23. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, 376 pages, read by Courtney, on 05/21/2012

Aria’s life in Reverie has been relatively normal. She spends her time in the Realms, a virtual world accessed via “smarteyes”, hanging with her friends and meeting up with her mother periodically. When the link to the pod that her mother is living goes dead and stays dead for over a week, Aria begins to worry and takes a risk that ultimately gets her kicked out of Reverie and all the other pods. She has effectively become an outsider and is pretty sure that she won’t survive the first day outside the pods. In the meantime, an outsider named Peregrine has managed to temporarily break into Reverie after an aether storm destroyed part of the pod. He’s in search of medicine for his young nephew, Talon, but the same catastrophe that gets Aria in trouble also prevents Perry from succeeding in his risky mission (one that is forbidden by his tribe and has been undertaken in secret). Lucky for Aria, she narrowly misses getting killed by an aether storm due to Perry’s arrival on the scene. Together they must attempt to find common ground so that they can each stay alive long enough to do what they need to do.
In some ways, this felt like a sci-fi version of “Nation” by Terry Prachett. We have the “modern” girl and the “savage” outsider pushed into relying on each other for survival. So the overall storyline really isn’t anything new. I did like the setting and Aria’s transition from being weak and naive to finding her own skills and adapting to her surroundings. Perry is somewhat grumpy at the beginning, but warms up and fleshes out as a character. I never did get the whole “rendering” thing or why it mattered (aside from making Perry do things his character might not otherwise consider). The reasoning behind the outsiders and their special senses is not really explained either, though I suspect it will be developed more in later installments. I’m guessing genetics and natural selection, but we’ll see. An entertaining, but not life-changing, entry into the YA dystopian-romance cannon.

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