Under the Never Sky
1st in Trilogy
HarperCollins/January 3, 2012
EXILED from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland--known as The Death Shop--are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild--a savage--and her only hope of staying alive.
A HUNTER for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile--everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must learn to accept one another to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
Ah, I just can't seem to get enough of these young adult dystopian novels. In Ms. Rossi's world there are really two worlds comprised of the Dwellers and the Savages. The Dwellers live in Pods, sealed in from the Aether storms that ravage the world outside. The Savages live in tribes, surviving as best they can in the harsh environment.
Aria is meant to die and she would have without the help of an Outsider. She knows her best chance of getting to her mother is teaming up with the quiet Savage named Perry. But she doesn't have to like it. Right off, there's a feeling that Aria is different from the typical Dweller even if we see very little of the Dwellers after Aria is exiled. She has preconceived ideas about the Outsiders and their world which she allows to color her judgement of Perry.
Perry is desperate to get into Reverie and he's willing to do whatever it takes even if that means traveling with the Dweller Aria. At first she is a burden to him but he needs her help. He agrees to help her if she will help him once they get inside Reverie. It's an uneasy alliance they form for Perry thinks little of the girl who has had what he perceives as an easy life inside the Pods.
As Aria and Perry make their way across the bleak and dangerous landscape, they begin to learn more about each other and how their suspicions were not all based on fact. I liked seeing each character evolve into more than what they were. Aria learns of strengths she never dreamed she had and Perry learns to value himself.
It's easy to become absorbed in the world with it's menacing overtones, never knowing where the next threat will come from. While I found the journey Aria and Perry take compelling, I didn't get a feeling of completeness to the world itself. It needed more details on how the two separate worlds came to be.
Aria and Perry do have a romance but it stays secondary to their ultimate goals. They do become friends/allies before they take that final step to become romantically involved but I couldn't help but feel the romance was heavily influenced by their constant proximity and life and death situations. Along with them are secondary character who offer support and guidance but the focus stays on Aria and Perry and their relationship.
The story is told in alternating chapter POV between Aria and Perry. This seems to be the most common for young adult fiction. I enjoyed Ms. Rossi writing style - it follows well with a descriptiveness that can at times captivate. The ending is left with some questions answered but the future still remains open in this first book of the trilogy. I know I'll want to read about Aria and Perry and their continuing story.