This falls between 3.5 to 4 stars for me.There were a lot of things I loved about this book and a few things that weren't awful, but could be improved upon for the next two books. It was a page-turner for me, so that's always a good thing. This series has a WB film option already...I totally think this has the potential to be an amazing and visually stunning film. Of course they'd do it in 3-D, and with the right people in charge of that feat, it could very well be an amazing thing to experience. ETA proper review:(Proceed with caution, as this review is a little spoilerish to an extentBefore I read this book I had read some reviews that were on the fence and a little more “meh” about it and the heroine. Not many but some. For a lot of dystopian/post-apocalypse lovers it seems a female protagonist is only worth her title role if she’s a “badass” heroine, myself included. Hmmm, what is the badass heroine? Of course people know what they like, and seek out stories that can deliver on that, but I can’t help feeling like it’s a bit of a disservice to be off-put by a heroine who is not blatantly so…”badass” if you will. Despite that introductory, I don’t think it’s necessary to defend whether or not the heroine in this story is a “badass”. Notwithstanding her "unconventional" attributes of what is regarded as strength, I think more than anything she’ll maybe not become a remarkable heroine for most in this first book, because she’s not exceedingly one extreme or the other. She’s GASP!, pretty average. But to me, the world and talents Rossi builds within this story does a pretty good job at making up for the average heroine.Aria is from a futuristic Pod society where her whole life, she’s been told the civilization outside of her ivory tower fortress, Reverie, was full of savages who are the lowest of scum and dangerous. She’s also spent a good 80% of her waking life frolicking around in and out of different virtual environments via The Realms, “Better than real”. These Realms that appear to take Dwellers to different places are representative of the current and past world. However, they are very much an imitation, so the experience a person gets in one of these Realms is just an imitation of real life. Further more, the Dweller societies are unaware of their own strength and ability to reason. Because so much of their interaction is engineered for them (what they eat, how they entertain themselves, how they reproduce, their natural drives) they are very much out of touch with who they are as humans and how to fare in the natural world around them. Under the Never Sky is about two young adults who are from different places, in the same world, whose ancestors adapted in different ways to the same apocalyptic destruction their societies underwent. Both are on missions to recover a lost loved one. Aria is trying to learn what’s become of her scientist-engineer mother, Lumina, since losing all contact with her when their connection to communicate is unexpectedly severed. Believing a friend could help her with locating her mother, Aria finds herself caught up in her first near death experience, when this person she trusted betrays her. As a result, Aria is kicked out of Reverie and left for dead on the Outside, utterly alone and homeless and ill prepared for the harsh conditions of reality. Perry, struggling with the precarious survival of his tribe, finds himself colliding with Aria’s world after rescuing her from attack, only to find himself drawn into deeper problems when his beloved nephew, Talon, is kidnapped. Though Aria has a bit less of a strong start in navigating her new circumstances, I didn’t see her as weak and wimpy. She's definitely has a spine to her. I saw a girl who didn’t have the skills to survive like, and assume the position of, a “badass” from a lack off life experience. I’d say she tried her best to take care of herself and her business without constantly whining about it. She wasn’t lazy and asserted herself to learn. She also didn’t lose the sense of who she was as Aria, by experiencing hardships. It’s kind of nice that she didn’t morph into this jaded, calculating, and supreme fighter, yet still managed to shed many aspects of her ignorance, inability, and naiveté. Does anyone else feel that there is an expectation that heroines have to undergo grand transformations of “badassed-ship” to be considered worthy for YA girls to read? And I'm not talking about perpetuating harmful stereotypes, just the denouncing of heroines who are aren't natural fighters, hard-asses, and above average. Problems:My biggest criticism is that Rossi didn’t write fight scenes well enough for me to absorb them and feel anything beyond a pang of mild/passing annoyance with the “bad-guy”. 90% of the fights and skirmishes are delivered tensionless. If there is no tension during a fight scene, how am I to get emotionally involved? How am I to feel afraid and anxious for our hero/heroine if there is a lack of conceivable struggle and strife? Without it, their victories don’t feel hard-won enough and fall kinda flat. As a reader, I didn’t get to experience that utter relief and satisfaction that comes when the person we’re all rooting for has survived their battle, their fight. Is that not what we should feel after high-impact scenes? Furthermore, at times, I found it difficult to picture. Usually I can picture exactly how a fight scene looks, but sadly, most of the time, I struggled to envision them for this. And though Rossi doesn’t hold back on killing off some characters, she missed her mark by not being emotional enough. aren’t most to feel some notion of heart pang/sympathy/or semi-grief when Aria discovers Lumina and even Paisley dies? I mean, what’s the point if it’s going to come across as “no big deal” to the person it should hurt the most? There were also some scenes that I felt came across as unnatural for Aria. These are mainly regarding her last three chapters. I don't understand how she didn't seem more upset and scared about her being exposed at the Pod in Bliss. Awesomeness:Rossi writes sexual tension very well. Maybe she’s more of a lover and not a fighter, and that’s why the fight scenes are rather lifeless. The building of the relationship that’s forged between enemies, turned grudging allies, turned ardent lovers, is very nicely presented. I also liked Rossi didn’t feel the need to shy away from the more mature intimacy both Perry and Aria began sharing, doing so with care and without gratuitousness. I also like her version of how two people bond with each other and through their gifts, connect with each other. It’s really intimate. The pacing was good. Rossi also has explored what appears to be an original idea that I haven’t read about before. Also, I like when there are new words to add to my series lingo. Render. I really like the term render in this book and how it happens. I like that no one seemed to lose site of their goals, recovering their loved ones. Both Perry and Aria, though they fall for each other, still very much stick to their responsibilities. For a series, there was no OMG, this is so frustrating cliff-hanger, but it does obviously let the reader know that there is more to come. Final ThoughtsAll-in-all, I am still interested in this series and am excited about the next installment. I recommend this book for the mature YA audience, as there is sex and sexual situations that are explored and talked about in the book, though handled with care, and there is some violence. Lovers of Dystopias Post-Apocalypse that enjoy a budding romance as well can dive in and appreciate what they’ll find.