Expected Publication: January 3, 2012 by HarperCollins
ARC received through Netgalley
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.
It has become so rare that I read a book and have absolutely nothing to complain about when I’m finished. Nothing. Nada. Under the Never Sky is one of those rare occurrences, and it is going to be a long, grueling wait for the sequel.
This is where I struggle with books I love. I can always find the words—a lot of words—for books I do not like, but it’s so hard to explain why I loved something.
This book is everything that dystopian should be. World-building that is outstanding and absolutely engrossing. Strong characters you can empathize with, despite having little--if anything--in common. Obstacles that are believable, vivid, and seemingly impossible to overcome.
I fell in love with these characters. Aria and Perry are so different, and I loved watching them as they grew, not only closer to one another, but as individuals. I loved reading how they dealt with the things that are thrown at them. Their loyalty to their people never wavered, and while they grew as people, they didn’t transform to the point that they weren’t recognizable. They remained true to who they were, even when their romance came into play. The secondary characters were nearly as endearing, and I can’t wait to see more of them.
I cannot stress how much I loved the lack of insta-love. Enough said.
There was not a single moment I wanted to put this book down. Not a single moment of boredom. It was brilliantly paced, and ended smoothly while leaving enough open that you anticipate what comes next. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for this series, and I’m really, really hoping it doesn’t involve a love triangle.
Both Enclave and Divergent are among some of my favorite books I’ve read in quite some time, and Under the Never Sky is right there with them. I can’t say it’s better than those (I also can’t say it isn’t) but I will say as a 2012 debut, this book is going to be difficult to beat.