Aria has lived most of her life in the Realms, a virtual environment designed to offer every comfort and luxury with just a thought. No pain, no fear. Just fun. Why waste time in the real world when the Realms are so much better than real?
All of that changes when her mother goes missing. Soon after, Aria’s world changes forever. Exiled from her comfortable home, Aria is thrown into the wilderness with little hope of survival–the outside world is called the Death Shop for a reason.
When Peregrine, an Outsider, finds Aria wandering in the desert he knows she will be nothing but trouble and he certainly already has his share. But somehow Aria is also his only hope of atoning for the horrible mistakes he’s made.
Aria is less than thrilled to be working with a Savage. Perry has little use for a pampered Mole. But if either of them ever want to get home this unlikely pair will have to work together–an alliance that will change everything in Under the Never Sky (2012) by Veronica Rossi.
Under the Never Sky is Rossi’s first novel. It is also the first in a trilogy.
This book is an unexpected blend of science fiction and fantasy complete with a Dystopian setting.* These elements do not always blend well, particularly in the beginning when the main characters are separated. Told in chapters alternating between Aria and Perry’s points of view, the story picks up when the characters meet and the disparate elements (and storylines) have a chance to gel.
Perry and Aria similarly come into their own as the novel progresses as they move from less-interesting, naive characters to more fully developed protagonists. The romantic aspect of the story also moves along a natural progression and is quite fun to follow.
Rossi creates an interesting world with some unique elements but little explanation in the way of world building or history.** A lot of ideas or events are referenced but little to no explanation is given. Similarly characters are mentioned, repeatedly, over the course of the story only to have literally no role in the story.*** That said, what is presented in Under the Never Sky is an original premise that will appeal to readers or pure fantasy and straight science fiction alike.
*I say unexpected because the jacket copy makes no mention of the “Realms” aspect of the world making the story read more like straight fantasy when really there are a lot of science fiction elements as well.
**Being a trilogy perhaps this information will eventually come together in bits and pieces throughout the series.
***Will they turn up in book two or three? Time will tell.
Possible Pairings: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Roar by Cora Carmack, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Unison Spark by Andy Marino, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Extras by Scott Westerfeld, Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne