Book Review Wednesday: Under the Never Sky (4 stars)

Posted: June 4, 2014 in Book Reviews
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This one’s very popular right now. Over 50k ratings on goodreads with an average rating of over four stars. Plus it’s a dystopia. I dabble in other genres, but I think dystopia is my favorite. And look at the blurb:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive. If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

My favorite thing about this book is the world the author built. You’ve got the folks in the Reverie who are scared of all things outside and nature. They plug themselves into virtual worlds and basically just play all day, flitting from whatever they want to do next. Reality seems kind of boring when you can experience anything you like without leaving your room.

Then you’ve got the outsiders, who live in tribes, hunt and kill. Plus some of them have these neat powers. Yes, a dystopian world with superpowers. Love those. So two of these people clash, and they hate each other. It’s awesome. Definitely no love at first sight here. Don’t know what you’re mileage is, but I prefer the added conflict as long as they don’t get all whiny about it. And while Aria’s character is a bit whiny at first, the conflict between them is good and realistic. It’s not just ‘I hate this guy because I’m brought up to hate him, but secretly find him attractive.’ They hate each other’s guts, and hate that they need each other even more.

So that’s the good. And it is good. Great world building, interesting characters (even the minor ones), cool conflict. Plus, did you catch the questions raised about today’s society? There are some interesting ideas raised about the world of today where everyone is plugged into technology, and the world before that (in this book portrayed to the extremes of hunter gatherer / early agriculture times). It gives some interesting ideas about how our brains might be affected (which don’t seem to be completely scientifically accurate, but are definitely interesting).

Now for the bad. The relationship between the two characters started well (as in hating each others guts), and ended well. They actually had a friendship instead of just sexual attraction like some other books. But the bit between ‘I hate you,’ and ‘I’d die for you,’ came on too fast. There was some development, but not enough in my opinion, so it felt a bit weird. Still, it was pretty awesome when they became an epic fighting team.

Character development was great. Aria’s development was great to watch as she went from scared little girl to kickass warrior. There were some moments that felt ooc near the end. A couple moments felt like the author needed them to do something, but the characters didn’t want to. I found myself raising my eyebrow at the details of what the technology had done to their brains. It felt quite forced and overly convenient. If you know anything about brain structure, there’s some suspension of belief needed, but the general idea of technology changing brains was interesting.

Overall I’d give this four stars. Very nice idea, excellent world building, many interesting characters, great character development. If you like dystopians I’d say give it a go. For more reviews on this book follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11594257-under-the-never-sky

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