Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse. Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
“Roni…” a tiny voice came out of the darkness as a small form curled up by her side. “Roni… tell me a story.”
“A story?” She asked, pulling the little body closer. “Hmm, let me think. How about I tell you of the two falcons, each desperately searching for something for something precious that they lost, only to stumble upon something more precious that they never imagined they’d find, all under the never sky.”
The tiny form yawned. “Yeah, tell me that one, I love that one.”
I stumbled upon “Under the Never Sky” while I was browsing my goodreads.com Dystopian recommendations. It was recommended to me because I’d read “Divergent,” “Legend,” and “Dearly, Departed” all of which I enjoyed so I figured why not? I had audible credits to burn, so I picked up the audio book.
Well I read it in two days, and here’s the thing… I’m not sure I can give this book the review it deserves…
Veronica Rossi has woven a tale of two civilizations that are doing their best to survive in a world that is now cursed with Aether. What is Aether? We don’t know, Mrs. Rossi never tells us, but that’s ok. What we do know is that the Aether causes constant cloud cover and occasionally for kicks it spins up a storm that strikes the earth in funnels, destroying whatever it touches.
As a result, one civilization has decided to live in “pods.” Manmade structures partially underground that are sealed off from the outside world, kind of like a giant terrarium. Inside these, citizens are given a “smarteye” which they use to traverse the “realms,” totted as “better than reality” where you can do whatever your little heart desires without fear of negative consequences. It reminded me a great deal of the virtual world in “Caprica.”
The other civilization lives a harsher reality on settlements on the surface. Groups of people have banded together to form tribes, lead by a “Blood Lord” and carved out a territory for themselves. In order to better survive, many have developed a sense that is stronger than the others. Audiles had an acute sense of hearing, some being able to hear for miles, others being able to hear thoughts while touching. Seers can, well, see really well. Sciers are the most special of all. They have a strong sense of smell; most can smell emotions (called tempers) and lies while also making the best hunters. They also can bond with another, in a process called rendering, where they can actually feel the other person’s emotions.
In their world, their bloodline is their best currency, and if you have a sense, you only marry others of that sense in order to enhance your bloodline. Mixing senses can lead to disaster, as someone born of two senses is seen as cursed.
The narrative begins with Aria. A 17 year old girl with a natural (or perhaps I should call it unnatural) talent for singing, her voice a beautiful . She lives in the main pod city of Reverie. Her mother, a respected scientist is working in another pod, Bliss. For a week Reverie has received no word from Bliss, and Aria has had no word from her mother. In a state she decides to cozy up to Soren, the son of the man in charge of pod security in hopes that he’ll have some news from Bliss.
Turns out that Soren is kind of a dick.
When things go poorly (and who could’ve expected that) Soren blames Aria, and since she’s not the son of an important man, she gets dumped on the surface where she fully expects to die in minutes from some sort of disease she has no immunity for.
The second narrator in the book is Perrigrin, or Perry for short. Our poor Perry was born with two senses. He can see REALLY well at night, and is also a very powerful Scier. (ok, so it turns out I can’t remember how to spell the word, and I listened to the audio book so it sounded like “sky-er”). He’s lost his mother and father. His sister was traded to another tribe in an arranged marriage for goods. His sister-in-law died. His nephew, who he is rendered to, is ill. His brother is their really crappy Blood Lord and he has to spend all of his time trying not to challenge for the right to rule their tribe. When the pod people (I’ve been dying to work that in) come for him and end up taking his ailing nephew, he knows that it’s up to him to get the child back.
Aria and Perry find each other… Well really Perry finds her, and they agree to work together in order to accomplish their goals. At first, they intend to double cross each other, but as they travel together, and grow together, they begin actually working together. They start seeing each other as people, instead of just a “mole” and a “savage”. Their adventure is engaging as they traverse this barren wasteland in search of answers and the people they love.
The book ends simply, and several loose ends aren’t tied up, leaving you longing for a sequel, but that fits with the world. A world where happiness is fleeting and you know there’s always trouble on the horizon.
I know I’ve given out a lot of 5 stars lately, but the books have all been quality titles, and this is another gem that you should read.
5 out of 5.
GET YOUR COPY OF UNDER THE NEVER SKY FROM AMAZON.COM!
Click here for hardcover!
Click here for Kindle format!