Hardcover: 374 Pages
Series: Under The Never Sky #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
To be perfectly honest, Under The Never Sky isn’t a bad book, and the rating only reflects my enjoyment while reading, nothing else.
First of all, Rossi seems to be a firm believer in the keep your readers in the dark technique. It worked for me when reading about the world Illona Andrews created in Magic Bites and it, sort of, works here. The author never comes out and explains the terminology used, her lore; to be fair, it’s not so hard to get the gist of it. I mean, sure, she never details properly what an Aether storm is, but it’s not so hard to figure out.
Unfortunately, the lack of explanations makes for a shaky world-building. Since this book is tagged as a Dystopia, that’s bad. All we know and all we’re told comes from what Aria knows and that’s not much. The people have lived in Domes since she can remember, the outside is dangerous, Aether storms are to be feared. But questions like how long ago the Domes were built, why had they become necessary, why were people left behind, hence the Outsiders, are never answered. They’re not even asked. Pretty important things, all meant to shape up this world, all forgotten.
I suppose one could speculate, knowing about the destructive storms and whatnot, but then again, I could speculate entire plots and premises and read a blank book. Not what I’m looking for.
The relationship between Aria and Perry is believable; by that I mean it’s not insta-love. They slowly grow to like each other, get comfortable around one another. It’s sweet and lovely.
What’s not so lovely is Perry’s attraction to her smell. I will never regard violets the same again, they are forever ruined for me. I know Perry isn’t attracted to her because of what the smell of violets means, instead being attracted to her becoming more normal, less chemically induced perfect human, but still. It’s pretty gross, especially since he keeps mentioning it and sniffing under doors for that smell. Very puppy like of him.
Overall, I liked both their characters, they are different, fleshed out and complex enough. I actually like Aria more, for the strength and determination she proves to have, against all odds.
The different POVs narratives are well done. There is a distinct and noticeable difference between their voices, well enough to make the dual narrative work. Plus, it’s fun reading about certain situations from two, very different, characters.
I like Rossi’s writing. It’s easy to follow, beautiful, and she delivered some real gems of descriptive paragraphs.
In spite of all the things this book got right, I can’t give it more than a 3 star rating. Why, you ask? Because my emotional response to the characters wasn’t what it should have been. I liked the characters, but I didn’t love them, I didn’t connect. I wasn’t once scared for their well-being, no matter the dangerous situation they found themselves in.
Also, I found it a bit boring, a bit dull, at times. The pacing’s slow, and even with everything happening, all that danger, this wasn’t a page turner for me. I know that’s an odd thing to say about a dystopian novel with cannibals in it, but there you have it.
Furthermore, the ending was incredibly anticlimactic. Not to say that the tension was increasing up until that point, but I was still expecting something..more. Just more. An ending that would make me want to read the next installment.
All in all, not a book for me. However, I would recommend it for fans of the genre or folks just getting into YA novels. It is part of a series, so I just might find myself reading the next one, too. We’ll see.