Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi (#1)

Sometimes crazes of certain books sweep the blogosphere and make everyone hyped up about it. First, the Hunger Games, Matched, Divergent...this one I think can be included.
This is a book I probably would have pondered over if I saw it in the library or a bookshop. This was sent to me by the publisher (THANK YOU SO MUCH BY THE WAY!) and although I looked at it and wondered 'Oh god, I am not going to like this', there was something nagging me at the back of my mind 'Hey Rebecca, read it and see!'
So I did read it and see.

Synopsis: Aria has always lived her life in the protected domes of Reverie - she's never had to do anything herself as she lives her life through the virtual worlds of the Realms through her permanent Smarteye. So when she is forced into the outside world, nicknamed the Death Shop, because of events beyond her control, she knows her chances are slim of ever finding her missing mother.
However, she meets Perry. An Outsider - or Savage - with superb senses whose also searching for someone. Both have skills and knowledge to help one another. If both of them stay alive, both will find their answers.

Review: Hm. This is a book with mixed reactions for me. This COULD be an amazing, perfect, wonderful novel - all those things. And this is a great book, first and foremost. But there are small things that for me, let it down. Firstly, look at this cover. My first thoughts when seeing the front cover in the flesh? It's Bella and Jacob from the hugely successful Twilight series. As a note, this is nothing like Twilight. It just annoyed me, like they were aiming for THOSE girls that were obsessed with Jacob in Twilight (sorry Twilight bitterness with now be put away for a while). I do not like this cover.

Aria meets Perry before she is put outside Reverie in extraordinary situations. Without revealing too much, she basically breaks into a deserted compound with the leader of Reverie's son, her best friend and some other boys 'just for fun' and something happens that means she is saved by Perry. Although the 'events' mean the opening may seem fast-paced and interesting, it is not.

This books took 100 pages for me to actually get into it. The opening was one of the worst I have read and I was on the verge of giving up completely until Aria is put outside and Perry and her meet. In fact, the book only completely had my enjoyment until we meet Roar, Perry's old friend. I know it is universally thought around the blogosphere that the opening is well...not THAT great, and I agreed completely. The opening does let this novel down and without this bad introduction, this book would have probably been higher in many ratings. The opening MAY just not suit my tastes but I just found it slow paced for such an eventful few chapters, Perry annoyed me straight away and I had no idea what Reverie was, what Aria was talking about or even who she was. It took me halfway through the book to realise Luminda is Aria's mother...

However, once the story gets going, it is great, interesting and always keeps you on your toes with the narrative. The issue of the Senses in Perry's world could be incredibly complicated for the reader but Rossi successfully references and talks about these at ease - I understood what they were and what they meant for Perry completely. It was interesting, the contrast between the two worlds. Aria's world reminded me of now with teenagers living life through virtual worlds for something to do. It kind of showed well, this is what we could all be like in 20 years time, perhaps. The world were just so different and although I would have liked some more description of Reverie, I could imagine the difference of the worlds clearly for Aria.

The characters are done amazingly. I admit Perry REALLY annoyed me at the beginning.  Perry in the opening is completely different to the one at the end - he may grow at a character but it was like the beginning one was an older Perry to the one at the end. He seemed more 'teenager-ish' at the end. This may be purposefully but it was SUCH a difference. Aria, I know annoys some people at the beginning, but I liked her determination throughout the book. She also grows as a character, and hardly complains about the situation she is in unlike some other books. I liked how she just got on with it.
For me, the minor characters make this book - Roar, Cinder, Talon. Roar is by far my favourite with his witty comments. Ah, I loved him.
Perry and Aria's don't exactly hit it off straight away. They hate each other in fact but feel they need to stay together. However, the love does come eventually and magically. This seemed relatable and genuine to me. I mean, most people do not fall in love at first sight. They do not start touching each other straight away. So I approved of the eventual growth of their love for each other and how it was written so well.
The closing was very abrupt for me. It just kind of ended. However, this is a series and as it ends SO AMBIGUOUSLY I can see Rossi making way for the rest of the series.

Another thing that really confused me is that the characters in the book go on and on about the Aether. This is like a third force that attacks from the sky. BUT THEY NEVER EXPLAIN WHAT ON EARTH IT IS. It's like I'm expected to know. I have no idea if this is right but from what I can tell, it is like a electric storm that can burn you alive...I have no idea if the lack of knowledge of what this is was done on purpose but...

I know I will read the whole of this series. This book has definitely caught my attention to Veronica Rossi. Despite the annoying complications in this book like the opening and the Aether, this book has some sparkling characters and an ending that HAS to make me want to read the rest of the series. She has created a book where the imperfections are overlooked more by the things that are great about this book: the setting, characters and romance. I, and many others, will be negative but trust me, pick up this book if you have the chance, ignore the opening, make your own judgement. I think you'll get hooked.
Verdict: Very bad at points but overall, this book makes me want more and more.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for review - much appreciated.

Author's Website:
Pages: 375
Publisher: Atom - part of Little, Brown
Challenges: None

The next book in the series, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT will be released in 2013.

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