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 a barbarian, 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. – Goodreads
Although I was initially very excited to read Under the Never Sky, I had the hardest time connecting with the book at first. I started reading it about three or four times and, each time, I found myself moving on to something else after only a few pages. I just wasn’t into it! I finally forced myself to stick with it and, luckily, it ended up picking up quite nicely.
Aria and Perry are the leads for this book and they come from two completely different worlds: Aria in the Reverie with virtual realities and Smarteyes; Perry on the outside with heightened senses and the violent Aether. The two are thrown together on this journey and they gradually overcome their prejudices to become a good team. Aria came into her own during the course of the novel by refusing to let her weaknesses define her. I found Perry’s abilities to be really cool and I admired his devotion to Talon.
The romantic storyline was alright for me; I have no complaints about it, but I don’t feel super gushy about it either. The development between Perry and Aria felt natural and, as I’m a sucker for that initial “I really don’t like you but I will end up loving you” type of dynamic, I think Rossi handled their transition into something deeper really well. However, despite their growing feelings, my favorite part of their relationship was how they didn’t grow completely dependent on each other. They were able to focus on their separate goals and not lose sight of other important factors in their lives.
Though I really came to like Aria and Perry, I must say that Roar was the standout character for me. Not only is his name completely awesome (RIGHT?!), but he had so much energy and personality. There were only quick mentions of it, and the book didn’t go into depth about it, but I really liked how he had his own journey on the side. I won’t even lie, if he were to hypothetically get a spinoff series, I would probably read it before I read book two of Under the Never Sky because I liked him so much!
Overall, this was a solid read. After a shaky start, I found that the second half of the book really kicked things off and I will definitely be continuing on with the next book in the series. I think there is so much potential growth for both the story and characters and I can’t wait to see that realized.
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