Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky 
Narrated By: Bernadette Dunne Flagler
Published By: Harper Audio
Publication Date: February 2012
Audio Length: 9 hours, 39 minutes
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction, Dystopian

On the Writing & Story:

I should probably begin by saying this book is so not in my genre. I often find dystopians dry and so depressing. I have to force myself to read them most of the time. I feel like something must be wrong with me for not enjoying books in this genre when so many of the other Larks gobble this stuff down like candy. I was nervous when I started this one, but I soon settled into the fascinating world Rossi has created. It also helped that I instantly fell in love with Aria and Perry.


Aria lives in a pod, Reverie, and spends her days frolicking through the virtual universe. She can sing on the stage of a Paris opera house for her mother in the morning, lunch in Rome with her best friend, and finish off the evening dancing in New York City. There is no end to the options for how to spend her time. She never stops to think about how people outside of the pods live; those on the outside are mindless savages who could never understand the complexity of Aria's world. 

I really loved learning about Aria's society and culture. It should seem far fetched to live in a world like hers, but as technology is constantly evolving I didn't find it that hard to imagine. People love the instant gratification technology can provide and the appeal it has for removing us from reality. While I thought the pods sounded interesting and I wouldn't mind being able to use the realms occasionally, I don't think this is a society that I could live in full time. There are too many rules and thoughts and feelings aren't authentic.

Aria is also an awesome YA heroine. I loved her spunk and tenacity. She finds a way to survive against all the odds. Her growth from the beginning to end of this novel was amazing. She stops being the whiny teenager who depends on her mother and never questions authority and blossoms into a young woman who can wield a blade, analyze political and scientific topics, and outrun a bunch of hungry cannibals.

In addition to Aria, there is Peregrine aka Perry. He's the rough around the edges sort who screams bad news, but deep down has a heart of gold. Perry lives on the outside; he hates the pods and their lifestyle. He understands what it means to deal with the elements and live in the present without the luxury of escaping into the realms. The tribal structure in Perry's world was fascinating. I really enjoyed seeing how the dynamics of the tribe played out and contributed to the overall story.

One of my favorite aspects of Perry's story is his relationship with Talon. There is something so sweet and heartbreaking about the two of them together. The familial bond between these two is so strong. There were moments that had me near tears - I cared so deeply about the fate of each one.

Veronica Rossi's writing is impressive and doesn't make any of the traditional mistakes of a debut writer. There is no predictable plot, insta-love, love triangles, or dumbed down characters in sight. Every time I thought I had things figured out, a new element would be introduced, sending me down a new path of predications. The ending left me reeling as I never saw some of those twists coming. Rossi's novel has shown me that not all Dystopians have to be depressing. She's earned herself a fan with this one - I'd read anything else she wrote without hesitation.

This novel oozes adrenaline, romance, and intrigue. There is a fair amount of Dystopian elements running throughout this one, but I felt like it was more of science fiction/fantasy tale. There are special abilities that border on magic and fascinating worlds and societies. This is not a depressing story at all, but rather one full of love, hope, and survival. I couldn't get enough of the adventures of Aria and Perry. I'm anxious to get the next book in my hands and you should be too.

On the Audio:

Bernadette Dunne Flagler was fabulous. I was nervous since the novel alternates perspectives between Aria and Perry. I don't always enjoy female narrators voicing male characters. Bernadette has such an interesting cadence when she reads that I soon forgot everything else and was able to focus on the flow of the story. Her voice has that molasses quality to it - warm, enveloping, and rich. I was so impressed with the way she infused Aria and Perry with lifelike personalities. She truly took them from the page and made them exist in my mind. I could see them perfectly. I sincerely hope she does all the books in this series. I would even purchase this one and relisten to it from time to time. I might have to read the other books on my own though because I read faster than the narrator and this is a series that I want to devour immediately.


One Last Gripe: I wanted to know more about Liv. I hope we'll get some answers concerning her in future books.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The evolution of Aria and Perry

First Sentence: They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod "the Death Shop."

Favorite Character: Aria

Least Favorite Character: Soren



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.



19 comments:

  1. I want more Liv too! I'm thinking that will play out more in the next book ~ I hope so anyway! Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for checking out my review. Glad to meet another fan! :)

      Delete
  2. YAYYYYYY I'm so glad you loved it!!! And we do find out more about Liv!!! I just finished Through the Ever Night and it's AMAZING!!! I had the same issue you did, where I wanted more Liv and you so get her!!! This has been one of my favorite reads of 2012 so I'm always excited to see when people love it :)

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so excited that there is some Liv in the next book. I can't wait to read it. I am so not a Sci/Fi or Dystopian girl typically, but this novel blew me away. I loved every minute of it. It's one of my favorite 2012 reads as well.

      Delete
  3. Yeah...I think I need to read this one soon!! Great review Andrea!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This book was fabulous, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a sucker for dystopian novels. Glad to hear that the audiobook was up to snuff. Badly-voiced audiobooks can completely ruin a good book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - a narrator can really ruin a book.

      Delete
  5. I really love dystopians but this one didn't make 5 stars for me. I did enjoy the story and the characters' growth throughout. Aria started out very annoying for me but I grew to like her. I'm thinking I'll like book #2 a little more and look forward to it. Thanks for your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think part of the reason Aria didn't annoy me was the way the narrator chose to convey her voice. I certainly think that sometimes audio can change my opinion of a book.

      Delete
  6. To be honest, I liked it, but didn't love it. Just wanted SO much more. I'm looking forward to seeing if book 2 resolves some of the issues I had.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aria and Perry are two of my favorite characters ever. I have read several dystopian's over the course of the year. I don't know how I could have kept away from it with the influx. I like them alright, but this is one of the few that I have loved. And this one, I absolutely 100% love and adore. There is not one single negative thing that I can say. I love it, love it, love it!!!! Cannot wait for Through the Ever Night. It will blow me away, no doubt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't typically enjoy dystopians. They often depress me. This one however felt more action packed and hopeful. I also loved Perry.

      Delete
  8. I picked this up based on your review. I LOVED IT. I love the world she has created and cannot wait for the next book

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad my recommendation worked for you! I agree - the world Rossi creates in this novel is fascinating.

      Delete
  9. I loved this one and the world introduced in it (and I especially loved the ending - so perfect!). I can't wait for the next one to come out soon!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoy dystopians, but haven't read this one yet, although the blogging world raves about it. it's on my wishlist, though!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I didn't really like the book in my opinion. I somehow found the romance too quick for my taste.

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    ReplyDelete

We love your comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...