by Veronica Rossi
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Why I Picked this Book: After reading the synopsis, I was curious. That plus the very pretty cover, and I decided I just had to give it a try. (I received this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated in any way.)
Aria lived in a Dome, one pod of many set up to protect the people and give them a safe, happy life free of the dangerous outside world. Constantly living in the Realms, virtual reality type chat rooms seen through an eye piece worn at all times, Aria has never known sickness, fear... life. Intriguing yes? That's what I thought too.
Then at the very beginning of the story, she is thrown out of the Dome, due to some bad juju that happens. Aria has always been taught that the outside world means death. But she soon comes to find that it isn't exactly so. She meets Perry, an Outsider cast from his own tribe, intent on getting his nephew back who has been kidnapped by the Dome people.
Oh, did I mention Perry has super senses? Yup. He can see like an owl and smell feelings. Turns out many people in the outside world have heightened senses, causes by adapting to survive mixed with the Aether storms... pretty swirling lights in the never sky that tend to send down deathly bolts of fire.
See? The general idea was good... but that was all that kept me roped in.
Most of the story seemed to be Aria and Perry wandering through the outside. Walking... not liking each other... walking some more. While Aria's determination was admirable, and Perry's character was intriguing, it wasn't strong enough to hold over the reader. Each time something awesome felt like it might happen, it was just touched on then moved past because their trek through the woods was more important.
You know, like the Croven - a pack of Cannibals - hunting down Aria and Perry for revenge. Yeah. Cannibals. A few "oo" moments, then they just... ok, no spoilers here. I am sure the Croven will come back in later books, but it would have been nice to see them more as a creepy antagonist in this one.
I, as the reader, found myself left with many more questions that I felt happy with, even knowing there will be a book two. What caused the Aether? What exactly is the Aether? What is the history of this world that they keep referring to but never explain? What about the Domes? What is going on in there, what is it like, why couldn't more than the first few chapters of the book take place there? (Because, frankly, I was more interested in the dome life than the outside, sense enhanced world)... Though I know this will be a series, I felt too much was left unsaid, leaving me to close the book with a "What?" feeling.
As for the romance aspect... I didn't feel it. Aria and Perry spend the first part of the book pretty much hating each other. Then suddenly... they are in love. And that's that. Love conquers all. I personally didn't feel the chemistry between them. It felt more forced and after thought than anything.
There was so much of this book I was curious about. So much I hoped to dive more into. And, as I said, Rossi may touch on those things in later books. It was just a bummer they were not touched on in this one. The over all idea was intriguing, the writing was very well done, and the world was a scary scary place. I wish I could better say what fell flat for me on this book.
I can say it seems much more post-apocolyptic/paranormal than dystopian. I admire Rossi's talent, but I cannot fully say if I will be looking for the next book in this series. Who knows, you may love it. But when I am left with much more questions and confusion than resolution...
Under the Never Sky will be released January 3, 2012
(2 out of 5 stars)