Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Release date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: #1 in the Under the Never Sky trilogy
Source: Purchased
Rating: It took me a bit to get into it, but once I was, OH BOY. I binge-read the ENTIRE series in a couple of days.


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.

I can't believe I waited so long to star this series. The vast majority of my close bloggers friends have been screaming at me about this book. "OH MY GOD THIS SERIES! Just wait until you meet Roar! Book Two is even better! DID I MENTION ROAR??"

Well, I'm glad to say that my close blogger friends were right. While this, the first book in the series, is the weakest of the trilogy, it is still overflowing with danger, lush and evocative writing, tremendous characters, romance, and Roar. Especially Roar. Extra points for Roar.

We first meet Aria in the worst moment of her life so far--the day disaster strikes and she's banished from her enclosed, protective pod. I though the book should have started earlier. I wanted a little bit of a sense of Aria's life in the Realms--virtual realities where you can go anywhere, anyplace, anytime--and her personality when she's  not on the run for her life, and a sense of her friendships. Her best friend dies in the opening scene (not a spoiler--it's the opening scene) and I didn't care, because I didn't have a connection to any of these people. Then we switch over to Perry's world, and they're tossing around terminology (Auds and Scires and Blood Lords and whaaaa my braaaain) like you totally know what's going on, and I was like, "I DO NOT GET."

It's as the story progressed that I became invested. The duplicitous Hess, councilman of Reverie, pins the blame on Aria and boots her out into a harsh and brutal wasteland where she's certain to die. Until she meets Perry, who... well, let's all have a moment of silence in which we appreciate Perry. Mmmm. I love Perry. He has a lot of growing up to do, but he's so strong and loyal and brave. He has a butt of a brother, Vale, who is the leader of their tribe, even though Perry wants to be the leader, and a nephew he loves more than anything. I want to cuddle Perry.

The Outside world is about as different from cushy, technologically advanced Reverie as you can get. It's a kill or be killed world wholly at the mercy of the tempestuous, Aether-filled skies. The Outsiders have banded into tribes and are led by Blood Lords. Some have developed special abilities: to hear, smell, or see better than other, to an almost supernatural degree. Perry can see in the dark, but he can also scent people's tempers and emotions, which was WAY COOL to read about. The way Rossi describes the scent of hope, fear, longing, or anger... it was so visceral, it was almost like I could smell it.

The plot was very different than I was expecting, though honestly, I didn't know what I was expecting. Told in alternating (and successful) 3rd person POVs, Under the Never Sky is mostly about Aria and Perry learning to set aside their difference so they can work together to find Aria's mother and Perry's kidnapped nephew. Of course, romance blossoms, cannibals try to eat them, and they run into the mysterious boy Cinder and my future husband Roar, Perry's best friend who's in love with Perry's sister, Liv (damn!).

Where Rossi hooked me was the characters, particularly the main three. Aria is sheltered and judgmental to begin, but she blossoms and strengthens in the Outside. Perry both softens and grows into his own, and, well... Roar? Handsome, witty, boisterous Roar? BE STILL MY HEART. His iron friendship with Perry is adorable, and I especially love how he comes to bond with Aria, too. I ship their friendship intensely.

SWOONS, THEY ARE BROUGHT. While this hate-to-love story might have turned to love a litttle too quickly, it's not insta-love, and I totally get it. There's a scene on a roof where I literally clutched the book to my chest and sighed dramatically, because I was swooning so. Swooooon. I'd heard much talk of the "Perry's berries" (un-clutch those pearls, it's quite PG), but I swooned the hardest on the roof. Both roofs. ROOFS FOR THE WIN.

The end is a bit of a fizzle, honestly, but I was so invested in the characters that I was happy to move right along into the sequel--while stopping to read the novella Roar and Liv first, which you should ABSOLUTELY DO. It's not necessary, but you will want to, because it's actually the best piece of writing Rossi has produced, and you get to live inside Roar's head! And you trust me, you want that.

While Under the Never Sky was a solid if not exemplary read, I beg you to get to it anyway just so you can read the sequel, which I'll be reviewing soon(ish) and which is exemplary.


  1. So agreed! I was a little disappointed that the romance ended up being the main focus, but Through the Ever Night was definitely my favorite of this trilogy :D *hops around*

  2. Aw, man. I might need to get this off my shelf and read it next. I had a few duds lately.

  3. I was so, so happy to see that the "Under the Never Sky" ebook was on sale for Kindle, and I had heard so much about it that it was probably the quickest impulse buy that I've ever had! :) I'm waiting until after Finals are over to read it, but I'm overjoyed to see that you have such a high opinion of it as well!

  4. Great review! I really loved this series. Roar was my favourite character, he was just amazing:) And talking about character development, Rossi did an exquisite job with Perry and Aria, they both changed so much (in a good way).

  5. Aw, yay :D I'm glad you enjoyed it so much sweetie. <3 Though, I did not have the issue with understanding the beginning (A) though I don't blame you :) Anyway. I did not fall that much in love with Roar, because I loved Perry the most. <3 Hih. But I did adore Roar :)

  6. omgggggg roar <3 i can't even handle his awesomeness. also, perry. like. how the heck is he so swoony when he never talks and is grumpy when he DOES talk?! i don't even know, but i loved him. glad you liked this series :D

  7. I'm glad you love this series, because I think it's fabulous. I actually prefer Under the Never Sky over Through the Ever Night, because I loved the build-up of Aria and Perry's romance so much. SO MUCH SWOON. And yeah, ROAR! I don't think anyone could dislike him! His novella is my favorite series novella I've read. I really like Roar's friendship with both Aria and Perry and I'm happy didn't take the love triangle route with him and Aria (so far of course because I haven't read Into the Still Blue but I can't imagine it going down that way. I would be raging if it was.).

  8. Seriously, I think it's time for me to read this series too! I watched you tear through it (via Twitter, because hey, I'm no stalker *winks*) and it encourages me to pick it up. Plus, I know so many people who have recommended it to me since the beginning of this year (and yes, I'm sorry for delaying, you all!). I'm happy to hear that you liked it a lot, and that the characters play a big part in that :)

  9. I wasn't as taken with the characters or the romance as you were. However, everyone does keep raving about this series so much that I may as well give it another shot. You never know, right? Great review!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  10. I had a hard time getting into the first book and never finished it. I didn't hate it or anything - just wasn't OMG I need to know what happens.

    I'm thinking I should do what you did though. Get back to it and read all three at once.


    Seriously, so glad you finally got around to reading these, and super jealous that you've read Into the Still Blue. Next month cannot come soon enough for me.


    I still haven't read Roar and Liv...mostly because I read Through the Ever Night before I realized it existed and so I have been waiting until I'm emotionally prepared. I will definitely read it when I do my reread next month though.

  12. I haven't read this yet, but it's very exciting to hear that this was both good and the weakest of the trilogy. I'm so tired of trilogies that lure me in and then let me down!

  13. As someone who read/enjoyed the first two books and is anxiously anticipating the third, I loved watching your tweets as you binge read these. Spot on review. And I'm super jealous that you've already read ItSB. Ugh. Jealousy.

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  15. Hi, Gillian, I'm your worst nightmare and I am back again.

    "I can't believe I waited so long to star this series." <- While technically, you've probably also assigned them a star rating, I don't think that's what you meant.

    I scarcely remember this book, but I do remember loving Roar. I think I rounded up a .5 for him alone. And for hilariously random treehouse sex.

    But, yes, the opening scene. That was weird. They turned all creepy and there was a fire and just what.

    That is the second time I've seen that B&tB gif in a review today. Weird.



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