing so many good things. As a big fantasy reader, I'm sometimes used to being thrown into a world with no explanations, but that doesn't mean I like it very much! So it's good to know that this one throws us into the deep end right away. But I am still really interested in reading it, especially given the relationship you describe between Perry, Live and Roar! It sound so unique and awesome!! If you don't notice me reading this soon, YELL AT ME. :-)

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    1. Haha yep! You're not the only one! I was surprised because this has a big sci-fi element to it (in my opinion) so it's kinda different from most of the dystopians I've read recently.

      I'm not a huge fantasy reader, and I think that's part of the reason I have a hard time just getting thrown into a new world. I'm usually reading contemporary or historical fiction, both of which are easier for me to "figure out" at first.

      I'm about to go yell at you!

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  15. I loved this book! I completely agree with the romance of the book, it was so slow and built up perfectly that when that scene...THAT SCENE...happened I was twitching with anticipation. I ADORE Perry and I think Aria is so strong in her own way. That trio of characters is so perfect and hilarious I just love them. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Through The Ever Night! :)

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    1. Hahaha! OH THAT SCENE. I was dying of anticipation, too! And then the swoon.... sigh. So worth it!

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