Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Reviewing the evidence - Under the Never Sky

Title: Under the Never Sky (US Link)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Dystopian
Series: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky

A few starting notes:

This is the first book in the 'Under the Never Sky' series by Veronica Rossi (not to be confused with Veronica Roth - author of the Divergent series.) I picked it up randomly at the library. I warn any fangirls/boys amongst you that it may well drag you into a new fandom, complete with ships and potential otp (I have a feeling this is going to suck me to fandom levels, I already want to read the rest of the series. I will resist becoming obsessed while it's still possible.) To non fangirls/boys - ignore that last sentence and try to not to get sucked into the fandom vocab, the less you know the more likely you are to continue in your somehow fandom-free existence.

Premise:

Aria (pronounced like the song) has lived in Reverie her whole life. She's never even been to the outer pods. She has the Realms - the virtual worlds all Dwellers live in, in ignorance of the cracks beginning to show in the aging Reverie. Aria's world is about to change forever.

Perry is an Outsider. He lives outside the pods, with the other Outsiders. He's Marked - he has special abilities: ultra-sharp eyesight and the ability to smell feelings. Perry's world is about to change forever.

Somehow, their going to have walk the balance between Reverie and the Outside, together.

Best bits:

The dystopian system is well thought-through - you can tell that there's a history to this place that the author knows but also knows isn't relevant to the plot. Rossi walks with ease through the different facets of her world, as if she's actually been there.

The concept of the Realms is frighteningly realistic - it's only a short step from what we already have, and it's an unnerving prospect used to excellent effect.

This book is a real page-turner, it grabs you and carries you along. Even with the recent glut in dystopian fiction off the back of series like The Hunger Games, this manages to feel fresh and relevant, despite walking some well-trodden paths.

Not so great bits:

There's some weighty issues here - parental neglect, child abuse, family betrayal,  and sexual assault (starting to think that there's sexual assault in pretty much every book I read.) There's also a bunch of gore, death, and a touch of cannibalism. This is dystopian fiction - this tends to result in an absence of fluffy bunnies.

You can see the romance coming a mile off - thing is, you kind of want it. The irritating part is that it doesn't come soon enough! I hate it when books make you wait around for something that's obvious from the first chapter.

Verdict:

This manages to bring fresh air to a recently saturated genre. It will keep you reading, keep you hoping, keep you guessing. It's sure as hell a great novel - and I can't wait for the rest of the series!

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