Wednesday 13 November 2013
Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under The Never Sky #1)
I know this book has had rather mixed reviews. And yeah, I get it. The whole aether thing, which is some kind of super storm cell that haunts the lives of everyone on earth, is unexplained, very science-fictiony, (although the dystopian element is certainly there too), and a little hard to grasp at first, at how things got to be the way they are. Which is how people got to be so lazy, at least, where Aria lives in Reverie anyway. They spend their days cooped up in a cocoon of a city where they live out their lives through virtual worlds. That is, until Aria gets her butt ejected into the wasteland where she has to learn to do things for real.
Anyway, she meets a guy, Peregrine (sexy name I think, boo to those who ragged on it), who rescues her a few times, takes care of her and protects her in a 'I-hate-you-but-like-you-and-I'll-pretend-to-hate-you' moody kind of way. And here's where the feminazi's got all cranky, because our damsel in distress had to be rescued. But who are we kidding here? Perry's hot! Wouldn't you like to be rescued by a confident, sure-of-himself yet also sensitive and caring, completely attentive, super-sexy and masculine guy? I know you secretly daydream about it *wink wink*. So yes, Aria is not all typically kick-ass, I mean, come on, she basically grew up in a shell where her idea of exercise is to go for a walk in a fake, virtual park, so how kick-ass could you expect her to be? I think her character fit the life she had. But don't get me wrong, she is tough. For example, she is thrown out on her ass into a wild, storm-ravaged land and although she is scared out of her mind, she pushes herself to survive. And yeah, Perry helps her most of the way, but she is faced with some nasty situations and you know what, she doesn't complain, she soldiers on and earns my respect. I seriously grew to like her. She's cute, she's trusting (a little too trusting, but it's cute), warm-hearted, kind, optimistic, tough, selfless and brave, and she grows.
Perry. Oh my. Look, I don't know if you noticed this by now, but I LOVE the strong, masculine love-interests. If there's going to be a male heroine, then he's got to be all man otherwise I lose interest in the love story. From the get go, when Perry and Aria meet, my interest is sparked because the chemistry between these two is undeniable. Granted, at first they don't really hit it off, it's almost hostile. But that's what makes it all so interesting. The initial attraction is there, there's a fire that crackles and pops where you're dying to just see them kiss already, but then you get to see how they grow on each other in terms of friendship, respect, and appreciation. Perry is all man. He's young, but he has had to grow up quickly, and he has all the leadership qualities that earns the respect of those who give him a chance to prove himself. Earning respect and leadership is important to him (you will know what I mean when you read the book), and due to certain obstacles he has to work hard for it, so he has his own struggles he has to deal with. He feels like he has to prove himself worthy, and I like that we get to read what he is going through from his perspective also (in third person). What I also like about him, and how Rossi has depicted their story, is how it reflects on modern relationships because although Perry is attracted to Aria, he doesn't fall in love with her straight off the bat and become her puppy dog who promises to give her the world and everything in it. This is gradual, and even then, he has his reservations, along with Aria having some of her own because they both remain independent and don't stray too much from their individual goals. I think it's safe to say that the relationship between Perry and Aria is my favorite of all the YA novels I have read. Mainly because I like the way they complement each other, Perry is a dominant character, and Aria complements him perfectly, and vice versa. She is exactly what he needs, and if you could ever see a guy like him ever actually fall in love and settle down, Aria would be the one to make that happen just by being her engagingly pleasant self. I absolutely adore these two.
Now, for secondary characters. There's Talon, and there's Roar, along with Perry's brother and some of Aria's friends. There are also other characters they encounter that help them and are important to the story, but I'd say Roar, Perry's best-friend is a main one. He is AWESOME. Perry loves him, and the brotherly bond between them is perfect. Roar also becomes close to Aria, which I loved reading about because he's not only a joker, but he's also completely warm-hearted, genuine and kind. And he has his own sweet story that will make your heart melt. At first, I thought he would become a rival to Perry, but I'm so glad Rossi didn't create a love triangle out of this because the friendship each of them share with Roar gives the book a really warm feeling that is needed because the stuff that's happening in their world is kind of terrifying. Each of them need him in their own way, and he needs them too. The support they provide each other makes all the terrifying stuff worth going through because they are together.
World-building. It was not overly done. But it was enough to get the feel right. I love the world Rossi has created. I love the way she describes the aether and how horrific its aftermath can be. I can imagine what it would be like clearly, and I think her imagination is something to marvel at. It's kind of beautiful in its monstrosity. The landscapes Rossi describes are beautiful, and I loved the contrast between the world the outsiders live in and where Aria comes from. It's like a futuristic sci-fi city in an almost medieval country. It's so clever!
I couldn't put this down. I read it in two nights (forced myself to stop midway the first night when I started to hear the birds chirping outside my window). I think it's my favorite series. Mainly because of Aria and Perry, not because of the plot, which is quite bland in comparison to other dystopians out there at the moment. But I don't care, because reading about Perry and Aria made all the difference for me. I guess if Rossi's main characters weren't so great then this review would have swayed in a very different direction.