Sunday, 4 March 2012
Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Released: February 7th, 2012
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its protected space, she's never thought to dream of what lay beyond its doors. Perry and his tribe have always struggled to survive on the outside. Though their lives are simple they are increasingly under threat from an unknown - and unhuman - enemy. But when Perry saves Aria after one of these attacks she realizes that she might just be able to survive in the outside after all. And that this one sheltered girl might be the only one that can save - or destroy - his people.
I wanted to like Under the Never Sky. I really, really did. That's why I read it as soon as it arrived - also because I'd heard lots of good things about it from other bloggers and was fairly intrigued by the cover. I knew by about sixty pages in that this book wasn't one for me, but I carried on anyway as I rarely leave books unfinished. Unfortunately I just never got into this one, and there are a myriad of reasons why. But firstly I will talk about the positive aspects, as I firmly believe that every book has something good about it.
The dual narrative. Under the Never Sky is told from the alternating POVs of Aria and Peregrine (Perry). I like this in a book. It enables the reader to see from multiple angles and, when written in first person (which Under the Never Sky is not) it allows us to really get to know the characters. I think the tense of this book hindered my liking of it, but still I appreciated the alternating chapters and intention to draw the reader into both Aria and Perry's lives. I also liked the overall idea of the dystopian future, it was new and something different. Kudos to Veronica Rossi for thinking outside what has become a very large YA dystopian box.
While I liked the overall idea, I don't feel it was executed as well as it could have been. I was left with a lot of questions, about the aether and dweller/outsider divide especially, and after finishing the novel I still don't really feel like I know enough. What exactly is the aether and how/why was it created? How did there end up being two factions? Why do some outsiders have special abilities? How did dwellers come to be genetically created and enhanced? These are but a few of the questions I was left with, and I don't tend to like having so many unanswered threads at the end of a book. It seems to be the norm in some YA at the moment and, while I'm all for cliffhangers, I do like a bit I resolution.
Under the Never Sky read very much like a first novel for me. There were the loose ends, endless information and far too many characters for me to keep up with. In fact, there was so much information thrown at me in the first forty pages that I honestly had no idea what was going on. It wasn't until a lot later in the book that everything finally slotted into place and I didn't have to keep flicking back to try and make sense of it. The smarteye - the device Aria and the other dwellers use to access other realms - was just there, and was never explained enough for me. I wanted more background on its, and the realms' creation, which I'm sure will be touched upon in future books. I just don't think I'll be reading them to find out.
I haven't talked about the characters yet, and I've been kind of avoiding the subject for fear of sounding too negative. But, truthfully, the characters did nothing for me. I didn't care about them one way or the other and, as a reader, that is never a good sign. Also, several of their names didn't sit well with me, especially Roar and Talon. I get that the outsiders needed edgy names, but they didn't work in this instance.
I know this is a negative review, and I don't like writing these, but I hope my personal opinion won't put anyone off reading Under the Never Sky and giving it a chance. It's a shame that I can't like every book I read, and I really did give this one a good shot. I finished it, but sadly it just wasn't for me. Plenty of other bloggers have enjoyed this one, though, so hopefully you will too.