"A world of nevers under a never sky."
Under the Never Sky is the reason I, and so many others, have joined in the new craze for dystopian/dystopian post-apocalyptic fiction. Simply put, this book was enthralling, and I could not put it down. Rossi has certainly made her presence known in the YA book world with this wonderful debut. This was one of the most talked about releases for early 2012, and it does not disappoint. Rossi created an intriguing world, riveting plot, and awesome characters. I thought her writing style was exquisite; her details were descriptive and clear, and her plot and dialogue were well-scripted. I just loved, loved, loved this book.
The world Rossi crafted really fascinated me. Readers are thrust into a new world with little to no explain for how things are, left to their own devices to figure out how things run and piece everything together bit by bit (which is not that difficult, so no worries!). The world has been split into two different regions: there is Reverie, an area composed of pods to protect the Dwellers from the outside world, and the Death Shop/Outside, an area where nature has run rampant and the Outsiders struggle to survive. The Dwellers live in comfort with their vast amount of technology, while the Outsiders brave the elements and fight to live day to day. The world has been ravished and dominated by a storm/wind-like essence called Aether, making some places completely uninhabitable. As far as Aether is concerned, Rossi took a more-is-less approach to explaining it. The reader learns literally nothing about what it is, where it comes from, or how it works, just that it is bad. I have to say, I am very curious to learn more about Aether, so I hope she talks about it more in the next two books.
I also liked Rossi’s characters. There is Aria, who has only ever known of life in Reverie, and Perry, an Outsider. The book is told from both of their perspectives, making it easy for the reader to understand and connect with them. Aria, in the beginning, is somewhat weak, unable to protect herself and barely able to survive out in the Death Shop. However, as the story progresses, she becomes stronger and more resilient, willing to fight her own battles. Her character definitely grew on me, and I ended up really liking her. However, my favorite character was Perry (go figure, since I always fall for the guys! ><). Perry, whose real name is Peregrine, is the ultimate survivor and warrior, braving Aether storms to find food and never backing down from a fight. He fights for those he loves and is willing to die to protect himself, his nephew, and his clan. At times, he is cold and standoffish, and sometimes even downright callous, but deep down he is caring and protective. I loved how Perry slowly opened up as the story advanced, and in the end, I just loved him.
When the two of them first meet, Aria sees Perry as a Savage, rude and barbaric with his large canine teeth, while Perry sees Aria as a weak child who knows nothing of the world. When people they care for are taken, their paths merge, and they are forced on a journey through the Death Shop. Their relationship is untrusting at first, despising their predicament and even each other, but very slowly they learn to trust and open up. Their slow developing chemistry (and eventual romance) was prefect, in my opinion. I loved how Rossi did not focus on the romance heavily. It is there, but it takes backburner to the other things occurring in the story and their overall goal. They are on a journey to save their loved ones, and that takes precedence over all else, even their own feelings for each other (as it should).
The side characters are pretty interesting as well. I have developed a slight crush on Roar (sorry, Perry). I loved his sense of humor and how easy going he was. The moments between him and super-serious Perry provided some comic moments/relief. He is pretty awesome, and I cannot wait to get some more of him in the next book. I am also intrigued by Cinder. His little ‘trick’ definitely has me curious, and I hope we find out more about him in the next book as well!
On a side note, one thing I want to mention is the beginning of the book. I honestly think it is the weakest part of the novel. The story starts out slow, and the reader is slightly overwhelmed by all the new words and technical terms. For a while, I had no idea what was going on! But please, please, please do not quit reading. The story picks up, and the world and new turn of phrase start to make more sense. Just keep reading. Trust me, this is not a story you want to miss out on.
Overall, I feel like I cannot gush enough about this book (or swoon over Perry, for that matter). The story is great, the world is great, and the characters are great. This was an excellent debut from Rossi, and I am eager to see what she has for us next. The ending had me craving more, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to read the next book. The second book in the trilogy is entitled Through the Ever Night
, and it is scheduled for publication some time in early 2013. It is an understatement when I say I cannot wait to get my hands on that book.