So as you may have noticed, rather than doing the monthly book review posts, I’m going to attempt to some stand alone reviews. This is mostly to get me into a better habit of talking about and formulating my thoughts on what I’m reading. We’ll see how this works. (Oh, I should say there are probably spoilers ahead… I’ll try to be careful, though.)
The Under the Never Sky is a YA dystopian sci-fi series by Veronica Rossi — her debut series, actually. The world’s become inhabitable (terrible storms of fiery elements/aether), and some of the “lucky” ones escaped doom by moving into pods. The unlucky ones? Well, the ones who survived became known as the Outsiders. (The ones inside becoming Dwellers.) And of course neither side likes each other, using names like moles or savages. Anyway. An accident happens and our heroine, Aria, is cast out of the pod and into what they know as a very sure death. And then we have Perry, who’s struggling with his brother’s leadership in the tribe — he’s involved in that first accident, and then another incident happens, and well, you know this is coming, he’s put into the same path as Aria. And basically the two must defeat corrupt leaderships/power, defend themselves from dangers and rivals, and, since this is a YA series, deal with the OMGFEELINGS that they have for each other… They’ve got to save the ones they love, and save themselves. Oh. And some Outsiders have special abilities — uber enhanced senses to the point where they can sometimes sense other’s feelings or hear their thoughts.
So I picked up this series because it reminded me some of Sunset Rising — another dystopian series about a burnt out, uninhabitable world where people have been divided. (And yes, another love story about two people from opposite sides.) I like Sunset Rising because it at least paid some attention to what happens when people are left out to extreme UV or darkness — humans have to adapt. With Under the Never Sky, there’s not really any of that outside of these enhanced senses. The Dwellers have made technological advancements… basically playing into a possibly future where our online connectiveness goes to the point of experiencing life through online realms you access with a tech-infused patch you wear over one eye. Rossi’s world wasn’t bad, but frankly I preferred McEachern’s.
I did like, however, that Aria and Perry’s relationship wasn’t instantaneous. But you did know right from the beginning it was going to happen. This series definitely falls into that whole ferocity of having that one person, your soulmate, that you can’t live without. And then there’s this whole aspect of being rendered to someone… You know, I’d like to see their relationship without this sort of supernatural pull towards each other. Might make it feel more authentic. And maybe make Perry less possessive of Aria, which would be healthy. Honestly, I liked Aria and Roar’s relationship. It’s built on friendship and trust, and you can tell there’s a genuine care there. (But of course because of that whole rendering and one true love thing… yeah.)
The first two books of the series were pretty captivating. They’re struggling against so much, and the story moves forwards at a good pace. The third book just wasn’t as good as the others. That could have been for a number of reasons — pressure to publish meant not enough time to really work the story. I don’t know. I was just left sort of, “well, ok, I guess” at the end of it all. It’s hard when you get all the way to the end of a series and you’re just like “that was it?” And it wasn’t for a lack action or anything. It’s just… something felt meh about it. Maybe I just wasn’t as invested into the story or characters as much any more.
I don’t say any of this to dissuade anyone from reading the series. If you like sci-fi stories about trying to survive in a ruined world, and has a fair bit of that love stuff, then you might like this series. I was entertained by it, and definitely didn’t hate it.