Release Date: January 2012
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.
"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."