Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review: Under the Never Sky (Trilogy)

 Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
1. Under the Never Sky
2. Through the Ever Night
3. Into the Still Blue

I started reading this series a couple months ago and thought I should write a review of the first book, but then I was reading the second one, "so maybe I should just write both reviews together" and then I was getting the third one from the library, so now I'm doing to ultra-lazy thing and writing all a review for the trilogy as a whole.

So, yeah.  This is a series of books.  I read them.

Perhaps it's a matter of going in with overinflated expectations, but the first book was  underwhelming to me.  Not that it was bad, mind, just not thrilling.  The little bits of technology and the world that Rossi invented is interesting:  Pod Dwellers have "Smart Eyes" (think super-futuristic Google glasses) and the tribes have individuals who have developed super senses.  It's a neat little setup, but most of it comes off as window dressing by the end of the story.  Interesting window dressing, but window dressing all the same.

Unless you didn't read any of the blurbs on the books, it's obvious from the get-go that this is going to be a YA romance in a sci-fi setting, and that's okay.  However - and perhaps this is my cold, reptilian heart speaking - the romance was nothing to swoon over.  There will never be a reader who isn't certain that Perry and Aria are going to get together.  But nevertheless, we have to dedicate the first book to "will they or won't they" and the entire second book to "the travails of a difficult romance" as if the audience should care more about a couple because they have to fight for their love.  It's not that the romance is unbelievable, it's just that it's not really enough to be the only motivating force in the narrative.

By the time the third volume finally arrived at my local library, I had forgotten enough of the first two books to make me less keen to finish.  However, I was just curious enough to see how the whole shebang ended to read through it.  As expected, the googly eyes and canoodling still are present throughout the final book.  This probably wouldn't bother me so very much except all the frickin' characters are so dang melodramatic about their lovelives.  One guy has lost the love of his life (at eighteen or nineteen) and pretty much becomes a walking a$$hole for the first chunk of the book, leading to some stupidities that could have been avoided.  The main pair are brought together and torn apart so many times - and yet they always have the energy to settle into a mope.  When a secondary character actually scolds the heroine for "Bella'ing" (my term, not the author's), I had to wonder if this wasn't some kind of a joke.

"But wait," you ask.  "If you didn't love them, why did you bother to read the entire series?"  An excellent question, young grasshopper.
I guess the storyline and the setting are just interesting enough that a reader will want to know the ending, even if they aren't thrilled with the books on the whole.
If you're wondering: the ending doesn't exactly blast open any new inroads into any genre, but it's satisfying enough for this series.

I suppose I was just interested enough that I hoped the books would get better.  Even though they never really take off, at no point did I feel like the story was floundering.  So there's that.  It's not terrible; it's not the best thing ever written.

3 stars across the board!

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