Book review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

For the first 50 pages of this book I was fully prepared to give up on it. I was beyond confused at the new world we are dropped into with very little explanation and didn’t have a clue what was going on. But then it all clicked into place and from then on I was hooked.

Under the Never Sky is set at an indeterminable time in the future, where the population is split into two due to the dangerous Aether  covering the sky. Aria is a dweller, raised in an underground pod with virtual reality to occupy those who’ve never been outside. Perry is an outsider, one of those who roam the wastelands in an unforging and brutal landscape at the peril of aether storms. When fate throws them together, it’s with great reluctance. But with each desperate to find a missing loved one they are forced to work alongside each other and embark on a dangerous journey of survival.

The book begins with Aria. Her world in the pod is alien and complex and at first I really struggled to get to grips with it. Veronica Rossi doesn’t ease the reader in slowly, more plonks them right in and I truley felt I was in another world. Once I got my head round the ideas though I absolutely loved it. It doesn’t take too much to imagine a world where people live in a virtual reality. Where Aria’s world is futuristic, on the outside Perry’s is primeval. The people on the outside live in clans and at the mercy of the elements.  I loved the contrast between the two, though immediatly preffered Perry’s. Despite the dangers the outsiders faced I’d take that over a life stuck in a pod where you have everything you wanted or could imagine, though none of it is real. The aether itself is a constant, threatening presence and is described so vividly I could see it in my mind, despite the fact I had no idea what it was to begin with.

Told in a switching third person narrative by both Aria and Perry, Veronica Rossie ensures we really get to know both of these characters very well. I didn’t like Aria to begin with, but throughout the book she developes into a strong heroine. There isn’t a pivitol moment where this happens, she doesn’t suddenly turn from protected weakling to kick-ass. It’s a quiet and believable progression. Perry on the otherhand was fascinating from the start (and also particularly swoon worthy!). If I’m ever stuck in a post apocalyptic world, he’s the guy I want with me. As with Aria’s developement, Rossi takes a slow approach to the romance in this book. And wow, did I get fully caught up with it. There’s no instant attraction here, the pair connect through need rather than want and the chemistry between the pair is as electrifying as the aether that constantly threatens them.

Despite the slow start, Under The Never Sky turned into a fast paced, thrilling ride which had me hooked. It’s tough, bloody and action packed at times with some heart stopping moments that kept me turning pages as fast as I could. Although I was baffled with the world to begin with, Rossi captures it so well that once you get it, it becomes believable, detailed and developed, so much so that while reading it I felt I was actually there. I would like to know what happened to make the world how it is in Under the Never Sky, as this isn’t covered. Maybe that will come in following books in this series, which judging by the ending of this one promise to be every bit as good. If you like your dystopia worlds bleak and ruthless with an action packed and fast paced plot, then I recommend Under The Never Sky.

Published February 2012 by atom (UK)
Thanks to the publishers for sending a copy for review.

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