The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

March 14, 2014

Book review: Under the Never Sky a clever sci-fi

NORMAN — Book: Under the Never Sky (2012, HarperCollins)

Author: Veronica Rossi

Why you should read: “Under the Never Sky” is a clever young adult novel built around a distopian future akin to “The Hunger Games” or the “Divergent” series.

The plot revolves primarily around Aria, who has grown up in a futuristic and enclosed society. The outside world is filled with “Savages” and contains “a million ways to die” for those foolish enough to explore it. Inside the man-made pods everyone has a visor-type technology that allows them to connect to virtual worlds with endless possibilities, ala “The Matrix,” which further removes them from reality.

Aria is exiled from her home after an accident occurs while she’s trying to find out about her mother, a scientist working in a different pod. Death seems certain after exile until she meets a Savage named Perry. Normally she would never associate with the type, nor he with her, but now he is her only means of survival. She clings to him as she continues to discover the fate of her mother.

An interesting plot to be sure, and is probably why it has achieved best-seller status. The symbolism is obvious and heavy handed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. For example, Aria’s name — she’s a singer. And the small character Echo repeats everything his brother says.

Still, though the style and dialogue are simplistic — which will attract some and distract others — fans of futuristic and distopian sci-fi will probably find a home here. If you like it, you have two other books to look forward to, and some fans are already looking forward to the announced movie.

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