Three-day weekend coming up! It’s also marathon weekend, which sadly, I will not be partaking in. I will be doing more reading on beaches though, so let’s talk books. Although it’s not my my absolute FAVORITE YA book, meaning I didn’t mourn the end and try to force all of my friends and family to read it, it was a fun read.
Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 2012
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Aria and her friends become involved in a teenage prank gone terribly wrong, in AG-6 a service pod in Reverie, the enclosed city where they live. Aria had only been along to get information about her missing mother, but then she finds herself cast out into the Outside (also known as ‘the Deathtrap’).
Perry is a hunter in the tribe called The Tides, marked for his keen sense of smell and eyesight. Through a tragic accident, he becomes cast out by the tribe and sets out on a quest to clear his name. He runs into Aria along the way, and an unlikely alliance is forged. Together they embark on a journey for answers, survival, and revenge.
II. Essential Questions:
How does someone who grew up in a virtual world survive in the real world?
What are the good and bad implications of a technology driven society versus a non-technologically driven society?
What happened to Aria’s mother?
What really is the Aether?
Again: Do they drink enough water? Shower enough? Sleep enough?
In the distant future, people lived in Unity. Then about 300 years ago, viscous-charged storms called Aether forced people to split: live in Pods or stay to battle harsh outside conditions. People in Pods live mostly in Realms, or virtual realities accessed through an eyepiece called the Smarteye. (Sounds kooky, but Rossi writes about it in a cool way that made me actually want to visit the Realms.) Everything is genetically designed for efficiency, and most people virtual Realms. Their slogan: Better than real.
People on the Outside banded together to form tribes, become bloodthirsty cannibals, or were cast out on their own.They…have no slogan.
Aria and Perry could not be more different, growing up in two totally different worlds, but I liked that and I liked the two of them. While Aria is no Katniss or Tris, she can’t really be. She’s taken from a plugged in world to an outside world. Aria is literally scared out of her mind for the first part of the book. Perry is the more capable one of the two, yet his hubris is that he thinks he brings ruin and shame to his family, tribe, and most situations.
Potentially, but it’s not immediate in a fight to just survive. And would it ever last?
The world-building is incredibly creative. The juxtaposition of a technologically driven world and a raw, almost primitive world isn’t a new concept, but I found this novel to be a very captivating, entertaining read. There are quite a few post-apocalyptic YA books on the shelves, and this one is truly unique and well done.
The part that was a bit little spotty for me surrounded the Pod-concept. I wanted to know more about the Pods. I think Rossi was just setting us up for the future books, but I didn’t quite get how the society fragmented, how they created these Pods, the culture of the Realms, this Hess character?
I do like how the book alternates chapters (like Legend), which again, works out very well for this story.
5. The Extras:
Cannibals, caves, tattoos, violent storms, virtual spaces, good friends, evil people, BOW + ARROWS.
This isn’t in the same category as books like The Hunger Games and Divergent. The writing isn’t as gripping. The storyline isn’t as tight. The characters aren’t as good. But I still found myself entertained along the way and enjoying it.
V. Future Implications:
Part one of a trilogy. Like all of them.
This book is getting some buzz. Its rights were sold in 20 markets (with six-figure advances). Film rights secured by Warner Brothers. Not bad for her first novel!
VI. Additional Resources:
Veronica Rossi talks Under The Never Sky
Still on my nightstand: