Published in Hardcover, 384 pgs.
Published Jan. 3rd, 2012 by HarperCollins
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.
First of all, big props to the author for the clever names. From the title, which fits perfectly, to the names of the characters. Aria is named for her voice, Peregrine for the hunter he is (like the falcon), Roar for every sound he hears, Cinder for his unique ability... All brilliantly thought up names.
The story itself is quite unique as well. I never once felt like it was a copy of anything else, it was completely it's own and it was impossible to determine where things may go. There were twists and turns I never saw coming and characters that became something different then I expected. And while I thought it was all a great idea for a story and was full of unique elements I did feel myself grow a bit bored at places in the middle. Long journey's can become tiresome and I think that's what my issue was in the slower parts. However, even when it was slow the interaction between Aria and Perry was always entertaining.
I loved how it took Perry and Aria time to warm up to each other. There wasn't an instant attraction and they had to discover each others personalities before anything became more. They had to push past ingrained prejudices and so much more. So once they began to warm to each other it was pretty awesome. I really liked how the stuff between them played out.
I love the side characters in this book. Roar is larger then life in his personality and he's completely love-able. Cinder is this broken person who you just want to help. You want to take him under your wing and heal him from all the hurt he's seen and been through. The side characters in this book just really stood out to me and I really hope we see much more of them in future books.
The abilities that some people have are definitely very cool. They seem like they could really happen and it felt more like magical realism then straight up fantasy. I thought the world building was unique and well-done, but I do have an issue. Now this is just a personal thing and nothing against the author or writing, but I think I kind of have a hard time with books that I don't feel like I really know when and where I am. I know in a fantasy I'm in a made up land. I know in a dystopian I'm in our world in the future. But when you mix them, you make it futuristic, but you add in fantasy elements and never make it clear if it's this world it just kind of messes with my head. I like to know where I am. It seems like this issue was a little hard for me to overcome. I just wanted to know where I was. So, definitely a personal preference, but I'm hoping maybe I could get an answer on that...
And the end of the book was a little weird. I felt like it was rushed. In a span of a very short time there was lots of jumping around and it's suddenly months in the future and I feel like I missed something. I actually read through it a few times and still felt a little confused. I don't mind the book progressing quickly to get to the point where the next one starts but the way it was done just felt kind of weird. I almost wish she had left off just a bit of it and then explained in the next book more. I did read an ARC, so the finished copy may be different.
Overall this was a pretty good read. I'm really impressed with much of it and I'm very eager to read the next one. It's also mostly clean and only has some insinuating things. Like you know some sexual stuff happens but there's no description.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
I read an advance copy of this book and the finished copy may vary slightly.