Under the Never Sky
2012, 376 pgs
Book Summary from Goodreads
WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.
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.
Under the dome of Reverie, most of life experiences take place in the Relms – a virtual reality. They live under the dome because of the Aether – which is never explained. Aria’s mother is a scientist, living in a different Dome then Aria. After a week of no communication with her mother, Aria does something that results in her being dropped into the outer wasteland where she believes she will die due to the Aether – again very minimal explanation.
In the Outer wasteland people live in tribes. Some of them also have super senses – hearing (Aud), sight (Seer), or smell (Scire). They allude that these heightened senses are from selective breeding before the Aethers and that the Aethers accelerated the anomalies, but it’s never fully explained either.
When Aria is dropped in the outer wasteland she meets Perry. They dislike each other on site, Aria because Perry is a “savage” and Perry because Aria is a “dweller”, but need each other to get what they both want. Aria wants to get back into the Dome and Perry wants to get his nephew, who was kidnapped, out.
I was really frustrated by this book the first third or so because so much of the world building was really vague. What is the Aether, what caused the Aether, what exactly does the Aether do…. So much is unexplained that I found annoying.
But there are so many elements of the book I enjoyed. I liked Aria and Perry. Aria handles her change in circumstances with an appropriate level of fear, but she has the courage to forge on. Perry is tough, protective of those around him, but has a level of sensitivity that I appreciated. I liked that Perry and Aria’s relationship wasn’t YA instalove. Even once they got over their mutual dislike they didn’t immediate jump into togetherness – the relationship grew.
I also really liked the element of some of the Outsiders having enhanced senses – I just wish it had been more fully explained.
Overall when I finished this book my frustration with the lack of explanation was my main focus. It’s been about 3 weeks now since I finished it and I’m appreciating it more in hindsight – thinking about the parts of the story I do know and how much I liked Aria and Perry. I will definitely continue reading this series.
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