Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Under the Never Sky

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: January 3rd 2012

In Veronica Rossi's version of the future, the world is fraught with deadly electrical storms and the human race has been split in two. Half, the Dwellers, have retreated into insular communities called Pods. In the Pods, food is genetically altered, body processes are carefully regulated, and most people spend their waking moments in the Realms, a series of virtual worlds that are "Better Than Real." Outside, humans have reverted to basic survival methods to outrun the Aether storms. They live by their wits and rely on Blood Lords to unite and protect them.

After many generations, the two groups have begun to evolve apart.

Aria is a Dweller, living in Reverie. Her mother, Lumina, is doing research in another Pod when the link suddenly goes down. In an effort to reach her mother, Aria tricks a consul's son into taking her into an abandoned Ag pod. Her plan goes awry and she is banished from Reverie and abandoned in the Outside.

There she meets Peregrine, another outcast.

At first I wasn't sold on this book. It seemed like yet another somewhat hard-to-swallow dystopian landscape, full of inexplicable rules and a heroine who breaks free of blah blah blah and etc. etc. Around the time that we meet Peregrine, though, things start to look up. It's not often that I identify more with a male narrator than a female one, especially when the male narrator is written by a female author. In UNDER THE NEVER SKY, however, I found myself waiting for Perry's chapters to come up. The way Rossi links scent and emotion is so evocative, I found myself wondering if she has synesthesia. I found myself wondering if I have synesthesia, too--that's how good her descriptions are.

Also: not enough male heroes have blond dreadlocks and tattoos. Hot.

Rossi builds her world with a combination of imagination and science, creating a landscape that is both real and magical. Although the story is a little predictable, I highly recommend it to fans of MATCHED, DELIRIUM, BUMPED, and GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS.


Anonymous said...

In an earlier post you said you're no longer a bookseller. Care to elaborate? Que paso?

-Peter, regular customer at relevant bookshop

Jake the girl said...

Hi Peter! I'm no longer a bookseller because I moved to the central coast. I'll still be reviewing, though, as long as I have books to review. Feel free to email me for recommendations, since we like the same books!


The Happy Booker said...

"Also: not enough male heroes have blond dreadlocks and tattoos. Hot."

Amen. *sigh*
Wonderful review! I agree, this book was all about Perry for me as well.

Luxembourg said...

Aria just wanted to talk to her mom, and then her world ended. Aria lives in one of a series of self contained PODS that humans created to life in after they destroyed their world. While living in this sterile and controlled world Aria knew nothing of how her future would be cast, and cast she was, right out of the POD and into the open Death Shop land of the Savages.