I first attempted to read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi in 2011. I had acquired an advanced copy and picked it out of the pile at random. I wasn’t feeling the book then so I put it down, vowing to return to it. It took three years and numerous recommendations but I finally read it to completion… and I loved it. Every word. It’s fantastic.
Aria is from Reverie, an enclosed city in the middle of the Death Shop. The Death Shop is a wasteland where few survive and the aether, a series of lightning storms, is ever-present. Aria’s life has been one of frivolous virtual existences thanks to the Realms and her Smarteye, both devices allowing her to frolic away the time locked in Reverie. In the Realms Aria can experience anything and anything place in the blink of an eye, and one day an experience there causes her exile from Reverie.
Betrayed and dishonoured Aria is banished to the Death Shop because of an outsider named Peregrine (called Perry for short). Perry invaded Reverie and caused great damage to Soren, Consul Hess’s son, as well as a breach in Reverie’s walls. Aria’s involvement with his invasion is the reason for her punishment and she is not happy to see him on the outside. However, if she wants to survive life under the never sky she has to trust the savage outsider.
Under the Never Sky is a riotous debut; a quick-paced joyride. Part adventure novel and part science fiction this book has something for every reader. The plot is tidy and the character interactions rich. It has the right mix of sharp action and complex dynamics.
Aria is a great character; rounded and determined though she is completely out of her depth. Aria has been genetically engineered to have the gift of song but it’s her hidden talents that surprise everyone. Perry is important in his tribe. His brother, Vale, is the Blood Lord of the Tides. Though Vale was first in line, Perry thinks he should be the Blood Lord . Perry is also a Scire, marked by two bands on his arm to set him apart. He can see in the dark of night. He can also smell emotions giving him and advantage over prey and people alike. As the story goes on the two find themselves drawing on their mutual abilities to survive the aether.
I loved this book. It made me happy from the word go. I cannot remember such an original set of characters or circumstances. I loved this world. I loved the characters and the situations. Altogether these things made for an experience that will root itself in my consciousness for some time to come.
5 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –