Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky, Veronica RossiTitle: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi (author website)
Release Date:
Re-published by ATOM (AUS) 8th Jan. 2013
Originally Published January 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

With a world both beautiful and brutal, skies of liquid blue fire over endless wilderness, fearless savage warriors and beautiful lost girls, Under the Never Sky reads something like a fairytale. With all the sex, blood, magic and violence one can find in those Grimm tales, perhaps it’s not so poor a comparison, for Rossi weaves as certain strange, familiar magic into her story, making for a spellbinding debut.
From Goodreads:
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure

The Story:

Aria has lived her whole life safe within her enclosed society, safe from deadly aether storms, toxic air and savage cannibals under a protective dome. But When her search for answers about her missing mother goes terribly wrong, Aria finds her friends dead, and herself as good as: exiled into the world outside.

But perhaps the outside is not quite as it seems.

Aria is rescued by a 'savage' boy named Perry. A boy who is also searching for someone dear. Together, they set out in search of what they've lost, and find something in each other entirely unexpected...

The 101:

Under the Never Sky is a hard book to label, and perhaps that’s a good thing. To call it ‘dystopian’ doesn’t quite fit — like squeezing into too-small pants and seeing everything overflow. Rossi’s world is vast and deep and lovely, and the book carries a sense of wide-eyed wonder at the world more than it does a sense of suffocating oppression.
"She stepped out of the elevator to a new sky, shot through with swirls of blue light. The eddies ran calm above her, but turned brighter and faster on the horizon. It was Van Gogh’s Starry Night, right before her eyes."

Almost a character itself, Rossi’s world, and its eponymous ‘never sky’ are captivating. Each facet of the world, from the swirling blue Aether sky, to the desert, to the lush forest flooded with blue light is spectacular, and it's shown through new eyes, each scene vivid and fresh and filled with a child's wonder as Aria truly sees for the first time.
"In the Realms, falling off a horse hurt. Twisting an ankle did too. But pain was just an effect, sprinkled in to boost the thrill. They couldn’t actually get hurt in the Realms. This felt different. Like there was no limit to the pain. Like it could go on forever."

In Rossi's take on a post-apocalyptic world, the people in Under the Never Sky are split into two separate societies: ‘Dwellers,’ safe from the world’s fiery sky in futuristic domes, and ‘Outsiders’– those who survive the climate’s fury in more primitive tribes. Aria has lived her whole life ‘inside’, where her days are spent with her friends in Virtual realities as limitless as imagination. Aria’s entire civilisation runs digitally, with classrooms, entertainment and work existing in the ‘Realms,’ a reality which pronounces itself “better than real.” When Aria finds herself expelled from this world, from her home, to an outside she has never seen before, she truly does begin to see. Each flower, storm, stone and tree are new, exciting, and her curiosity and surprise in the most basic elements of creation — of the real — carry a sense of magic – not to mention the talents of outsiders she encounters which really do border on magic themselves.
"Perry could see a sliver of the Aether swirling in the sky. On calmer days, it was like being on the underside of waves, seeing the Aether roll and pitch above. Other times it flowed like rapids, furious and blazing blue. Fire and water, come together in the sky."

The novel’s other star – and perhaps its brightest – is Peregrine. Perry is not a mere love interest, a boy created simply to admire. He is rich, layered, conflicted and rash. He’s passionate, kind and unpolished. For all his faults – and both Aria and he have their fair share – he’s near impossible to dislike, and he carries an authenticity to him; he feels like a real teenage boy. Filled with fire and drive and conflicting confidences and insecurities; he does not always know the right thing to say, nor does he possess a flare for grand romantic gestures – his best friend, Roar, is the polished, urbane one – yet he is more beautiful and perfect for his imperfections.
"Some force had pulled their hands together. Aria looked at their fingers as they laced together, bringing her the sensation of his touch. Of warmth and calluses. Soft and hard together. She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she’d ever taken. And never had she loved life more."

For Aria and Perry there is, of course, a love story, and it’s a wonderful, sweeping one, reminiscent of that much beloved John Green quote: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”. The connection shared between Dweller and Savage develops slowly, slyly, underneath the noses of both, followed by a tide of emotion and a sudden connection, like a jigsaw finally falling into place. The tentative bond, with all its words unspoken and feelings unshared is tender and touching and devastatingly romantic. It feels like first love, the powerful rush of feeling so overwhelming it’s blinding. But both keep their heads, and there is much left unsaid by the novel’s close. A close which left me desperate for more.
"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. She’d seen it standing on rooftops and in green eyes and in the smallest, ugliest rock. She would find the answer."

The Verdict:

Under the Never Sky is a tale of a rare quality: it is not writing, nor imagination, nor characters or world building alone which make it what it is, but a complex alchemical formula artfully combined to create something splendid and beautiful and unique, even in its genre similarities. It is no difficult task to discover why Rossi’s debut is lauded as one of 2012’s finest. Fantasy quest meets breathtaking dystopia in a novel which feels like a dream I still don’t want to wake up from.

Books in This Series:

  1. Under the Never Sky (2012)

  2. Through the Ever Night (January 2013)

  3. Into the Still Blue (2014)

Want it? Get it:

International: Amazon | Book Depository
AU: Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD

Want to win a gorgeous hardcover copy of Through the Ever Night? Enter my Summer Giveaway »


  1. YES! EVERYTHING YOU SAID. I love what you have here about Aria and Perry's relationship. It's so TRUE. It felt different than a lot of YA books, and I loved that.

    *huggles your review* *doesn't let go*

  2. Stop with your gorgeous reviews, will you, Sarah?

    Jokes aside, I loved revisiting this book through your review! I must admit that I wasn't super in love with UtNS when I read it, but I went back and looked at my review and remembered what I DID enjoy and now I feel a push to pick up the sequel eventually. I especially like what you said about Perry and Aria's relationship because it was definitely organic and it didn't overwhelm the story. Your mention of Roar almost reminded me how much I loved him, ha.

    I loved reading your review, Sarah, so if I end up picking up the sequel I'll have you to blame thank!

  3. YESSSSSS. Everything you said, although I'm not 100% sure since it's 7am and I haven't slept a wink. *whines* But I loved the review. Nice catch up before TTEN is out! ;)

  4. *huggles YOU* *doesn't let go*
    YES. I loved that... you're RIGHT about the different feeling. There's this sense of magic and wonder and... I went into it expecting another dystopian and I was floored.

    I really should get over that. Every time I encounter something wonderful, and totally different from my expectations :P

  5. Steph ♥♥♥

    I can't believe how long it took me to get to this one. I finally caved to the peer pressure and ^__^

    I loved Perry/Aria, and I am SUPER curious to see what you think of TtEN! I'm so excited to read it :)

  6. YAY! I am SO glad you enjoyed this one! I loved it and the sequel was just as good, if not better by some people's accounts. I can't wait to see your thoughts on that one, Sarah. I definitely agree that Rossi's world is a unique realm of its own and Perry is just... *swoons* I love him! ;) I haven't seen your cover before, but I really like it and its colors!(: Amazing review, dear!

  7. Bahaha! LISA. SLEEP IS GOOD.
    Except, you know, if I didn't have to work, I'd do exactly the same as you and stay away ALWAYS. SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK :P

    Thank you! And I can't WAIT for TtEN! TODAY! TODAY! ♥

  8. You make is sound so...beautiful. I have been dying to read this book forever.

    I just love the concept. Both characters sound amazing.

    Another great review.

  9. I love sleep. Come on now, let's not joke about that. My crappy night was completely unintended. Horrid heat + icky feeling bed + desire to go to the bathroom + unwillingness to turn on the light for fear of seeing a spider = HORRIBLE NIGHT. After 2/3am I was just sitting in bed waiting for the sun to sort of come up so I could get up. That was at about 5.....

  10. Eurgh you know, I tried to read this last year when it first came out and I COULD JUST NOT GET INTO IT. I tried all hard, proper persevered for like, half the book but no, we were just not meant to be. You make it sound all amazing and wonderful but I just think this is not the book for me, sadly. Am glad you enjoyed it though

    Cait x

  11. Oh goodness. We were super lucky to have a cool night last night, but the one before was horrid. Tonight is going to be awful. I feel you.

    And that horrible being caught between being scared to turn on the light because of what you'll see, and scared to keep it turned off because of what you won't? UGH :(

  12. Keertana! Your review of TtEN has got me so SO pumped to read it. Perry is WONDERFUL. And the cover! We're just about to come up on our third cover in AU. Crazy, huh?

    Thank you! ♥

  13. I love it SO much, Jennifer! I can't believe how long it took me to read it, or that I started and put it down. it's WONDERFUL ♥

  14. Aw, I'm sorry it didn't happen for you, Cait! You know, I very nearly didn't read it, either. I was reading the first chapter and I was bored. I ended up putting it aside completely and it's only the recent hyper surrounding Through the Ever Night that convinced me to give it another go. It's like I was reading a different book. For me, it was just frame of mind, but I had only read that first chapter. Kudo for sticking with a book you disliked that long! :O

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment ♥

  15. Ahahahahaha! "...like squeezing into too-small pants and seeing everything overflow."

    I love you, Sarah. I really do.

  16. What a coincidence, because I LOVE YOU TOOOOO *glomps*

    Hehe, I really loved it. I was like *MINDBLOWN* when Amanda posted right before I did. And squeeful. SO MUCH SQUEE!

  17. Y'all are raving about this I decided to read book 1. Peregrine is such a great name and the Dwellers & Outsiders sounds like great factions.

  18. I loved it so much, Braine! It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did... wow. I went into it expecting full-on dystopian and I was surprised. If it wasn't for the references to, say, Van Gogh, I would have thought it was fantasy. Love love love ♥

  19. East coast is supposed to be sweltering today, right? *feels sorry for tennis players* My dad's friend said it was high 30s at night in Melbourne.. =S Eek.

    After ~10pm I keep the lights off so that if spiders come, I won't see them. (And I think spiders are attracted to light so since I'm usually up the latest in the otherwise dark house……) If I don't know they're there I'm fine. Logically, I know they won't (probably..) attack me in my sleep so if I don't know there's a spider, I'll sleep through to morning and be none the wiser. But obviously, if I'm aware of a spider then all logic goes out the window. TERROR. Flicking the light switch on requires me to muster up a ton of courage LOL. Give myself a mini heart attack every time! Must quickly dart my eyes to the right wall/corner because spiders ALWAYS go to that same spot. Gah. *shudders* *facepalms*

  20. I'm glad you loved this book! I thought it was a very enjoyable read despite a few little things. Still, it'll be interesting whether the sequel is just as good or better than the first book. I hope it is. Lovely review!

  21. Sarah! This review is just... beautiful! You're awesome! :D It's been a while since I read this book, and although I remember being disappointed a little at the time, but thinking of the story, I only remember good things. Odd. Really looking forward to reading Through the Ever Night! Thanks for the brilliant review, Sarah!

  22. Definitely have tot try reading this series, I have the first book in my to-be-read-pile, but I keep postponing reading it...

  23. It was still over 30C at 11pm last night. HORRIBLE :(

    Oh goodness. The insects. YES. I know what you mean. I am TERRIFIED of creepy crawlies. Spiders and cockroaches both in particular. And we've started finding White Tip Spiders in our house :(

  24. It's so funny, I started reading it months ago and couldn't get into it, and this time round I LOVED.

    I'm hearing really good things about TtEN! Better than the first, even! *fingers crossed*

    I hope you like it more, too. TY, Erin! ♥

  25. Aw, Jo! *blushes*
    You're going to make my ego asplode.
    But... seriously. You're more than welcome to say more nice things. I like them *purrs*

    THANK YOU! ♥♥♥
    I think it really appealed to me where I was at. I just... well, I kind of loved it ;D

    Thank YOU for reading! xx

  26. Oh, I really hope you love it as much as I did! *fingers crossed*

  27. So you were talking to me about this on Skype. But I didn't realise HOW AMAZING YOU WERE SAYING IT WAS! Man, my Saz, what have you inflicted upon me. I guess I really really really really really really need to read it soon then. (These new covers have grown on me.)

  28. Wow! You have a wonderful way with words on your review, I feel like I was sucked into the book straight away. I had a couple of friends, who didn't rate Under the Never Sky and I was slightly reluctant to read it! Though that may change in the next 10 seconds! Haha! I love the concept of the book and I love the sound of Aria, she sounds like a brilliant to character yo read through! :)

    I'm a new follower. I love your reviews and your blog! Its brilliant! Brilliant review Sarah! :-)

  29. Braaaaaiden! Seriously, I loved this book. It was strange, because I didn't get into it the first time round, and THIS time? I was in love. I really like the new covers, also. I would be so curious to see what you make of the series!

  30. Oh, Emma, thank you! Two of my most trusted booky friends loved this book, so I read it based on their recommendation and at first... I wasn't feeling it at all. I put it down, and didn't pick it for months. And then? Then I tried again and fell in love so so hard. I really hope you like it if you read it!

    And oh my goodness, thank you so much! You made my day! ♥

  31. ARGH! I've been wanting to read this for SO long. Like since it came out, a year ago. But then I stop and realize this is a series and I'm doing that thing I always subconsciously do with a series; I wait until the third one is almost out and then read the first two so I don't have to wait. Mwahaha. Guess I'll be waiting a few more months. ;) Great review Sarah!

  32. Alright, so practically you could stop writing your review once you say "reads something like a fairytale" haha. That sounds like music in my ears! You know how much I love my fairytales :D

    Perry sounds like the perfect love-interest and I'm happy to hear that both of them are flawed. That makes them so much more realistic and likable :) And your description of their love *dreamy sigh* that's how I like the romance to be in a book!

    I keep saying it all the time (and I have the feeling with a lot of books), but I definitely need to read this one soon! I'm going to use it for my reading challenge. Wonderful review Sarah!

  33. I've heard great things about this one and I can't wait to start. The world, characters, storyline all sounds amazing and I can't wait to get to it soon! Glad you enjoyed this! :D Fantastic review!

  34. Oh, Kristen, it took me FOREVER to get to it. I feel so silly. I stared at it on Net Galley for ages, and one of my most trusted bookish friends has been telling me to read since I-don't-know-when. I FINALLY bought it, then left it sitting for another few months.

    I'm so glad I read it. And... it ends on such a lovely note.


    "But then I stop and realize this is a series and I’m doing that thing I always subconsciously do with a series; I wait until the third one is almost out and then read the first two so I don’t have to wait."

    Thank you so much, lovely ♥♥

  35. Hehehe! Mel, I'm forever going to associate you with fairytales, now!

    I really, really adored this one. You know how every now and then you stumble into a truly great book and wonder WHY you waited. This was totally one of those. It was love ♥

    I hope you love it when you get to it! What challenge are you doing?

  36. I loved it so SO much, Maida! I really hope you love it -- I'm about to start Through the Ever Night. SO EXCITED. Thank you! ♥♥♥

  37. Beautiful review as always, Sarah! This is just another reminder of the awesome stuff I'm missing out (yup, I have yet to read UtNS). I am SO glad to hear that you enjoyed it, though. After reading a couple of not-so-great reviews, I was kind of hesitant on whether I should give it a go. But your review (and those amazing quotes!) totally changed my mindset! Perry sounds sooooo likable, despite his flaws - but what's a human without flaws, right? :)

    Anyway, keep up with the great reviews! Definitely will be checking this out in the near future. :)

  38. I know exactly what you mean! When I finished Divergent, I couldn't understand why I didn't read it earlier.

    I'm attempting several challenges, but I hope to use this one for the Dystopian challenge! :D

  39. what a great review, really want to make me reading this book soon :)

  40. Man I should really read this series, I've heard rave reviews about and can't help but go all *grabby hands* when I see the cover :D Great review!

  41. Under the Never Sky is a tale of a rare quality: it is not writing, nor imagination, nor characters or world building alone which make it what it is, but a complex alchemical formula artfully combined to create something splendid and beautiful and unique, even in its genre similarities.

    Good lord, woman. You slay me. What a gorgeous, gorgeous review. I had more mixed feelings about this book, but your tribute to it makes me feel slightly ashamed of that now, hah.

  42. EXACTLY. Divergent was like that for me last year, and so was Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Saving June (Hannah Harrington).

    OH! The dystopian challenge sounds fun! Good luck! ♥

  43. Ahahaha! Well, *I* only just read it, so I'm sure you're fine! Most of my friends (most specifically, 2 I trust a LOT) have RAVED about it, so I was willing to put aside the couple of lukewarm reviews I'd seen.

    BUT. It took me two attempts to get into it. The first time I started reading, I put it down. The second? FSJHFS. I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE. I so hope you do, too! ♥

  44. The cover is GORGEOUS, isn't it? I mean, it took me a while to read it, too, but oh I hope you like it! THank you so much for your lovely comment, Kaina! ♥

  45. Wendy, you're going to make me blush!
    You know, I read your review, and I liked it (the feeling, not the 'like' button... actually, both, but still ;D) and I understoof what you meant perfectly. The first time I tried to read this, I didn't feel it at all. I put it down, and didn't return for months and the second time... right time, right place? I think it hit the right emotional chord for me. EACH HER OWN. We can't all love the same books, right? IT WOULD BE BORING ^__^

  46. Oh gosh, I'm reading this right now and WHY DIDN'T I START IT SOONER? It's sooo good, and the setting is fabulous :D

  47. EEEEEEEEEE!!!! I am so excited you read this!!!!! Isn't it just wonderful! I just, just....uhhhh, I'm so excited!



    Yes to all this review *nods*

    I felt like the sky alone was a character in and of itself. Unpredictable and angry. Angry all the time. I loved this novel so so much.

  48. JENNNNN! YES! THIS: "I felt like the sky alone was a character in and of itself. Unpredictable and angry."

    YES. Seriously, the sky alone had me falling in love. And and and... I can't believe I waited so long to read it -__-

  49. KIRSTEN! YES! I felt EXACTLY the same way. SO amazing. One of those 'WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!' books! :D

  50. OK Gonna be honest and admit I didn't read the review - because I'm planning on reading the book (hopefully SOON) but I'm so excited to see you rated it 4.5 stars! I also have to say I fricken love this version of the cover! I can't wait until I read it now, I really think this is going to be one of those "omg why did I wait SO long?!?" :D

  51. OH MY GOD, Sarah. I just... I just want to EAT and sniff and stare at your review and savour the taste and smell and beauty of it until it falls apart from excessive wear because WOW. Possibly my favourite review of this book? WHY YES, INDEED, I THINK IT IS. You are so freaking talented <3

    Somehow your words make me feel MORE love for the book and I don't even know how that is possible. You surely know how HAPPY I am that you've read and utterly LOVED this and words can't describe how excited I am for your TTEN review!!

    And this, exactly: Filled with fire and drive and conflicting confidences and insecurities; he does not always know the right thing to say, nor does he possess a flare for grand romantic gestures – his best friend, Roar, is the polished, urbane one – yet he is more beautiful and perfect for his imperfections. PERRY <33333333

  52. I can't imagine a more perfect review of Under the Never Sky. In all honesty, I now feel like my own reviews would need a heck of a lot more polishing to reach the level of this . . . pure utter amazingness. Two thumbs up! c:

  53. I'm insanely out of the loop and *gasp* had never heard of this book... Added to the top of my wishlist!

  54. YES! I loved this book so hard and loved TTEN even harder. You are so correct in that it's hard to label. It's not quite dystopian but it's not quite science fiction. Whatever it is it's one of my favorite series right now!!

    Perry and Aria's love story is just so beautiful and each character is definitely with depth..unlike a lot of what we see in the genre. Like you said he's not just a mere love interest. I love that!

    Your review is just way prettier than mine though. You explain it all so well. I should just direct people to yours lol

  55. [...] left Aria and Perry locked in a joyous embrace in Under the Never Sky, and it is where we find them in Through the Other Night. But their reunion is not to be a drawn [...]



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