|Title: Under The Never Sky||
|Author: Veronica Rossi|
|Series: Book 1 of the Under The Never Sky series|
UNDER THE NEVER SKY was one of the books being heartily recommended on Twitter a while ago, and I picked it up on a whim. In full disclosure, romance in post-apocalyptic times has never been one of my favourite themes, and the whole love across two different worlds is terribly overdone.
DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.
UTNS is told from the point of views of our two protagonists, Aria and Perry, who live in two vastly different worlds. Aria lives with the best of technology, coddled in Reverie, whereas Perry lives in the harsh outback, where living is barely more than existing. Most of the setting is on the outside, where readers get to experience the harsh heat along with the dangers of the Aether, which looms over our characters during the journey.
Despite their very different upbringings, Perry and Aria sound alike half the time. This is partly because their speech pattern and underlying thoughts seem to be in line most of the time. There's some slang and mentions of accents, but other than that, it's hard to tell that Perry and Aria do not come from the same place. This happens for the other characters too, who serve their purposes and then disappear after doing so. I wouldn't mind mostly, except that I kept forgetting who they are, and flipped through the previous pages to remember.
The outside world where Perry lived crackled under Rossi's descriptions. The Aether is a constant reminder, which works well to heighten the danger of the terrain, but unfortunately it has more presence than our two main protagonists. There are some sub-plots and mysteries which were sadly underused, and I wished had more focus given to them rather than being skimmed over and replaced by the romance, which bogs down the story.
This is a romance in post-apocalyptic times, but there's not much chemistry between the characters. I don't care about Perry and Aria enough despite their personal struggles, and find the romantic actions they go through (e.g. flying into one another's arms, not an actual quote from the novel) wooden, and at times slightly cringeworthy. It feels like they're going through the motions rather than actual feeling and falling in love. Separately, they have some struggles and personal development that I loved reading about. I wished more time could have been spent on that rather than the romance, but I suppose it'll be elaborated more in the sequels.
While the world that Rossi created was intriguing, and the setting was one I appreciated, given its unforgiving nature, the forced chemistry between the characters was not enough to sell me on the romance that is the main focus of UTNS.