Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes (384 pages)
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I had been wanting to read this book for some time. I had heard excellent things about it, and although I am a bit burnt out on YA dystopian books, I thought it was worth giving this a shot. This was a decent post-apocalyptic/dystopia young adult story…it’s better than a lot of the ones out there, but not my favorite either.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. The narrator did an excellent job of capturing emotion and differentiating between different character voices.
Aria is exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, and sent out to the Death Shop (the outside) when she gets into an altercation with an important individual inside Reverie. Peregrine (Perry) is out hunting when he stumbles upon Aria. Perry is an Outsider, a Savage. Perry has been forced to leave his tribe because him and his brother are butting heads for rulership of the tribe. Perry and Aria strike a deal. Perry wants Aria to help him retrieve his nephew from Reverie, while Aria needs to get her Smart Eye back to Reverie in order to prove her innocence, they will help each other out until they each get what they want.
Aria and Perry travel through a wasted land where Ether storms ravage the landscape and make the Outside a very dangerous place to live. Each of them is trying to abide the other’s company and struggling towards their goals.
The story is told both from Aria and Perry’s perspectives. It’s a pretty typical post-apocalyptic/dystopia type of story. Aria and Perry both have assumptions about the others’ world and of course these assumptions are not quite right.
I liked Aria and Perry as characters. Aria is obviously in a bit of shock when she is sent Outside, but she adapts well and is funny and witty. She is flexible enough to consider that what she learned in Reverie might not be the truth and tough enough to take the knowledge and make her own conclusions.
Perry I didn’t like quite as much. He is just sooo intense and sooo moody. If I were Aria I would have smacked him a number of times and told him to lighten up.
The chemistry between the two is okay. I felt like there was a bit of insta-love going in here. Perry was just drawn to Aria’s beauty right away and wants to protect her. He does back-off and they do take the time to get to know each other before getting too involved. So it wasn’t as bad as a lot of other young adult books out there.
My favorite character by far was Roar, he was funny, honest, and helpful. He added a lot of fun to the story and was an excellent character to read about.
There were a couple things I did enjoy about this world. I liked the idea of the Outsiders developing super hero like powers with one of their five senses. Perry can see in the dark and read people’s Tempers (emotions). There are other characters that have super hearing or can see super far away. The idea of humans adapting their sense to survive in a new world is interesting.
I thought the idea of a landscape covered in Ether Storms was an interesting one too and wished this had been explained better. There is also a rumor of a place where the sky is still blue. This is a hope that kind of hovers in the background of the story. There is also the idea of Rendering which is something Perry has done with his nephew. Perry has Rendered to Talon and as such is attuned to everything Talon feels or does. It makes a person super-sensitive to what another person needs.
The world building is a bit weak. Why there are Ether Storms is never well explained. The world outside of Perry and Aria’s small area is never well explained either. I am hoping this is expanded upon in future books.
Overall this was a decent dystopian story. It was better than many YA dystopian novels out there but not my favorite. At this point I am unsure if I will read the next one or not. This book just has a lot of the same underlying themes that a lot of these books have. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad post-apocalyptic/dystopia series…I just wasn’t really dying to know what would happen next when I got to the end of it.