Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Set in a futuristic dystopian era, the skeleton of the story, mirroring the Divergent and Hunger Games like life struggle still manages to produces a very different effect by the trail of consequences that aren’t cited explicitly in the book itself.
The characters are strong enough to capture attention, and although the beginning itself is a bit mediocre in the overall sense, the idea of a virtual universe, with vivid imagery will keep your eyes glued to those words. Pushing the boundaries of science fiction, life in Reverie (a pod where Aria, the protagonist, lives), runs as smoothly and effortlessly as the new and interesting element of Aether does in the skies above. Post a massive nuclear blast that has forced all earthlings to regroup into encased high-tech driven glass pods, or perish in unfavorable conditions of Aether storms, which are at once beautiful and deadly, this thriller takes the reader into another dimension. Looking closely, however, the story has been kept rather superficial, simmering down to not much more than an adventure-thriller love story. The gallant efforts and noble missions to save the good and do the right thing with all the clichéd obstacles thrown in do exist, but the fact that the Aria falls for Perry, Blood Lord (basically, leader) of the Tides clan is the main focus. As always, race comes into question, him being an Outsider, having adapted to Aether and the harsh atmosphere by developing night vision and a keen sense of smell, and her being a Dweller, having grown up in the virtual reality and thrown out by a high official due to a misunderstood crime. She does become a survivor later on due to her resilience, which is admirable.
The most alluring aspect of the situations however, are how familiar they are to readers, yet how striking they are. Unfortunately, such unique abilities have not been explored which may leave you disappointed. Another explanation that should have been provided was the intricate system that brought into existence these clans or the pods in the first place. The past is integral to understanding the present of such out-of-the-box stories and here it has been more or less omitted. Another thing most likely to shake your nerves is the manner in which the story has been presented, which at times becomes self-contradictory.
The faults aren’t apparent in most cases but to avid readers, they’ll remain highlighted, making it harder to look at the positive perspectives in the novel. The typical teen love story might be boring to some, but as mentioned before, the characters themselves provide twists to the circumstances. An entire part is of course dedicated to this fledging couple and is swoon worthy for those who believe in that kind of love. Cynics will have a hard time pinning down this give-all-in love but at the same time it isn’t stereotypical prince charming, kisses and roses stuff, so it would be best to rest easy and let the story flow.
Frankly, it is not a story I would recommend to those of intellectual likes. There is not much to ponder which other sci-fi resources or books haven’t stressed upon already, except an occasional word of advice from Marron, the wise man. For those looking for a light, stress-free read, however, I certainly do urge you read this book. It would definitely serve as a great medium for those wanting to escape into such other-worldly realms of imagination, as also for those that love young adult books generally, for this one fits right in.