Back to my "comfort zone" with UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi. This book was a complete and total surprise. I found the premise intriguing enough
that I downloaded the book (I think it was an Amazon deal) but the
execution was terrific. Rossi does a ton of stuff that I like as a
reader and am insanely jealous of as a writer.
There's not a lot in this book that particularly original but I don't mean that as an insult ,it's the execution. The thing about tropes is they exist and to make them work you not only have to acknowledge them but know how to play with them. And Rossi knows how to play with them. From the symbolic tattoos to the use of "the Realms," she uses things we've seen before in dozens of other books just right so that you never once find yourself rolling your eyes and going, "Here we go." There are a few times that she's close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
One of things I really liked was the alternating POV chapters between Aria and Perry. Rossi balanced them just right so we stay long enough with the particular character we need to for the story to progress. The two main characters are likable but flawed just enough that you want to find out what's going to happen to them and see what they are thinking about what happened to the other.
The other thing that I loved about this book is that it's one big genre mash up (this will probably be a motif in my reviews). I love any book that can take what we define as a particular genre and mash it up with other ones to try do something different. Rossi combines some dystopia, post-apocalyptic, adventure, scifi, fantasy, romance and even the hint of a zombie story to make a solid adventure story.
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