Rossi, Veronica. Under the Never Sky.
4Q * 4P * J * S
Rossi, Veronica. Under the Never Sky. HarperCollins, 2012. 400p. $17.99. 978-0062072030.
When Aria, seventeen, a Dweller from the main pod of Reverie--a community formed during the Unity for inhabitants' safety--is expelled and abandoned to the Death Shop, her future appears bleak until rescue comes via Peregrine, a Savage or Outsider. Each has something the other wants; they strike an uneasy truce before journeying across dangerous wastelands on a quest. The story unfolds in a grippingly dystopian future, where heavens roil with the electrical Aether and occasionally rain funnels fire onto the ground; where Outsiders battle daily for survival-those Marked with a dominant Sense have some advantage; and where Dwellers enjoy easy comfort with abundant food and endless entertainment in virtual Realms--accessed with thought through the Smarteye device worn by all inhabitants. "Better than Real," the Realms offer richly vibrant sensory experiences in multi-dimensional virtual worlds, preferable to the Middle Gray of pod life.
Contrasts between the Dwellers' carefully engineered existence and the Outsiders' primitive battles for survival, where even mating is left to chance, illustrate the divergent path each culture took and allow readers to compare these with 21st-century life and contemplate the consequences of present day decisions. The interwoven narratives of both male and female protagonists offer broad appeal; the plot allows for a sequel set in a rumored location with visible skies called the Still Blue. Already selling in more than twenty countries and with film rights optioned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Rossi's first novel has the potential to be a blockbuster. Libraries, stock up to meet circulation demand.--Cynthia Winfield.