Hello Little Darlings,
Today is Book Review Day!
“Under the Never Sky” by Veronica Rossi
I’m going to strive to give as impartial a review as I possibly can. I’m definitely the type of person that can get overly invested in movies and novels. If stories don’t conclude in the way I hoped they would, as someone who has been on the journey with these characters, it’s a serious blow to my emotions. I literally find I have to remind myself that these are fictional stories and fictional characters. “It’s not real life. It’s going to be okay.” With that being said, once I am hooked into a story line it is difficult to remain neutral, but I will try my best.
First of all, “Under the Never Sky” is focused on two characters, Aria and Perry, who in an interesting twist of fate end up relying on one another as a means to an end. It’s a dual perspective, narrated in the third person, but still gives you all the juicy inner dialogue you have come to love in a first person perspective. These two characters come from polar opposite worlds, which creates some interesting tension for the reader to explore. However, because of their dependence on each other they end up creating a bond that runs deeper and grows stronger than either expected.
Now, I will admit that the book didn’t grip me from the very beginning. To be honest, I was confused the first few chapters in, but as the story progressed I realized that what Veronica Rossi was doing was intentional and downright brilliant. When we read a YA dystopian novel we expect action from the get go, frankly it’s part of the formula; but often the world building that is required in such a novel takes a backseat to the initial push of adrenaline to suck the reader in and get them invested enough to continue on. This is not the case with Rossi. Her world building is evident from the beginning, and in fact, is one of the main things that draws you in. So many questions spring to mind and mysteries begin to unfold that she addresses as the story progresses. She remains consistent and goes through great lengths so that reader feels as though they understand this world and it’s cultures as well as the characters who live in them.
Her characters are well rounded, with rich histories and current circumstances that pull you in and manage to attach you to them individually. Aside from Aria and Perry, there is Talon, Roar, Cinder, Marron, Vale, etc… Each play a part that is integral to the plot while carrying a unique emotional makeup that causes a reader to relate and sympathize in deep ways. Its always a good sign after reading a novel to be able to go back and in your mind separate out each character, especially secondary characters, without their personalities and characteristics overlapping one another.
Speaking of characters, never have I fangirled so hard on a female character. Aria’s journey throughout this book is one of self-discovery, maturity and strength. She manages to be subtle in her power and remain real and relatable, which is the issue I had with Tris in Divergent. As a pre-qualification I want to say that I absolutely love the Divergent series and it is not my intention to throw shade on Tris, but I could not relate to her at all. I admired her, but that’s where it ended. Perhaps due to Abnegation upbringing or her transition into Dauntless, she came off robotic and at times emotionally stunted. She never appeared her age and her inner dialogue was calloused, as it related to her own emotions and the emotions of others. Aria wears her heart on her sleeve in a unique way. A way that shows that she is still in touch with the reality of her circumstances and has a decent balance between doing what is right and acting out of raw desire. Aria is so far, my favorite female heroine in YA.
The two separate societies Rossi creates in this book are so drastically different from one another that you find it difficult to reconcile that these to cultures could not only co-exist on the same planet, but be aware of each other and at times interact; and when they do collide it makes for some intense dynamics. Rossi makes you feel that though they are polar opposites they may in the end be able to put aside their differences/prejudices and unite through a common goal. Both worlds are in need of and seek after the same thing. It’s something that can either bring them to together as human beings or tear them further apart. The great thing about the way she wrote them is that no one outshines the other. They each have their distinct issues and evident ugliness that frankly make you, as the reader, want to do away with both ways of living and start fresh. It comes to the point where you are incapable of picking a side to root for and at the end of the day who you end up cheering on is humanity as whole. The story remains, at its core, about the people.
All in all, I highly recommend this book and hopefully the entire series. I’m hooked. I laughed, I cried, I gasped and yelled at characters as though they could hear me. There were great plot twists and intriguing discoveries. As well as, character building revelations. For those who enjoy a good old-fashioned hate to love story, this one will knock you in the feels over and over again. I definitely ship these two. More importantly, there is so much more to say, hence it being a trilogy. I will be getting the second book “Through the Ever Night” in two days and in a week or two write a review on that one as well. Till then find “Under the Never Sky” at your local bookstore and happy reading my Little Darlings.
Here is a link to the book on Goodreads: