The Wicked Deep

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi
Published by Atom on February 7th 2012
Pages: 374
Goodreads

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

This book was a tough read. Rossi dunks us straight into a post-apocalyptic world where a percentage of the population burrows underground in pods and the remaining struggle to survive above ground with cannibals and killer lightening storms running amok. With a dash of starcrossed-esque lovers, action on the gory side, and a vividly dangerous world where everything including the weather is out to get you, I can see how readers would easily get caught up in this story. After a while I certainly reached enthrallment, but it was a long dusty road of confusion along the way.

Under the Never Sky is narrated through the dual POVS of Aria and Perry, two teenagers from distinctly different worlds. Aria’s kind, as Perry refers to as “moles” are the ones I previously mentioned live in undergrounds pods. The pod society is organized and compact. Advances in science have sustained the population, elevated the life expectancy and created virtual realities that imitate the look, sound, and feel of any recreational activity you can think of. Perry’s society is less rule-driven and more traditional. Although there’s not a clear indication or distinction between the two, at times it seems like mysticism takes precedent over technology. In Perry’s world food is scarce, violence is imminent and everyone is expected to pull their own weight. Struggling with their society’s limitations, including innate prejudice between the two ways of life, Aria and Perry’s initial meeting(s) result in an eye-opening, meaningful, and life-altering journey that puts their strength of mind, body and soul to the ultimate tests.

Although by the last page I was captivated with Under the Never Sky it doesn’t erase the fact that I struggled so much in the beginning. We’re introduced to an alien world and society that took too long to make sense. I spent a good chunk of the book disconnected because there were words and expressions I didn’t understand. The violent component of the “Never Sky” was called Aether, a term that I’d never heard of before. At first I couldn’t tell if it was Rossi’s creativity at work, or just my lack of scientific knowledge. I didn’t want an information overload but I did feel like we needed the explanations closer to the beginning. Until I started to grasp how Aria and Perry’s world worked, I couldn’t fully immerse myself in the story. Luckily midway through the details came and my ability to follow the story became easier.

I story also rolled out too slow for my taste. Aria and Perry’s POV switch-off begins right away and then it’s about another 80 pages before their paths actually converge. It could have been the promised epic love story that I was waiting for, but Aria and Perry’s separate lives just didn’t interest me much. Until they meet, the plot doesn’t really start churning. Their pre-journey lives merely felt like a platform for the adventure and excitement to come.

Overall I did enjoy Under the Never Sky. It’s one of those books that you have to give at least a 100 pages for its magic to work. It’s also one of those series where I can easily see book two skyrocketing.