Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)
Rating 5 out of 5 stars
(1) “She knew how to put one foot in front of the other even when every step hurt. And she knew there was pain in the journey, but there was also great beauty.”
(2) “And in life, at least in her new life, chances were the best she could hope for. They were like her rocks. Imperfect and surprising and maybe better in the long run than certainties. Chances, she thought, were life.”
For Readers Who:
(1) Enjoy slow-building romances. This is not a love-at-first sight plot.
(2) Like post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.
(3) Don’t mind third-person alternating narrative. The novel switches between Aria and Perry’s points of view. I really like this, especially since there has been a recent trend in YA fiction to later publish separate novels or novellas from the point of view of the romantic interest. Why not just write the book in which we get to see the romance develop from both sides? It’s like cutting out the middleman in the equation.
The Under the Never Sky series is, in my opinion, the most imaginative in the last couple of years. My mom and I debated this very topic (I know–I live an enviously adventurous life…), and we both came to the same conclusion: while we also love Divergent, Veronica Rossi’s plot and writing style are probably the better of the two.
Okay, hold up on the public stoning. I am not arguing that one series is better than the other. What I am trying to say is that Under the Never Sky scores serious points for creativity. The novel is set in the future. The basic premise of the plot is that Earth’s environment had become uninhabitable. A select few families were lucky enough to live in compounds that protected them from the outside world. The rest of the population had to fend for themselves.
Fast forward a couple hundred of years. The two groups are still living separately, but both groups have begun to evolve in different ways. Now, this is not a hard core science fiction book. The thing I found so spectacular about Rossi is that she manages to incorporate elements from science fiction without making it generically science fiction. Under the Never Sky is very much a YA romance. It is this unexpected combination of futuristic, sci-fi-esque, “us vs. them,” Romeo and Juliet romance that is really rather genius.
I also enjoyed the narration; Rossi alternates between the third person viewpoints of Aria (who grew up in the sheltered society) and Perry (who grew up on the “outside”). However, I hope that the success of this novel doesn’t start a trend in which every author narrates his or her book this way. The reason the alternating viewpoints work, in this case, is because Aria and Perry have grown up so differently that they see the world, both literally and metaphorically, from completely different views. For instance, Aria has never seen snow and asks Perry what it’s like. When the narrative changes to his point of view, Perry can’t understand how first, you could live and never see snow, and second, how you describe snow to someone. Under the Never Sky is a Romeo and Juliet story, of sorts, but the plot doesn’t follow “Two households both alike in dignity.” Perry and Aria’s worlds are not at all alike.
Under the Never Sky revolves around a clash of two worlds, but Rossi’s use of elements from different genres does anything but clash. The plot is unique, the characters are likable, and the narration enhances the theme of a romance overcoming differences. With the final book in the trilogy coming out in January 2014, pick up Under the Never Sky and delve into Rossi’s universe.