Imagine a world where the simple act of being outside can be lethal.
The setting = the future. Aether storms have become rampant, lighting up the sky with strange lightening that destroys all in its path.
The Solution = Pods; Dome houses built to be a self-contained way of community. Members of the Pods spread out across the world are known as Dwellers. How do Dwellers keep from going completely insane being sealed inside an indoor habitat? With a Smarteye; a small, flesh-colored, device that fits right over your eye, and places you in the virtual world of your choosing, known as Realms. Go for a stroll along the Thames River in London, meet your friends for gelato outside a café in Italy, go cliff diving off the cliffs of Mohr. And even better…you can feel all sensations while in the Realms, as if they were actually happening.
The downside to this way of living = people weren’t meant to be constrained and as a result, a few quite literally go “stir crazy” and lose their minds, along with all sense of reality. This is where the story begins…a young man (who just so happens to be the Consul’s son) leads Aria (a teenage girl, and a Dweller in the Pod named Reverie) into a restricted area of the Pod and starts a fire, burning the space down, and causing three human lives to be lost.
How does Aria escape death herself? A Savage (a being who lives outside of the Pods) just so happens to be snooping around Reverie, and saves her from the deranged Consul’s son, taking Aria’s Smarteye with him when he leaves. But of course, there are never any consequences for the authoritarian’s children, thus Aria is laden with the blame of the fire.
Aria’s punishment = Exile to The Death Shop (the wastelands outside of the Pods). Aria thinks she is simply being transferred to another Pod to be with her mother, but instead, she is kicked out of the Hover and dropped directly into the borderlands, where the Aether storms run unbridled and have no mercy.
And then there is Peregrine, known by most as Perry. He is a Savage, and the younger brother to the leader of a tribe known as The Tides. Where the Pods are 100% advanced, futuristic technology, The Death Shop is a leap in the opposite direction, resembling the days before such modern conveniences as electricity existed. The outside tribes battle against everything the Aether tries to destroy, hunting and fishing to stockpile goods for harsh winters.
On a hunting trip gone bad, a Dweller Hover appears by the shore and snatches up Perry’s young nephew Talon, and trying (but failing) to retrieve the pilfered Smarteye from Perry. Perry is racked with guilt over his nephew’s kidnapping (not the first kid to go missing among The Tides), and flees his tribe and compound out of shame, determined to rescue Talon.
Told in alternating points of view, Perry and Aria, two refugees, collide during an Aether storm and band together out of necessity—Aria has no knowledge of life outside the Pods and is desperate to find her mother, and Perry needs to get the Smarteye repaired so that Aria can use it to locate his stolen nephew.
On their expedition through the wastelands, Perry begins to learn that his hasty judgment in labeling Dwellers as inept may not apply to all. Aria repeatedly proves herself, determined to make it through The Death Shop and fix her Smarteye to help locate Talon in exchange for an escort to her mother’s Pod. Along the way, she begins to see the ruggedly handsome Perry in a new, less callous, light. And the fact that Perry is Marked as being gifted with a dominant sense, not only as a Seer, but also as a Scire (one who can sense temperaments), makes his and Aria’s journey all the more interesting.
If you loved The Hunger Games and crave the next greatest adventure, look no further. “Under The Never Sky” is a heart pounding, gut clinching, thrill ride, soaked in romantic suspense! READ IT! READ IT NOW!
“She’d survived the outside. She’d survived the Aether and cannibals and wolves. She knew how to love now, and how to let go. Whatever came next, she would survive it, too.”
And also, the sequel (“Through The Ever Night”) is just as amazing! I hate it when you get psyched about a series and the sequel comes up flat; it’s the worst kind of dissapointment for a booknerd. Alas, I am pleased to say, this is definitely not one of those times!