Saturday, January 7, 2012
Under the Never Sky
YA; Dystopian; Science-Fiction
Source: Won a copy through goodreads.
I was so excited to win this book because I love winning and I'm always eager to give YA debut authors a chance. I wasn't entirely sure I'd love this due to my general dissatisfaction with the genre and the sameness. Happily I was somewhat caught off guard and found the book pretty unique.
There are two main characters who tell the story in alternating third-person perspective, a nice change from first-person. The best part of that choice, to my mind, is that it ups the chances that one of them might die; not that I'm bloodthirsty and desiring death but I never think the main character of a first-person narrative will really die. I'm not going to spoil you by telling you if one of them dies but I can promise some at least some violence in this futuristic world.
Anyway back to the characters. On the one side we have Aria who lives in a Pod, where most people live after the collapse of their society, fearing the outside known as the Death Shop (cheery). But the book opens with her breaking out with companions in order to try to find her mother, who has strangely been incommunicado. After this jaunt turns violent, Aria is expelled and left to die. She is saved through an encounter with Perry, an Outsider, who has little sympathy for Aria. Still they must work together to accomplish their goals: Perry wants to recover his kidnapped nephew and Aria wants to find her mother.
My favorite parts were Perry and Aria learning to trust each other and work together. This created a more plausible romance (definitely no instalove) and there was no love triangle! Instead just a solid foundation of pretty responsible people (for their age and situation)
I was a bit put off by some of the descriptions of Perry scenting Aria. His sense of smell is incredibly powerful and heightened and for whatever reason, I was creeped out. I understand the context of using smell, which is only one of the incredible powers possessed by certain Outsiders but it grossed me out instead of pulling me in.
However while I mostly enjoyed this book, I didn't love it. I felt a bit of dread every time I had to pick it up although I could usually immerse myself back into the story fairly quickly; I was forcing myself to read rather than eager to read. I also would like to know more of the history of the Realms, how exactly we reached this point and how the technology was developed to sustain it.
Overall: An action-packed novel with good characters that just didn't click with me.