Veronica Rossi Is Champ

Veronica Rossi (not to be confused with Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series) wrote the Under the Never Sky trilogy. It was like “Feed” by M.T. Anderson collides with “Eve” by Anna Carey. Advanced civilization bumps into the wild. Future technology gets a reality check and meets the harsh outside world.

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Disclaimer: This post is going to be a little all over the place because I finished this series a few books ago. That’s like a decade in book time.

I think of this book as biting into a taco. (Oh, and a fish taco because the Tiders are known for their fishing!) These characters are set up into their nice taco shells all happy and oblivious and the minute I bite in their worlds are crumbling. Completely shattered. Mess everywhere. It’s a whole physical and emotional ordeal. Aria gets blisters and a dead mother; Peregrine gets beat up and a kidnapped nephew. Well, there’s more to it than just that, what with Aria getting exiled and poisoned, and Peregrine killing his brother and finding out his sister died a tragic death. These two don’t really have the best of luck.

This series was the epitome of: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Hey, you’re traveling with a naive Dweller-girl who hates your guts, why don’t I stick in some cannibals to give you trouble? Oh, wait, you killed the leader cannibal? Better have the cannibals come after you. Well, at least you can hide out in a fortress that contains technology to find your nephew. Hmm…that’s awkward. Your nephew doesn’t want to leave and his father is in on his kidnapping.

Poor characters. I feel so bad for them, but it makes their story that much more fun to read. By the way, Veronica, why do you have to make Roar so sad?! I never took a liking to Liv, but Roar is awesome–his name is Roar for goodness’ sake!–and then he isn’t the same happy-go-lucky Roar because you broke his heart. I do love Roar. (Reminds me a little bit of Kenji from “Shatter Me,” and I LOVE Kenji.) Speaking of screwing people over: Cinder. So unfair.

Too much sadness. Shifting over to good things. How cool is the heightened senses ability of the Outsiders? Seers, Scires, Auds. Perry is a Scire, and that’s my favorite because his descriptions are the best, especially when he senses tempers. The best moment when he used his Scire ability, and the best part of the first book in general for me:

She stood, moving slow and defeated. “I’m dying. I’m bleeding.”
Perry’s gaze traveled down her body.
“It’s not my feet.”
“Did you eat any of those berries?”
“No. She held out her hand. “You might as well have this. Maybe it’ll still help you find the boy you’re looking for.”
Perry closed his eyes and inhaled. Her scent had changed. The rancy Dweller musk was almost gone. Her skin breathed a new scent into the air, faint but unmistakable. For the first time since he’d known her, her flesh smelled like something he recognized, feminine and sweet.
He smelled violets.
He took a step back, swearing silently as it hit him. “You’re not dying… You really don’t know?”
“I don’t know anything anymore.”
Perry looked down at the ground and drew another breath, no doubt in his mind.
“Aria… it’s your first blood.”

That’s just great. It feels so much more realistic mentioning that she gets her period. Back in the Realms, those don’t exist, so naturally she had no clue what was going on. I’m sure if no one had educated me about the topic, I would’ve thought I was dying, too. If you’re a young girl/woman with periods, they aren’t just going to stop, even if the world is falling apart around you.
And one last mention about this: “‘The cloths are clean. Boiled.’ A fleeting smile crossed his lips, though his eyes remained downcast. ‘They’re for… whatever you want to do with them.” Like using them for your period? YES! I mean, seriously, she can’t just walk around trailing blood everywhere.

A word about words. Practically everyone has a cool name. Main characters are Exhibit A: Aria and Peregrine. Exhibit B: Talon, Roar, Vale, Marron, Jupiter, Soren, Bane, Echo, Paisley, Cinder, Lumina. Need I go on? I love when anyone says Mole/Dweller and Savage/Outsider, and I already mentioned Senses. Rendering is the cutest new term I learned in the series.

The last book was filled with so much adventure and action. By far my favorite in the series. Aria can fight back and she has a Sense and Perry is completely smitten. (Plus whenever Soren speaks it’s great.) And the AHHH I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out moment at the end. Finally something is going right as Perry, Roar, and Soren planned to kill Sable. Roar is being a great distraction and Perry nocks his arrow take Sable out. But no, that would be too easy. Aria has to get in the way! Go ahead, make everyone’s lives more difficult, Veronica. And you made me think Perry died! But you did redeem yourself with bringing Soren’s smart-aleck remark into the picture. Yes, Soren, you saved him. That made me smile.

Even though this book toyed with characters’ lives and was a very messy taco (like this post), it was delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian YA!

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