Released: January 3rd, 2012
Bought from B&N + Signed copy from author!
Summary from Goodreads:
Summary from Goodreads:
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
Since I had read UtNS before I began blogging, I didn’t think it was fair to post a review months after reading it. But after the amazing author herself, Veronica Rossi, sent me a signed copy (!!!!!!!!!!!) of UtNS (because her awesomeness has no bounds and surprises you at every turn!), I decided to reread it and then post a re-review.
Side note: I had only vaguely heard about UtNS before buying it from B&N while on vacation in Florida. It had come up with some recommended purchases on Amazon and some other websites had mentioned this was coming out soon back in November/December 2011. I had read the blurb and loved the cover, but I told myself it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t get around to it until it had been out for a little while. Well, whenever I find myself in a bookstore, that notion goes OUT the window. Surrounded by shiny new books with empty hands becomes a money spending disaster for me. I had initially gone to B&N to purchase Beth Revis’s latest sequel, A Million Suns on the day it released. But what did I find on my way to the display? UNDER THE NEVER SKY in all its amazing cover design and glory. I really don’t have enough willpower to put a book back on the shelf once it’s been picked up, so I stood there, in front of the bookshelf holding numerous copies of UtNS. Staring. Thinking. Wishing. Hoping. All of those things you do when you see something you want and have to really decide if it’s going to happen. Obviously, I picked it up. I wouldn’t be describing all this if I hadn’t. The plastic bag that B&N put my books in (which are always really nice and thick) was clutched tightly to my chest the entire ride back to our cousins house where we were staying. I didn’t let the bag out of my sight, except when eating. NO WAY would food grease have gotten anywhere near my precious new purchases. (Great, now I sound like Gollum..)
I read it in one sitting that first night. It took me from Florida, US to the land of Aether storms and I was very hesitant to come back to reality. I immediately researched everything I could find about this book after I finished the last page… following Ms. Rossi’s blog, finding blogs she contributed to, other blogs that had reviewed UtNS, fan art and reactions, and more. I was immersed in the UtNS world and it didn’t occur to me that I had stayed up all through the night and it was then 7am and I had not gone to sleep yet.
Second side note: I LOVE SLEEPING. So when I say that I pushed sleep away and chose a story over it, that shows a whole lot about my priorities and what I am willing to do for a good story. It’s not the first time I’ve stayed up all night reading. I believe the fifth Harry Potter book kept me up all night, NEEDING to know what would happen on the next page and the next and the next. I was also scared out of my mind for some of the scenes, so sleeping was really out of the question while it was dark outside (My mom was not pleased about me waking her up at 7am, wide awake and raving about the magical world of Harry Potter and where she was hiding my Hogwarts letter).
Third side note: I almost never re-read stories. As James Dashner recently answered my question about this on his blog, “I'm not real big on reading books for a second time. There are so many good ones out there, I don't think I can ever get to them all, so I don't want to do repeats” (He asked for readers to ask him questions, and he chose this one and a few others... link: http://www.jamesdashner.com/). I usually feel the same way. There are a few books that I have re-read a handful of times, (which will not be discussed because they are guilty pleasure reads) but for the most part, if I know the story and how it ends, I can usually enjoy it even without re-reading it. But since this is a special occasion, I feel it will do Ms. Rossi’s generosity justice if I re-read and re-review UtNS.
Now that that’s all out of the way… onto the review!
When I first began UtNS, I was a little confused by her world building. It was something I hadn’t encountered in reading before, and I wanted to know every little detail about this Realms eye-piece and how I would feel if I was a part of Aria’s world. Over the many years that I’ve been reading, I’ve grown accustomed to appreciating stories that jump right into the middle of a characters life, not necessarily starting at the beginning and being completely linear. It gives the story more of an edge, which shows the reader, “this would happen even if it wasn’t written about” (in a weird sense since WHO KNOWS if alternate universes exist, not getting into THAT right now). Reading it this time around, knowing what was going to happen to Aria and the other minor characters during the first few scenes, I picked up on little comments made by certain characters and there wasn’t so much foreshadowing as this anxiety building up in me as a reader. I knew what was going to happen, but for some reason, I was still glued to the page, wanting to see what was going to happen next. Even though it’s only been 3 months since I first read UtNS, it still felt really new to me.
I was beginning to see the events unfolding in Aria’s eyes. When I read stories, I read the character’s point of view from my own point of view. If a character acts in a different way than I would have, I get frustrated and have to put the book down for a little while, while I slowly come back to reality (stranger things have happened while I read… story for another day!). But reading this time, I saw the actions Aria was making and understood through her own interpretation. MINOR (sort of) SPOILER: While a minor character rips the eye-piece from her face so she’ll truly “live and feel” or some other bullcrap that he spouts, the first time I read it, I would have BEEN SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF AND FIGHTING TOOTH IN NAIL against him. I didn’t realize that until the second reading, Aria was still in shock of what was about to come, and what would happen if he did disconnect her eye-piece. END SPOILER. This is one of the things I noticed reading it a second time. I was aware this was going to happen and instead of being shocked and unnerved, just as Aria was feeling, I was able to detach myself a bit and observe in a different way.
My first impression of Aria and Perry’s (Peregrine) relationship was that I loved how Aria and Perry didn’t get along at first. I truly despise when authors match up their characters very quickly in stories. I understand you’ve only got so many pages/scenes for them to grow closer together and realize their feelings and blah blah, but love at first sight? That’s never the case in real life. Typically in movies, but not in the real world! So the fact that Aria and Perry, both from alternate worlds, one inside and protected and the other outside and dangerous, was a real selling point. (Ha, I say, since I have already bought the novel, but selling points are still important!) Yes, Perry was mysterious to Aria, but not to the readers. We saw what he went through in his village with his older brother’s pressure and his nephew’s affection and influence. These aspects of Perry’s life made Aria’s seem so sheltered and showed how Aria, even though she had lived inside of the Realms, essentially experiencing more than Perry had or ever would, he was the one really living. He was dealing with family issues of hierarchy privately and publicly, and to be fair, Aria was dealing with the loss and confusion of her mother and not knowing what happened to her. But it felt more real with Perry because his relationships were old fashioned and in person, whereas Aria mostly met with her mother through Realms.
I also loved the paranormal aspect of the outsiders. Aria and the people living in pods were unaware of just what went on outside of their comfy lives, but it was definitely a welcomed surprise when I first read it. Perry was excellent with tracking and hunting, and his friend Roar, (GREAT NAME) who we met later on and through some minor memories has heightened hearing and intuition. These paranormal abilities aren’t in your face like X-Men powers, they seem plausible while living in a dangerous and supernatural environment, always keeping the Aether storms on your radar, living every day with the dread of getting caught in one. I really enjoyed learning about the character’s extra abilities the second time around. I noticed other things this reading too, such as how the ability a character had said a lot about their journey in the story and what it might say about their journey in the next two stories. I had only been thinking that Perry needed to provide for himself and his nephew so he learned to hone his strength in tracking and hunting. But it felt like much more this time around because I felt his pain when he saw others in need and his drive to set things right was what could have influenced his ability to prosper.
Reading UtNS a second time, I was definitely more upset when the story ended because I ADORE the ending scene, it’s such a feel good moment for the reader and the characters (if you’re a generally nice person and like happy endings). It also opened up the story very easily and elegantly to the sequel(s). There’s still character’s we’ve yet to meet, like Perry’s sister, and Aria’s mother. Hopefully we’ll get to see Roar and Perry’s sister’s relationship evolve into something akin to Aria and Perry’s, (although Perry isn’t very keen on that idea!) and I’m very interested in seeing where Aria and Perry’s travels bring them! We didn’t really get to see too much of the pods Aria once lived in, so it will be exciting to see the different pod that Aria’s mother was working/living in, and to see what went wrong with their sector! Needless to say, I’m waiting very patiently (HA) for the sequel due in 2013. Oh, 2013. Why are you not visiting for such a long timmmeee?
Again, I need to learn how to write shorter and less spoilery(is this a word? In the literary world, it should be) reviews. Adding that to my ridiculously long to-do list. Which is also coincidentaly, my procrastination list? Opps.