Author: Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: 1/3/12
Blurb (GR): 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.
My opinion about Under the Never Sky is similar to the one I have about Unearthly. I am not going to claim that these books are ground-breaking or Printz-worthy. But in their genres, dystopia/post-apocalyptic and PNR respectively, they are as good as it gets. They are well written and entertaining, with characters and relationships that do not annoy and make you roll your eyes.
The summary of Under the Never Sky does this book a disservice. It is accurate enough, but overwhelms you with weird names of things and places. I'll try to explain the plot in a, hopefully, simpler way.
In a distant future, our (I assume) planet is ravaged by strange climate changes that make living on the surface quite rough. A big part of the population now exists inside huge, self-supporting, sealed from the outside domes. This group of people finds its only relief from the tediousness of the confined, sterilized living in virtual realities. The other half of the population barely survives outside. Food is scarce, climate dangerous, the living is primal, only the fittest survives.
Aria belongs to the sheltered kind, Perry - to the savage kind. When Aria is expelled from the security of her dome, she joins Perry, and together they ally to reach their separate goals.
While Under the Never Sky is hardly super-original, whatever genre tropes are used in it, are done exactly to my taste.
The novel has dual narration, but the choices Veronica Rossi made here work just right. 3rd person helps her avoid the customary similarities between her characters' voices. The switches between the POVs always happen when it is the most advantageous, no repetitiveness, no excessive navel-gazing (also, very frequent whenever 2-POV structure is used).
Another plus, Under the Never Sky is more of an adventure story, rather than romance (thank you, Jesus! I mean, Harper Teen). The love story line is strong, but the romance is slow-burning, not angsty, not overwhelming. The priorities are straight here - there are more important things in the characters' lives than a few days-long romantic relationships, things like families and loyalties.
Finally, the characters. I really liked Aria and Perry, especially Perry. There is a soft spot in my heart for a guy who is understanding of and helpful during the special lady days (aka periods).
Basically, Under the Never Sky, in my eyes, is a perfect mix of adventure and love, sci-fi and romance, entertainment and heartbreak. I am definitely coming back for more.