Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 1 December 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: hardcover, signed, won in a contest
Status:Book one of Under the Never Sky trilogy
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 won a copy of this in a giveaway hosted by Mary. It sat on my TBR shelf for longer than it should have. Since it was surrounded by hype, I was kind of reluctant to read it. One good thing about waiting to read it is when I did, I got to binge read the series.
This world was incredible. It’s one that sucked me in immediately, but it is definitely a world that I would not want to live in. There are dangers that are everywhere you turn.
In a world where racism is still prevalent (if you disagree with that, we can debate at a different time), this was a book that focused on racism and stereotypes. You may disagree with me on it, but to me it felt that way. There are deeply ingrained beliefs on both sides. The Dwellers live in a fantastical world and are raised to believe those who live on the outside are dangerous savages (very colonial power vs native right?) The Outsiders hold a deep and bitter resentment towards the Dwellers for some long ago transgression which is later revealed.
I will admit that I read Roar & Liv before Under the Never Sky (Mary gave me massive grief) so I was waiting impatiently for the wonderful Roar to show up. I absolutely adore Roar. He’s my favourite by far! I wasn’t that big of a fan of Perry in the beginning. I’m not into the broody type. I did grow to care for him and I really like the pairing between Perry and Aria. I believe they work well together to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Aria was very naïve when she was dropped on the outside, but it givers her tremendous room for growth and she spends the whole book blossoming. Through her perspective we see just how vast the technology gap is between Dweller and Outsider. Civilisation has progressed in the Pods to eradicate illnesses, has the capabilities to stop menstrual cycles, and create realms of unimaginable levels.
We see everything from Middle Ages-esque villages and technological levels where the Tides live to a more modern feeling city to the very futuristic Pods. Veronica does an amazing job of creating a vast technological arc in this sci-fi future. It feels to me that it is more post-apocalyptic than dystopian.
Having a boy and girl from vastly different backgrounds can be terribly cliché, but Veronica makes it work very well in this world. What I really loved about the Aria and Perry pairing was that it was not an insta-love situation. It was quite the opposite in the beginning which was very refreshing. It was nice to see a relationship truly built from the ground up and not starting with “love.” The complications of their genetic abilities adds a nice spice to their situation when breeding can be considered a key part of life.
I’ve never been a fan of perspective changes, but I’ve read several recently and they are starting to change my mind. Veronica did a great job with the easy glow back and forth between Aria and Perry. One thing I didn’t enjoy in UTNS was the futuristic jargon from the two societies. Obviously language changes every day, but without context (which some of these are through the book) it was very difficult to pick them up. Once I picked up on their meaning, the bafflement quickly faded.
While I didn’t feel that UTNS completely lived up to the hype, I did enjoy it enough to continue on with the series. I think maybe after time away from it and the hype dies down from Into the Still Blue, I may come back to it and read it again. I do plan on rereading the series eventually, just not sure on how soon. I would and do recommend UTNS to post-apocalyptic and sci-fi enthusiasts.