Book Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod ‘the Death Shop.’ A million ways to die out there.

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Aria has lived her whole life within the walls of Reverie. She spends most of her time physically seated in the lounge while visiting a variety of virtual Realms via her Smarteye patch. The Realms are, the advertising slogan goes, “Better than Real”. Outside, the world is a largely barren wasteland under a sky of swirling Aether populated by tribes battling for survival.

One of those tribes is the Tides, led by their Blood Lord, Vale. Vale’s younger brother, Peregrine, is gifted with extranormal senses of sight and smell, making him an excellent hunter. His devotion to his nephew, Talon, keeps him from challenging Vale for Blood Lord.

When Talon is kidnapped, Peregrine sets out to get him back. Along the way, he finds Aria, who has been thrown out of Reverie for a crime she didn’t commit. The two form an uneasy partnership that slowly blooms into something more.


From the opening scene, in which Aria hesitantly goes along with a group breaking into a Service Dome, Rossi throws the reader right into her created world. The world-building is beautifully done, revealing necessary information at just the right pace to keep the reader from feeling lost without doing an info-dump. The sheltered (in both senses) society of Reverie and the brutal Outside are drawn with rich detail, while details of what happened to create this world are shared sparingly. The third-person narration alternates perspective between Aria and Peregrine in a natural rhythm, allowing the reader access to important information about each one without requiring Awkward Expository Dialogue.

The romance between Peregrine and Aria develops at a slow burn; there is no Love At First Sight for these two. Instead, these two complex characters bond in the course of a dangerous quest that keeps offering thrilling twists and turns. Rossi balances a strong plot with engaging (if not always likeable) characters with a deft touch.

On shelves January 3, 2012.


Final Word:
Clever sci-fi dystopian romance from a promising new author. Looking forward to the sequel!


e-ARC via NetGalley, provided by the publisher by request


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That Wonderful Time of Year

No, not that one.

It’s Reading Challenge (Planning) Time! I’ll do a wrap-up on my 2011 Challenges sometime later this month, but the time has already come to start planning those 2012 TBR lists.

First up, the challenge that started me down this merry path: The Story Siren‘s Debut Author Challenge!

I had a lot of fun with this one in 2011, and I’m looking forward to finding more great new MG/YA authors in 2012. My preliminary reading list:

    1. The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet (January 3, 2012)
    2. Shadow’s Edge by Maureen Lipinski(January 8, 2012)
    3. May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (January 10, 2012)
    4. The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards (January 17, 2012)
    5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth (February 7, 2012)
    6. Above World by Reese, Jenn (February 14, 2012)
    7. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (February 14, 2012)
    8. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (February 14, 2012)
    9. Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould (March 13, 2012)
    10. Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank (April 10, 2012)
    11. You Can’t Have My Planet, But Take My Brother, Please by James Mihaley (April 10, 2012)
    12. The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash (April 24, 2012)
    13. The Selection by Kiera Cass (April 24, 2012)
    14. The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes (May 15, 2012)
    15. Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy (June 14, 2012)
    16. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin (August 21, 2012)
    17. Touched by Corrine Jackson (December, 2012)
    18. The Marble Queen by Stephanie J. Blake (??, 2012)
    19. The Nightmare Factory by Lucy Jones (??, 2012)

Subject to change, of course.

Next up, the EBook Challenge, hosted this year at Workaday Reads. My poor little Nook has been underused of late, since my focus has been on the deluge of Cybils books. I’m going to shoot for the “DVD” level – 25 e-books. No reading list yet, though.

I’m going to take another crack at the Off the Shelf Challenge, hosted at Bookish Ardour. I was clearly too ambitious last year (or maybe distracted by all those shiny new e-books and debuts), so I’m just committing to the “Tempted” level. Five books. Just 5 of the many unread books on my shelves. I can do that, right?

My working list is really just a repeat of last year’s list. Don’t judge.

  1. Crossword Obsession: The History And Lore of the World’s Most Popular Pastime by Coral Amende
  2. Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity edited by Anna Camilleri and Chloë T. Brushwood Rose
  3. Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale by Catherine Orenstein
  4. Wild Heart: A Life: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris by Suzanne Rodriguez
  5. We Look Like the Enemy: The Hidden Story of Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands by Rachel Shabi

I couldn’t help but add one more this year, but it overlaps quite a bit with some of the other challenges. It’s the YA/MG Fantasy Reading Challenge, hosted at The Book Cellar.

My working list so far:

  1. Above World by Jenn Reese
  2. The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards
  3. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
  4. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
  5. Shadow’s Edge by Maureen Lipinski
  6. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
  7. Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
  8. Touchedby Corrine Jackson
  9. The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
  10. Winterling (Winterling, #1) by Sarah Prineas

I’m thinking that quite a few of the titles will cross over into the e-book challenge. I can hardly wait!

But, for now, Cybils nominees are calling my name….