Oh. My. Gawwwwd. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. First things first, before I even write this review I want you to just trust me, go on Amazon and get this book. I don’t want to say the stupid “This is The Hunger Games, Ashes, and Divergent 2.0” because it’s not. But if you liked those books, I’m sure you’ll love this one because Amazon says so. Seriously, like…that’s what Amazon told me in an email. And they were right.
Seriously, how does that website know me so well? Actually, I lie, most of Amazon’s books that they recommend to me, I hate. They’re usually sooo far off the mark with my literary taste. This one, I loooooove. Like big giant puffy heart love. So maybe I should shut up and review? Okay.
Under the Never Sky takes the dystopian thriller and gives it a really dark, ominous twist. Essentially, we have Aria, who lives in a little “pod city” (thats what I’ll call it) called Reverie. Pretty much they live in a alternate reality. They have these little eye gadgets that they can zip around in simulated worlds and that’s literally how they live their entire lives. At least, that’s how Aria lived until she got mixed up in a bad situation where reality was the goal and it did not end pretty. Exiled from the safety of Reverie, Aria is thrown out into the “outside” where her life expectancy is pretty much null. The Death Shop, as she calls it, is a world she’s never been exposed to. She’s sure the air will kill her, and starts diagnosing her own death pretty much the minute she is thrown out. While stumbling around, trying to figure out what to do, and wondering how long she’ll live, she runs into an outsider named Perry.
Through a matter of Perry needing Aria to reach a certain goal of his, and Aria needing Perry to simply survive, they embark on their adventure. I’m gonna throw it out there, I love these two. I love the pairing between them, I love how they not only compliment one another in so many ways, but they also contradict one another as well. Their relationship is one built on necessity, not fondness, not mutual attraction (at least, at first.) They develop in such a raw way. There are moments where Perry wishes he could just kill her, and Aria, many times, just wishes she had never screwed up and could be back safe and sound in her little pod city, wearing her eye piece and frolicking in the alternate realities. These two characters are as different as night and day, and the way they go from literally hating one another, to appreciating the usefulness of the other, to becoming friends, and so forth is just…it’s beautiful. It’s a relationship that in any other situation would have never evolved, but out of a necessity to survive, these two really come together as a team.
Oh, and Aria, she’s fabulous. This girl somehow goes from being this really down in the dumps chick who’s been disowned by her own society, to becoming a complete kick ass woman who does everything within her power to do what needs to be done. There are times where she’s cut up, bruised, and in complete agony and she will not utter a word of complaint. The growth within her is so well illustrated, and her development from girl to woman is very believable. She restores my faith in a heroine who can really display the depth of human nature and the need to rise above the hand that is dealt to them.
Moving away from characters and general plot, the imagery in this book is astounding. It’s our world, but it’s different. The aether storms are horrifyingly beautiful; like I want to be smack dab in the middle of one of these storms to watch them, but only if I’m encased by a super powerful bubble that will keep me from pretty much roasting into a super crispy chunk of fried Meg. There are so many elements to the world that Rossi has developed, that it becomes such a deep read. I want to know so much more about the outside world, how these people survived and how their civilization has changed since present day.
To sum it up, Veronica Rossi pretty much hit it out of the ball park with this debut novel, and I am dying for the next installment. Like, it needed to be in my hands yesterday. Just like I want my own personal Perry. And Aria can come sing to me any time. And life would be perfect if I can have a super bubble to relax in with Perry while Aria sings to me and the aether strikes all around us. True story.