2016 Reading Challenge · Book review

POPSUGAR’s 2016 Reading Challenge: A dystopian novel | Book Review: Under the Never Sky

My third book this year. And the third tick off my reading list (Both POPSUGAR and Goodreads Reading Challenge).

I decided to re-read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

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Rossi, V. (2012). Under the Never Sky. New York, NY: HarperCollins

Some details:

  • Edition: Paperback, International First Edition, 376 pages
  • Price: ₱349.00 from National Bookstore (I received it as a gift, though)
  • ISBN: 0062131958
  • Genres: Science Fiction – Dystopia, Young Adult, Romance

Do you want to know…

(all directed to Goodreads)

My Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars

A little comment on the cover: My Christmas wishlist for the exchange gift back in high school was any mystery book. The one who was assigned to give me was *ehem, let’s call him JC*… So yeah, JC, a normal unicorn not-that-interested on how to tell books apart, scoured the bookstore in search for a mystery book… and he bought me this. Before anything else, I’m not disappointed because this is YA and the cover looks mysterious, too. He also pointed out the word “MURDERED” on the back cover, which was a justification that it was indeed, a mystery book. But if I were to encounter this in a bookstore, I would not give a third-glance because of the crappy background and the girl. Not that attention-grabbing. I would like if they pictured something like the Aether, though…

If I were to write the plot summary of the book, it is about a 17-year old girl, Aria and an 18-year old boy, Peregrine “Perry” who lived in opposite worlds — Aria in the Reverie, an enclosed city where you live in virtual reality, while Perry in a tribe Outside, under the never sky. She was exiled, he ran away from the tribe. They meet, fall in love and live happily ever after just like every teenage couples in a fantasy/romance book (Kidding! We’re only on the first in the trilogy… where’s the fun in that?).

Well, then… that’s too much to take in. And what the hell is a never sky?!

The mystery of the never sky was revealed somewhere in the first half of the book. It was hard to miss, because the readers still have no idea what the title is all about. It was the Aether, violent energy storms and was the reason why they were divided in the first place. How the hell did that connect? Well, that’s for you to found out.

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Yep, how I featured the Aether in my head.

The point-of-views were written in third person, switching between Aria and Peregrine. It was unusual for me, reading this kind of book in third person. But anyway, I’m much comfortable reading in third person than first/second person.

For me, the plot was predictable, really. I just knew that they would cross paths. I just knew that they would hate each other. I just knew that after some time, love will keep them together. Of course, there’s a formula in every stories…

But I did not hate that book. In fact, I found myself stopping to smile, to stifle a laugh (Yes, to stifle a laugh. I was so drawn to their love story.). Even then, it was a little bit cheesy for me. It was not THAT cringe-worthy and forced, though. Their lines are cheesy… If I say some of their lines to my special someone even when it’s a good moment, I would ready myself for his strange stare… (excerpt later).

Maybe the part that I liked the most is when Aria was fascinated on rocks. HOW STRANGELY AWESOME WAS THAT? Rocks. (No offense to Geologists!) She lines them up, by color, by size, shape because why not? “Imperfect and surprising”, she said. Virtual reality is not-so-fun anymore if I’m gonna look at rocks like I’ve never seen it before (and I just explained what life is like in her home).

Describing is not my forte… but lemme try.

Aria: I like how she’s always eager to learn. She’s smart and knows how to act around people. An excellent singer modified by her mother (yikes!). I like her resiliency, her perseverance. She has a genuine curiosity of the world around her — maybe because she is *SPOILER ALERT* half-blood.

Perry: He’s hard outside, but has a soft heart. He always wants the best for others, and his needs becomes an afterthought. Because of that, he needs to face tough decisions in his life… and maybe just run away. His pain… ugh. I’m so much moved by him. I can feel his hardships on how to pick his battles. Even then, I can see him as a good leader. I also like his humor, even though he rarely talks. What enchanting effect Aria brought him!

Roar: Perry’s best friend. My favorite character. What can someone ask for more than a friend loyal to him? When reading books, I always try to seek some good themes worth learning, like friendship. He brightens up your day, he kills the scene through his witty jokes… Ah, I love him. He’s on a quest to save his romantic loved one, though. Can I volunteer to be his? (KIDDING!)

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Perry has an enhanced Sense… of smelling. This sounds lame. But people, he can smell EMOTIONS. HOW COOL IS THAT?

Overall: The budding love of the two — it was fun journeying with them. I did not feel the setting a bit much, though. I can imagine the devices, like Aria’s Smarteye, and it was cool enough for me. I’m not a science-y nerd anyway. If I liked a book because it’s a good read and has a good character development, then I like it. I like their imperfections, especially Perry’s. I also liked the minor characters… and am curious as to what mysterious cases would happen to them next. I would be sad to see them, die, if ever. Not that I’m hoping, but what is a book without a twist?

There are many exciting things I haven’t mentioned, and that is for you to discover. Yes, I recommend it. I would not rate it 4/5 if it’s not good. If I review the setting closely and the dystopian vibe, I might see few, unexplained, unclear things. But the story was good, nevertheless. A little boring at first due to a slow development, but as the story progresses you can be in it more. Still, if you’re a fantasy-romance-dystopia-sucker, you might want to read this.

Now, here is the cheesy excerpt I’m talking about. If you don’t like spoilers, then don’t.

Peregrine’s POV

“Liv says… she says he’s a feast for the eyes.”

He tried to say it without sounding envious, but doubted it would help. Surely she’d heard the emotion in is voice.

Aria smiled. She took his scarred hand and ran her thumb over his knuckles. “Roar is very handsome. In Reverie most people look like him. Or close.”

Perry cursed. His fault for bringing it up. “And here you are. Holding hands with a crooked-nose Savage who’s been burnt and beaten in — how many places did you count?”

“I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as you.”

Perry looked down at their hands. How did she do that? How did she make him feel weak and strong? Thrilled and terrified? He couldn’t find a way to return what she’d given him. He didn’t have a gift she did with words. All he could do was take her hand and kiss it, and bring it to his heart, and wish she could scent his temper.

Veronica Rossi, 2012, 335

Thanks for reading! A graphic novel coming up after I post the loveliest quotes from the book. See you soon!

Photo taken from: here and here and here

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