Title: Under The Never Sky (Vol #1 of 3)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Original language: English
In a protected city known as Reverie, Aria is an ordinary girl who spends her time with her friends travelling in and out of realms, without ever leaving the comfort of her room. One day, she and her friends decide to physically explore a part of the dome that has been damaged by a recent storm. Once inside the dome, things take a turn for he worse and Aria finds herself being rescued by an “outsider”, a savage who lives on the outside of Reverie in the wastelands and who his worlds apart from her. Aria and Perry team up for a similar cause, even though they are anything but similar. Can Aria adapt to this new world and find it in her to see eye-to-eye with the savage from a different world?
I was attracted t this book because the premise was suspiciously similar to my all-time favourite series No.6 (a dystopian series that revolves around an “insider” from a domed city and an “outsider” living in a wasteland, and how they must join forces to destroy a common evil). I started reading it and soon found that, even though similar, there were still some major differences.
Aria is surprisingly lovable. I didn’t think that she would be, but I was pleasantly surprised. Her fright and confusion in regards to the outside world are legitimate, and she rapidly grows and adapts to fit her new environment.
Perry (Peregrine) is pretty cool, he has strange abilities but, if you can look past those, it’s not too hard to get into his aloof-yet-sensitive nature. I like his back story, his initial reactions and relationship to Aria are on point. He doesn’t trust her and doesn’t want anything to do with her. The whole inside/outside dichotomy is really used well in this book and it made the two main characters completely believable.
It was pretty obvious to me that the author meant to represent the “inside” people as ruling (white) colonizers, while the “outsiders” have distinct Native physiological and social characteristics (dark skin, tribal tattoos, live in tribes, hunters, in tune with nature, etc). The whole thing kinda gave off a Pocahontas/Avatar-type vibe.
There are a few things that kinda annoyed me, like how pretty much every wasteland character had the most generic cliché Native names you can think of (Peregrine? really?). Another thing that bothered me, as mentioned above, was Perry’s ability to smell every thing all the time. I’m not sure how relevant it is that he’s able to smell when Aria is on her period (true fact), but it’s kinda creepy. There was this whole undertone that Perry is very animalistic. He has a keen sense of smell and sight, he can “prime” to other humans like an animal, and he even has sharper teeth than normal. Even his best friend Roar (I kid you not with his name) is more “human” than he is.
I’ve compiled a list of Outsider names to prove my point:
Peregrine, our hero, who also has a falcon tattoo on his back *facepalm*
Talon, his nephew
Vale, his older brother
Roar, his bff
Bear, Reef & Twig, some of his soldiers
Sable, the enemy-but-not-quite-the enemy
I think you get the point… After compiling that list, I realized that the Dwellers’ names are just as ridiculous:
Aria, the hero who sings like an angel *surprise*
Lumina, her mother
Paisley, her bff
Pixie, one of her friends
Oh and, did I mention that the tribes on the Outside are called Tides, Rose, Horns, Night and Delphi ….
Regardless of the ridiculous names for everyone and everything, I really enjoyed this book. It was fairly quick to read, had a good flow to it and was easy to get into (regardless of he strange traits the outsiders have). I have a special place in my heart for Roar, bless his sweet heart. He is the glue that keeps everyone together.