Friday, January 6, 2012

Dark Days Tour: Review of Under the Never Sky

I'm absolutely thrilled today to be a part of HarperTeen's Dark Days of Supernatural Tour which kicked off earlier in the week and will be continuing through April. There are some AMAZING authors touring with this event and I've got all the details for you at the bottom of this post. I'm on leg one of this tour along with Melina of Reading Vacation and Jen of I Read Banned Books and today I'm bringing you my review of Under The Never Sky!

Veronica Rossi
Paranormal Young Adult/Dystopian
400 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

A beautiful debut, Under the Never Sky is one of those stories that sneaks up on us and takes us a bit by surprise in terms of our reaction to it, the strength of our attachment to the world and characters something that is built slowly and carefully with the resulting bond all the stronger for it. Our emotions are never pushed or tested in an obvious way where a visceral reaction is demanded from us immediately, instead everything starts out tenuous and fragile before being reinforced page after page with strands of corded rope built of the quietly evolving relationship between Aria and Perry until finally it turns into an unbreakable connection. The beginning of Aria and Perry’s journey is a bit tedious though as the world and its problems are so new to us, and so we start out fumbling through the dark with a plug in our hands trying to find an outlet in the blackness, but once Aria and Perry find their way to one another for the second time it’s as though we’ve finally found what we’re looking for and everything is awash in a light we simply cannot tear our eyes from.

Aria is a truly stunning heroine, a girl who is not overly strong or self-sufficient but neither is she completely vulnerable and in need of protection, rather she is an intriguing combination of the gray areas existing between those two extremes. She starts out a bit left of center, hovering closer to the weaker end of the emotional and physical scale when she’s cast out of Reverie and left in a world that can kill her in more ways than she can fathom, but even with her lack of knowledge when it comes to survival tactics she refuses to fall apart and rely solely on Perry for assistance. She is a master at adapting; at first learning the physical ins and outs of a world she’s only encountered previously in virtual form in the Realms, and then finding herself navigating the far more difficult and rewarding experience of true human interaction as her feelings for Perry become more complex.

Her relationship with Perry is exquisitely executed, antagonistic and reluctant allies growing into something rich and sumptuous before our eyes as angry tension eases into a weighted hesitancy and then into fervent desire. At no point do either of these two resort to angst, petty jealousies, or ridiculous mooning over the other, instead their time together is defined by a quiet effervescent joy that seems waft from the pages to settle on our skin, leaving behind a tingling sensation wherever it lands. Joy is so very often accompanied by pain though, and as much as we revel in their happiness it's clear to us once we learn some of the specifics about Perry that their attraction to one another, no matter how deep it grows and could continue to grow, may not be enough to bridge the gap between Marked Outsider and outcast Dweller. It is then with heavy hearts we continue reading, hoping for a revelation that will magically solve their problems but knowing Ms. Rossi would never rob us of the blissful agony of Perry and Aria’s full story of love and loss by granting us all such an easy way out.

One small but particularly interesting aspect of this story is the characters’ names, each one clearly thought out in detail when assigned to each individual; a little added touch that makes the reading of this tale all the more special. Aria, named for her mother’s love of opera and for the radiance of her own striking voice; Peregrine, named for the falcon he seems to emulate with his unmatched hunting skills; Roar with his exceptional hearing who never needs anyone to raise their voices above a mere whisper, and then young Cinder, who wields the fiery destructive power of the aether and leaves nothing but ash in his wake. Their names all seem to suit them so perfectly but not in an overt way, augmenting our ability to understand them on a more profound level without physically spelling out all their defining personality traits. This way we are able to fill in the blanks about them ourselves, thereby creating our own unique relationship to each of them that has us realizing book two will never release fast enough to suit our desire for more.

Rating: 4.5/5


This tour is going to be an absolute blast, so in addition to following the blog tour (see below schedule), you'll also want to stay connected to all things Dark Days on the Pitch Dark Facebook page, including exclusive content features every Wednesday! You can also get tons of information, including a schedule, excerpts and fun quizzes and polls, on the Dark Days Central page.


January 4th and 9th - Melina of Reading Vacation will be posting on Tahereh Mafi
January 5th and 10th - Jen of I Read Banned Books will be posting on Ellen Schreiber
January 6th and 11th - I will be posting on Veronica Rossi


Jan 4th - Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky
Jan 17th - Ellen Schreiber, Magic of the Moonlight
Jan 25th - Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Feb 1st - Cynitha Hand, Hallowed
Feb 8th - Jodi Meadows, Incarnate
Feb 22nd - Courtney Allison Moulton, Wings of the Wicked
Feb 29th - Brodi Ashton, Everneath

March14th - Lauren Oliver, Pandemonium
March 21st - Claudia Gray, Balthazar
March 28th - Alex Flinn, Bewitching

April 4th - Jill Hathaway, Slide
April 11th - Kimberly Derting, The Last Echo


  1. I really really loved Under the Never Sky. In the beginning - I won't lie - I was a little bit confused, but that quickly resolved and once it did, I was completely immersed in a story that I DID NOT WANT TO END.

    This is one of my favorite types of books - one that bends genre rules, mashing up different types. There is beautiful imagery and it is a book that you read with all of your senses. I completely lost track of my own place in the real world and was inside of this story, and that is the best way to be when reading, no?

    Bottom line: this is one of best books I've read in a long time. I truly, truly enjoyed it. So much.

    Excellent thoughts. I LOVED reading them!!

  2. Great review and thought many of those same thoughts too. Loved the names too.

    I actually couldn't sleep so I went down and read this book. It was beautiful :)

  3. Every review Ive read so far on this one says its AWESOME!! Im bursting with fruit flavor to read this one.....:D

  4. I was waiting to read your thoughts on this one, Jenny. I read some not so stellar reviews of this one but they didn't point out the reviewer's difficulty with the book. I plan to read this one very shortly and now that I know it's a bit confusing at first, I can read this one more assuredly. Thanks!

  5. Asheley - I couldn't agree more! I was as little out of sorts in the beginning as well, and then BAM, got sucked in and had no desire to leave:) Definitely one I read with all my senses and I LOVED it:)

    Julie - It was beautiful, I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. Loved every second of it:)

    Tina - You are hilarious:) I adored it! It starts out a touch slow because you're just tossed in and things are a bit confusing, but once you find your way around it's just amazing IMO.

    Rummanah - This is definitely going to be a hit or miss book I think, kind of like Mara Dyer. The only hiccup I had was at the beginning I felt a little like a lost child, but that changed quickly enough and I loved the rest:)

  6. I love when I see a 4 or above from you - reasonable bet then that it's a for sure good read. This one sounds fascinating - going to pick it up for sure. And another character named Cinder - did I read that right? *skips*

  7. Great review, Jenny! I'm glad this got a high rating from you. I read it a while ago and really enjoyed it myself. I went for 4.5, too. I LOVED the world-building and the characters but there was just that little spark missing which stopped me from giving it 5 stars. Still, it's definitely one of my favorite books and I can't wait to see what the sequel has in store for us. :D

    Sam @ Realm of Ficton

  8. I did like how carefully the characters were named! It was fun when realization hit ("oh! Aria sings! OH!") and I finally understood their significance. I wasn't as bit a fan of Under the Never Sky as you were, but I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Great review, Jenny. :)

  9. I love your description of Aria--it's perfect. When I was writing up my review, I found her almost difficult to describe, save the fact that I LOVED her. Also, I really like the part above where you talk about the names. I hadn't thought too much about it beyond the very obvious, but I do think that Ms. Rossi clearly put a lot of thought into naming her characters.

    Great review!
    ~Jessi @ Reading in the Corner

  10. Linds - I just loved it:) It just had a different feel to it that I really enjoyed - unique and intriguing.

    Sam - I was a huge fan of the world too, I can't wait to see where book 2 goes now that I'm familiar and comfortable with how things work. It took some getting used to for me in the beginning:)

    Lauren - I like when the names clearly mean something, it seems to add a whole extra layer to things. This one definitely won't be for everyone though, sorry it wasn't so much for you!

    Jessi - I loved her too! She just felt real - like she wasn't anything extraordinary but yet she was at the same time. Names are always fun for me when I'm reading, I like to know how they chose them and I like it even more when the names seem to have meaning to the characters!

  11. Excellent Jenny! I loved this line in your review,"we start out fumbling through the dark with a plug in our hands trying to find an outlet in the blackness"
    very nice. I just picked up a copy of this and Cinder now I need to decide which one to read first! I am excited to see what you have planned for your tour spot!

  12. With names and abilities like that, these characters sound like they could be X-men.

    And, of course, you had the romantic in my smiling manically at the description of the love story part. It's wonderful to know that would be irritating plot devices are not used to keep the couple apart. Thanks for making me excited to try this one, Jenny!

  13. Oh, this one sounds like a great read. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

  14. Seriously!!!! I'm starting this one tonight! I know... I should've had it read by now... I'm in trouble!!

  15. I'm hoping to post up my review on Monday (it needs to be written and typed up first) but I loved this one too. Early on, I thought it was okay but by the end, I was like "Give me book 2!" I loved how Aria didn't know much when she was first cast out but she slowly learns how to survive on her own and becomes more confident in herself as a result. It was a slow process and because of that, I found her transformation believable.

  16. Heidi - Thank you! I loved both this and Cinder, you can't really go wrong with either:)

    Missie - I loved the romance in this one, it felt very natural and atypical of a standard YA relationship. It was slow but steady and not a love triangle in sight. WIN.

    Jennifer - Please do, it's more than worth it:)

    Ashley - DO IT! I think you'll love it:)

    Zahida - I was the same way! Once I got sucked in I couldn't put it down but it took me just a little while to get there. I thought Aria's transformation was really believable as well:)

  17. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, but your review locks it in for me. I have to read it now! I like that you mentioned the main character is made up of some gray areas. Sometimes I think YA protagonists tend a little to much towards the extremes (clumsy, kickass, snarky, etc.). It's nice to get a change-up every once in awhile!

  18. I have agree with you that the relationship between Perry and Aria was a real highlight for me. It's never forced, angsty or unrealistic. I detest when couple have an instant connection but Aria and Perry relationship built so naturally it was a great read! :-)

  19. Wow! Great review! When this one first went up on Netgalley I read a bunch on mixed reviews and I was thinking that maybe it wasn't for me, but lately I've been reading such great reviews that I must check it out!

    I've been trying to download that Dark Days sampler for my e-reader and none of the links work (EPub/PDF) for me dammit! I need my Jay fix!

  20. I agree, the names are perfect! And I love how you describe Perry and Aria's relationship. It was a really good book and very creative. My only real problem was that there were some slow parts and the end felt rushed. I mean, I appreciate her getting to the point but some parts of the last bit would have been nice if they were explored a bit more. I am happy it didn't have a horrible cliffhanger though!

  21. Natalie - Oh good! Hope you like it:) And yes, Aria is one of those extraordinary ordinary girls who instead of whining about all she doesn't know or relying on a boy to help her, she takes care of things and figures them out herself. She also doesn't shove Perry away like some girls do in their bid for independence, so I just loved how handled things.

    Mel - Yes, loved them! I dread the instant connection too, and their whole relationship just seemed to progress in a very real way despite their very fantastic circumstances.

    Leanna - I really enjoyed it! It was fresh and different I thought and I'm already looking forward to reading it again:)

  22. All of these books are awesome! I wish that I an meet all of these wonderful authors!!

  23. Oh sweet! This sounds so good. I have to admit I'm not as attracted to the cover as I was the others so I am pleasantly surprised. I am so putting it on the wishlist!

  24. How awesome--lucky you to be a part of such a wonderful tour with so many great books and authors. I just finished Under the Never Sky and really enjoyed it. Some great chemistry and the characters really grew on me. So creative.

  25. The moment I first heard about this book, I knew I had to add it to my TBR pile. Everything about the world building described in the blurb hooks me as a reader, and hearing that the characters are just as strong only reinforces my itching to read this book!


  26. Great review! I am really, really looking forward to starting this, and hopefully soon! :)

  27. I shouldn't have read your review. I haven't written mine and now mine will just suffer in comparison to yours! Jenny can't you ever write a mediocre review!! Everything you wrote was so true! I fell in love with this book. So much for not liking Dystopians. I'll have to change that. I'm beginning to love them. This was a great book to start the new crop of January releases with!

    Off to struggle with my review.

    Heather :)

  28. Great review! This one took me a bit to get into, but then I was hooked :)

  29. OHHHH I definitely can't wait to read this one :) !!! Thanks for the awesome review :) ..Looking forward to read all the posts of this tour :)!

  30. OMG! It's so exciting that you can be part of the DD Tour. I love all the authors soo much and wish I could meet them someday!
    Also a great review! The well thought out names are a really cool fact about Under the Never Sky. I have it on my TBR pile for January. Hope I'll like it as much as you did!

  31. YAAAY!! I just bought this one yesterday and I'm so happy you liked it, Jenny! Your review put it on the top of my TBR pile!! It sounds like such a cool book, and the way you described the romance, the world, and the awesome characters has me so excited to read it! I CAN'T WAIT! :)

    Awesome review as always, Jenny! It makes me smile that you're a part of this awesome tour -- there are so many amazing books in the Dark Days! :) <3

  32. I am always looking for that next big dystopia book and this sure seems to have I just need to find a negative review and make my mind up cos that is how I roll ;)

  33. I'm excited to read this one so I'm so happy you gave it such a good review. If you love it, I'm bound to as well! Gosh, I'm more excited than I was before. How is that possible?

  34. This book sounds so good. I really must get myself a copy soon!

  35. Oh, what a riveting review, Jenny! You caught my attention immediately, and any doubts I had about NOT liking this book cease to exist. I'll be picking this up at the first opportunity!

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  36. I'll have you know that right after I read your review I ran to my Kindle and read my copy of Under The Never Sky. It was quite fabulous and I'm so unbelievably excited for the next book. I really hope she starts off where she left off. I want to see that meet up at the end, don't you??? *sigh* SO GOOD! She's coming to AZ on Saturday for the Dark Days tour, I'm so very excited! Thanks for an awesome review, I was nervous about this book and now I'm so glad I read it. :D *hugs*

  37. I loved how the names seemed to suit each character too! This book really was great.

    Lovely review, Jenny!

  38. Oh I absolutely love your review! I'm so late to it, but wow. I'm so glad you liked it as well! And I agree with so many things you say... Just awesome. *nods*