cover image Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky

Veronica Rossi. Harper, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-207203-0

“Savage” tribesman Perry rescues the effete Pod-dweller Aria in Rossi’s dystopian debut about an ecological apocalypse. Earth is now ravaged by Aether storms, from which the Dwellers are insulated—at the cost of all freedoms. Aria is cast out of this refuge after a venture into a forbidden greenhouse, where she first meets Perry. The Outsider tribes live exposed to the horrifically magnified elements and suffer from mutations as well as the privations of their Stone Age culture. Predictable culture clashes ensue as Perry introduces Aria to his primitive lifestyle, though Rossi does have some interesting ideas. The Dwellers are kept passive by an elaborate virtual construct called “the Realms,” but aside from a few brief scenes, the Realms are merely referred to, not depicted. The focus is on Aria’s response to life in “the real” (and, of course, to Perry), and it’s hard to warm up to either. Violent death is endemic to both cultures, and in the tradition of H.G. Wells, neither the Eloi-like Dwellers nor the Morlock-like Outsider tribes are terribly appealing. Agent: Adams Literary. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)