Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

(Don’t) Reach For The Sky

Forever Young Adult Presents: A review of Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

(Don’t) Reach For The Sky

BOOK REPORT for Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Cover Story: Accurate
BFF Charm: Eventually (Maybe)
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: He Sci-fied, She Sci-fied
Bonus Factors: Worldbuilding, The Realms, The Aether
Relationship Status: Camping Buddy

Cover Story: Accurate

It's a little too SyFy Channel for my taste, but I gotta give this cover pants for actually corresponding to the book. The model looks like the main character, and she's wearing her clothes from the book (rather than, say, a fancy evening gown). Plus, the rays of light and gnarled branch shizz are actually featured in the novel's environment. So yeah, this entire cover is a truthful reflection of the story inside. CRAZY, I KNOW.

The Deal:

LAWD WHERE TO BEGIN. Ok, so it's the future, and humans have (obviously) effed up the world, so civilization now survives inside of massive domed cities, keeping out the pollution and disease and savage people that exist in the wilderness outside. Aria has spent all of her young life inside one of these domes, but thanks to her Smarteye, a computer contact lens everyone wears in their left eye, she's visited thousands of different worlds and time periods in the virtual Realms. And then, of course, the one time she decides to venture beyond her assigned area (Pod) so she can find information about her missing scientist mother, she gets in major trouble and ends up exiled to the Outside. (And THIS is why I never do anything illegal. Because I have a healthy sense of Goody Goody Paranoia.) Luckily for Aria, she's discovered by Perry, a "savage" who would rather run away from his brother than fight him to the death in order to be leader of their tribe. Normally, Perry would have no use for a weakass white girl, but his nephew, Talon, has just been kidnapped by people from the dome, and he's determined to break in and rescue him. Forced to band together, Aria and Perry slowly, ever so slowly, begin to trust each other, and you now what Paula Abdul says about opposites...

BFF Charm: Eventually (Maybe)

At first, I totally agreed with Perry: Aria was WORTHLESS. She was spoiled and sheltered and lame, and she was too overwhelmed by fear to do anything remotely likable. But along with blisters on her feet, she developed strength and some semblance of personality, and I found myself empathizing with her. I mean, you know, if I was abandoned in the wilderness and a totally ripped dude found me and tried to help me, I would freak out at him too. Oh wait, just kidding, I WOULD DO EVERYTHING HE TOLD ME TO DO. And then I would jump his bones. So yeah, Aria and I don't always see eye to eye... but I'm warming up to her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cliched as it might be, the "We're from different sides of the tracks, so how could we possibly understand each oth- WAIT NOW WE'RE IN LOVE" plot line never ceases to give me the tingles. And this book utilizes it well, slowly building romantic tension out of Perry and Aria's differences. Perry is the epitome of wild, manly man, a veritable Last of the Mohicans, from his animal-like green eyes to his super cut physique. But I had to deduct a point because HE HAS DREADS. And also because I felt that the pacing of the romantic build-up felt a little off. Oh yeah, and I took off another point because once Perry decides that Aria is attractive, he can't stop thinking about her "violet scent." Like, I'm pretty sure that phrase appears at least 15 times in the book, to the point where I wondered if the author was planning to launch a perfume tie-in. P.S. I WOULD TOTES WEAR JELLICOE ROAD PERFUME.

Talky Talk: He Sci-fied, She Sci-fied

The chapters alternate in third person between Aria and Perry's point of view, and I enjoyed getting both of their perspectives, especially as their relationship approached romantic territory. The pacing felt a little clunky at times, and none of the situations, dire as they were, felt intense enough to completely draw me in. Part of that might be due to all of the sci-fi/fantasy jargon. I mean, I love worldbuilding as much as the next gal, but if a paragraph contains more than two made-up words, it tends to pull me outside of the story instead of in. Don't get me wrong, this isn't written in Klingon, but I personally felt like Rossi spent too much time on lingo and not enough time on pacing and character development.

Bonus Factor: Worldbuilding

Even though I OD'ed on all of the terminology, I really did relish the worlds that Rossi created. From the genetic engineering and virtual fakery of the dome cities to the brutal tribes that clashed with each other amidst the formerly-known-as-Earth wasteland, the book provided a wonderful feast for the imagination.

Bonus Factor: The Realms

The Realms are basically like the holodeck on Star Trek, which means you can travel to all sorts of incredible places and different time periods without leaving the comfort of yr chair. This reminds me, WHERE IS MY HOLODECK?

Bonus Factor: The Aether

Since the planet's environment is totally destroyed, the sky is constantly full of swirling electricity known as the Aether. It's beautiful but incredibly dangerous, because this lightning doesn't strike twice... it strikes a bajillionce. THAT IS RAD.

Casting Call:

Lily Collins as Aria

Aria is a brunette genetically engineered to be beautiful, and I've always had the same suspicion about Lily Collins:

Taylor Kitsch as Perry

Totally muscular? Intensely fierce? Carnally hot? I don't care that he's too old to play Perry, Taylor Kitsch FITS THE BILL.

Relationship Status: Camping Buddy

This book and I aren't close, but if I ever decide to go camping (and I mean real camping, not my usual Troop Beverly Hills style), I'm taking this book with me! It's tough and strong and knows how to survive (all qualities I lack), and when we gather around the campfire to drink beer and make s'mores, I have no doubt that it will keep me entertained for hours with its vivid, inventive stories. I won't be inviting it into my sleeping bag afterwards, but I'll definitely appreciate its company, especially when it distracts me from my mosquito bite by telling me the story about "Perry's ripped guns" for the fourth time in a row.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received an ARC copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit!). Under The Never Sky is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).