In Which I Fall in Love with Perry

I won't tell you how many trips to Barnes & Noble I made over the weekend to see if I could spot UNDER THE NEVER SKY in the wild, but it was more than was probably justified considering the actual release date wasn't until Tuesday, and the nearest bookstore is thirty minutes away.  But then, on Sunday, I hit pay dirt!

I bought my shiny new copy and took it home.  It was like meeting an old friend by chance.  Maybe more like meeting an old friend who has become famous by chance.  Perhaps more like meeting an old friend who has become famous by hanging out backstage until they finally come outside. 

I remember well the first time I was introduced to this wonderful story, sitting in a critique group at a conference with a group of strangers that would become some of my best friends.  At the time, I had been blown away by Veronica's ability to describe a scene so perfectly, with just the right words.  I immediately fell in love with her gorgeous but completely accessible prose.

The premise of the story intrigued me, and I already knew I loved the writing, but the moment I fell in love with the story came later, when I had a chance to read the manuscript.

I remember the exact moment in the story well, because every time I read it, it makes my heart smile.  

There's a scene in the book that occurs shortly after Aria and Perry reluctantly begin their journey together, and it's written in Perry's point of view.  Aria and Perry distrust each other, but Aria needs the information that Perry has about the real world, having spent a lifetime in virtual Realms.

Aria asks question after question, and Perry, a man of few words, has no idea how to deal with them all. (He is such a guy!).  Aria is curious about the Aether, the living storms that have destroyed so much:

 "Do the clouds ever clear?" she asked.

"Completely? No.  Never."

"What about the Aether?  Does that ever go away?"

"Never, Mole.  The Aether never leaves."

She looked up. "A world of nevers under a never sky."

She fit in well then.  A girl who never shut up.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY, pp. 124-25.

I just love that exchange.  It reveals so much about Perry, who to this point in the book has been very serious and focused on the much larger problems of his family and tribe.  I love this first hint of a lighter side to Perry, and at this moment I started to fall in love with him.

A few pages later, I am gone, gone, gone:

"Why do you avoid looking at me?" she asked.  "Because I'm a Dweller?  Are we ugly to Outsiders?"

"Which question do you want me to answer first?"

"It doesn't matter.  You won't answer anyway.  You don't answer questions."

"You don't stop asking them."

"See what I mean?  You avoid answering and you avoid looking.  You're an avoider."

Perry flung the blanket at her.  She hadn't been ready.  It hit her on the face.  "You're not."

She snatched it away, shooting him a fierce look.  Perry could see her perfectly, though she sat beyond the circle of firelight.  

In the cover of darkness, he let the corner of his mouth lift. 


That secret smile in the dark says so much. I melt a little every time I read it.  This is the chapter where I fell in love with Perry, and knew that I would follow him and Aria anywhere. 

As the story went on, the promise of this scene played out in unexpected ways.  The plot wove together masterfully, seamlessly tying together Perry's struggle to save his nephew and lead his tribe with the mystery of the disappearance of Aria's mother.  These characters each discover strengths they didn't know they possessed, and possibly could never have without each other.  Adventure, mystery and beautiful love story all wrapped into one, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is that rare book that I will go back to again and again.

And I KNOW HER.  Seriously.  Can you believe it?

Me neither.

Don't forget to post your picture of UNDER THE NEVER SKY in the wild to win one of four signed copies we are giving away!


If by "in the wild", you mean "my house" ;-)

Talia, this absolutely made my day. Done. Happy. Check. Thank you so much. It's been so fun being on this journey together. Can't wait for what's next for you. Tez - I love that photo. Love. And I say it counts!

Yes, I agree! Love both Aria and Perry. So much action so well described--what a wild world! I "see" the characters from the get-go and I love all the sinister undertones in the beginning and the whole frightening "Lord Of The Flies" aspect. Conveyed beautifully. I'm not finished reading, am enjoying the time.

Yay! I'm already in love with him. CanNOT wait to read it. Unfortunately I have to, because the Harper box didn't arrive at my local bookstore. What!? Maybe someone hijacked it en route, hoping to get their own early copies of Veronica's book. I swear it wasn't me, but if I'd had the idea first....

Great post, Talia. I can't wait for the world to fall in love with Austin next.

Now that I've started reading, I look forward to getting to these gems in the book. Thank you so much for sharing.

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