Genre: Young-Adult, Science-Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Series: Under the Never Sky #1 (Trilogy)
Release Date: December 1, 2011
Under the Never Sky is a novel set in a dystopian world which is divided into the inside and the outside. After a series of Aether storms made the outside world unfit fit survival, a large part of the population went to live in domes carved into, and under, mountains, while the other part braved the outside world. Why those people didn’t go into domes as well, we don’t know. The people inside have since had a lot of technological advancement and spend most of their time in highly realistic virtual worlds. The people on the outside have regressed to move primitive times.
The protagonist, Aria, is from a dome and has never been outside. But due to a complicated situation, she’s kicked out and now has to find her mother, who she hasn’t heard from in weeks, to know what happened to her and to get her life back. She makes a deal with an outsider, Peregrine, who is looking for someone himself.
And they both team up in a very convenient way. Convenient because the situations that led to the team up felt very planned and exaggerated. The “evil government” was evil for no reason than to be evil. It was almost like a parody at first; like the author had an idea as to what she wanted to happen so she made it happen. Thankfully, near the end, a lot of the events that happened in the beginning were given valid enough reasons. They really saved the book.
And the characters did. I liked both Perry and Aria. At first, Aria came off as whiny and incompetent, but that could be chalked up to the fact that the life she lived didn’t actually require her to do anything. She really grew as a character as the book progressed and I started to like her. Perry, too, didn’t have the best first impression but, by the end, I really cared about him.
The story was interesting. I liked the world that the author created, even if she didn’t elaborate much on things. The tech, to me, seemed too advanced. Like something out of a comic book or cartoon. And the Aether wasn’t explained at all; we have no idea where it even came from. It’s in the sky and to me, it looks like an Obscurus (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) but one that attacks like a lightning storm.
The pace of the novel was really good, even when they were travelling. The writing was okay in the beginning and only got better. I got more and more invested in the story and, despite the rocky start I had, ended up liking it. It felt too planned at times but that got better toward the end as well. It’s a book worth checking out and I’m curious to see what will happen next in the series.