MAY I tell you something about Aria?

Today’s Bookanista recommendation is Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and to tie it in to Blog Me MAYbe, I’d love to talk about one of the story’s two main characters, Aria. First, a quick synopsis:

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

From Goodreads: Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse. Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Let me be honest about Aria… I did not find her initially likable. When we meet her at the novel’s beginning, she’s naive and pampered and pretty helpless — although through no fault of her own. Aria is Aria because of her environment, the Pod she grew up in, confined and safe and clueless, and she appears to embrace that lifestyle. That said, there’s much more to Aria than meets the eye, and after life throws a few major curve balls her way, she starts to become a protagonist readers can believe in.

While Aria at first resists her new world and all its challenges, it’s not long before she takes initiative. She learns to feed herself and defend herself and, in the process, to be herself. She has a way of dealing with Peregrine, her “ally,” that I found very intriguing. Though they’re opposites in many ways, in several instances Aria seems to know intuitively exactly what Perry needs. Their relationship was balanced and grew out of respect, which made its progression a satisfying climb. The more Aria accepted her new world, and Perry, the more I grew to love her, until I found myself invested, rooting for her and thinking about her plight even when I wasn’t actively reading. Aria’s steep, authentic arc transformed her from a character I felt eh about, into a character I adored, a character whose story I can’t wait to continue reading.

And, if Aria isn’t enough to make you desperate to pick up a copy of Under the Never Sky, here a few more ways in which Veronica Rossi’s story amazed me:

1. Word-building – Thorough, creative, inimitable. There are so many thoughtful, unique details in Aria and Perry’s world.

2. Pacing – Unputdownable! A surprise around every corner…

3. Perry – Tortured, tough but secretly sensitive, courageous, intelligent and loyal. Oh, and he makes leather pants look good.

4. Prose – Straight-forward, yet elegant and descriptive. I found myself rereading passages because they were so beautiful.

5. The Spontaneous Kiss — Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s so sweet!

Please, please, PLEASE check out Under the Never Sky if you haven’t already!

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Have you read Under the Never Sky? Thoughts?