Under the Never Sky

Common Sense Media says

Hard-edged romantic adventure set in a dystopian future.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The setting of this sci-fi adventure story is reasonably well thought-out, but the futuristic elements -- immersive virtual reality, biotechnology, psychic abilities, and genetic mutation -- aren't explored with any particular scientific rigor.

Positive messages

The novel emphasizes the importance of being true to both yourself and your family obligations. Aria and Peregrine are very focused on their finding their remaining family members.

Positive role models

Aria and Peregrine aredriven to push themselves past their limits for the benefit of their families. Although shielded from harsh reality for most of her life, Aria quickly adapts to life Outside, moving forward without complaint, even though she's ill-equipped to deal with the demands of her journey. Peregrine adheres to a warrior's code and can be brutal when circumstances demand it. But he's sensitive to Aria's needs and is deeply devoted to his young nephew, Talon.

Violence

Life outside the protected enclaves in Under the Never Sky is harsh, and there's a fair amount of violence and death depicted in the novel, incuding arson and bloodshed. Peregrine is a hunter, and he tracks prey both animal and human. He kills a number of opponents with arrows, instigates a knife fight, and ultimately kills someone close to him. Aria also finds herself in a situation where she must use deadly force in self-defense. Another character who has psychic powers similar to pyrokinesis badly burns Peregrine and later decimates a tribe of cannibals.

Sex

Aria experiences her first period while on her trek across the wasteland with Peregrine. (Women in the Pods do not menstruate.) Aria and Peregrine are physically attracted to each other, a situation complicated by his ability to read emotions through the senses of smell and taste. Eventually, they are physically intimate, but their encounter isn't described in any detail. It's more than implied that Peregrine has had other lovers. It's also implied that the virtual reality Realms are used for some form of cybersex.

Language

Very little swearing. One character mentions being "pissed off," and one half-jokingly uses the term "bastard."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters occasionally drink a concoction called "Luster," which seems to contain alcohol, based on its effects. Luster is also used as a pain killer when Aria and Peregrine are injured. A lonely and distraught Peregrine later overindulges when he meets up with some strangers. He becomes belligerent, gets into a deadly fight, proves victorious, and then vomits copiously.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Under the Never Sky is a well-realized science fiction adventure romance that has a fair amount of violence and killing depicted, incuding arson and bloodshed. The novel also has a frank approach to teen sexuality, but the one sexual encounter isn't described in any detail.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

An attempt to reach her missing mother ends with 16-year-old Aria exiled from the safety of her enclosed city, Reverie. She doesn't expect to last long Outside, not if the stories about deadly plagues are to be believed. Luckily, she meets up with Peregrine, a hunter who's also estranged from everyone he cares about. Together, they brave deadly Aether storms, wolves, and attacks by cannibals as they search for their missing loved ones.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Some elements of UNDER THE NEVER SKY may seem overly familiar, but there's enough originality in the book's plot, character, and setting to raise this opening installment in a new series above the ordinary. Issues that seem underdeveloped will presumably be addressed in future volumes. Many readers will be eager for Volume 2, but the setup isn't yet a slam-dunk. Author Veronica Rossi still needs to prove that she can maintain her story over at least three installments.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether being physically connected to a virtual world like the Realm would be an advantage. What are the benefits of being continuously "plugged in"? What might the downside be?

  • The people who live in the Pods are genetically engineered to be healthier and more physically attractive. Do you think that would be a completely desirable environment? What could be the drawbacks of seeking genetic "perfection"?

  • In science fiction, the future is sometimes depicted as worse than the present day. Why do you think that is? Do you think science-fiction authors are most often predicting the future or commenting on their own times?

Book details

Author:Veronica Rossi
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harper
Publication date:January 3, 2012
Number of pages:376

This review of Under the Never Sky was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTheTeenEye August 12, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

An Average, Enjoyable Dystopian Tale

'Under The Never Sky' by Veronica Rosi is a book set in a dystopian future. I have read many of these types of books (they have become more popular since the launch of The Hunger Games) and although I like this book, it doesn't stand out over the rest. A main character, Aria, is very smart, which I consider an important trait to have in a female character (as shown by Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series). Violence is a main part of the book, as it features cannibals, a character who's brother wants to kill him, fighting, and killing (a decapitation was mentioned). It might also be inappropriate (besides what it mentioned in the review) because a main character is mentioned to be having "Her first bleeding."

I think kids from the ages 12+ should be fine reading this book.

P.S. It says the main character is 16 in the review, but in the book, it says she is 17.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bylizzyjm16 November 10, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Reccomend

LOVE the book!

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bywildboomer1998 February 17, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Under the Never Sky

I thought this was a great book. There was very little romance until the middle of the book, but overall i loved it. I think this is a great book for a mature 12 year old but perfect for 13 years old and up.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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