The unfinished book: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Stopped reading at: Chapter 25, page 162 out of 264
When I first considered not finishing: Somewhere in the 40s. Why? I was completely bored with the story. Everything was slow and I was not connecting with anyone. Why keep reading? First I wanted to wait for the one-quarter mark, which is when a story is supposed to enter the second act. It was looking like it might be showing some progress, so I decided to reconsider around page 100. Once I reached that mark, the story seemed like it was getting slightly better. But then it just got incredibly boring again.
What ultimately sealed the deal: The fact that I had read over half the book with a little over 100 pages left, and nothing in the story was improving, and neither were the characters.
Breakup line: It’s not me, it’s definitely YOU.
Guys, I wanted to like this one, I really did. I heard so many great things about it and I wanted to enjoy it the way everyone else did. I even thought the opening paragraph was great: “They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod ‘the Death Shop.’ A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.” Then it was all downhill from there…
The best way to explain my problems with this book is to do a chapter by chapter synopsis of how I interpreted each chapter while reading it. By the way, this review is not meant to bash the book. I am trying to explain what I disliked about the story with both constructive criticism and humor.
Chapter One, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.
Chapter Two, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.
Chapter Three, Perry: Look at me, I’m tough and I’ll kill you.
Chapter Four, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew.
Chapter Five, Aria: The Real sucks, I want the Realms.
Chapter Six, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew.
Chapter Seven, Aria: Not only does the Real suck, but now I have been abandoned to die here! (Side note: What the heck, Aria’s society?!)
Chapter Eight, Perry: My brother’s an idiot, but I love my nephew. And I need to leave town before I kill my brother.
Chapter Nine, Aria: *Sulking*
(Aria and Perry run into each other in the most anti-climatic way possible and then get stuck in a cave together where Aria sleeps for two days.)
Chapter Twelve, Perry: I hate this Dweller.
Chapter Eighteen, Perry: I like this girl now because she’s on her period.
Chapter Nineteen, Aria: (An interesting person named Roar!) Then… I hate Perry because he can sense what I’m feeling… whine.
Chapter Twenty, Perry: Aria, I want you to talk to me now that you are on your period, dangit. *Sulk*.
Chapter Twenty-One, Aria: For some reason, I have started caring about Perry, but no one knows why.
(We are introduced to a new character Marron, and his awesome home. Can we just make the rest of the book be about him? Alas, it does not appear that way…)
Stuff happens in Chapter Twenty-Two…
Chapter Twenty-Three, Aria: This girl that I just met is randomly telling me not to hook up with Perry because he’s a heart-breaker. How does she know that I don’t hate him because I totally do don’t all of a sudden.
They have dinner…
This was the point when I stopped and asked myself the same question I asked myself before I DNF’d Delirium last year: If I never find out happens for the rest of the story, would I care?
And the answer was no.
Just a few things I wanted to note in addition to my chapter summaries, in all seriousness…
I never got the premise. I’m sure if I had finished I would have understood more, but the world building was vague, the plot was quite thin (guys burns down place, girl gets blame for it and gets tossed out, another guy loses his nephew for reasons that defy logic and seeks to find girl who he deems responsible, they conveniently meet and go on boring journey to fix her communication link to her mother so he can find his nephew), and nothing seemed to serve a real purpose. The very beginning of the story where we learn about where Aria lives showed some promise, but I got lost somewhere in the middle of Aether storm talk.
The characters were bland. They had some sort of personality, but they were two-dimensional versions of these personalities, especially Perry and Aria. They also whined a lot, which was annoying. I understood they were going through hard times, but I don’t think I ever once really felt sorry for them or what they were going through. I never felt a connection to them. For some reason, I liked Roar; he was more interesting. I also kind of liked Marron, and Talon was kind of cute.
The action was practically non-existent. Anytime there was a scene of action, it was over before I even knew what happened. The first couple of times I read through such sequences I thought maybe I was not reading thoroughly enough, but when I kept feeling like characters were suddenly in a different place or involved in something that they won’t two seconds ago without seeing any cohesive transition, I felt it was a writing issue and not a reading issue. There is a lot of walking and running and moping, at least for the first twenty-ish chapters.
The writing read like a first draft. My apologies to Veronica Rossi, who I am sure is a talented and nice person, but I thought her writing in this book seemed like it had not gone through any beta readers. If anything, it read the way I imagine well-edited-for-grammar-but-not-content self-published writing would. I think there was potential here, but this book falls very short of what I think a published book ought to in terms of interesting content.
Maybe I am missing something. So if you’ve read Under the Never Sky, here’s your chance, defend it and tell me what you love about it! Or if not, tell me what book you feel just didn’t live up to its hype.