Katherine Longshore 7 Thursday, January 05, 2012
I am not a good reader of science fiction and fantasy novels.  It's not that I don't like them -- heck, I grew up wanting to inhabit the world of Star Wars, and read those books countless times.  It's just that somewhere between then and now, my brain has short circuited.  I get all discombobulated in the world-building, and end up obsessing on single elements -- the trains in Hunger Games, the ocean in Feed, Karou's hair in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  I get snagged and dragged back by cleverly invented words.  I stop and hold them up and twist them in the light, pausing the entire endeavor like a toddler finding a ladybug on the walk to the store.

This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy these novels, or that I couldn't suspend my disbelief.  It just means they took more effort, more concentration on my part.  It was a different kind of reading.

Why am I telling you all this?  During the week we're hosting and celebrating UNDER THE NEVER SKY?  Because none of that happened to me while reading Veronica's book.

Veronica's world-building is vibrantly alive.  Her invented words seamlessly integrated (I love "rancy" -- and OK, maybe my inner toddler did stop to crow and wonder over this one).  But while thinking about this post, I decided that what really did it for me were her characters.

Veronica Rossi has inhabited her world with a host of engaging, multi-dimensional people, each with his or her own agenda and layered personality.

Perry is brave, stalwart, troubled, hurting.  Aria is terrified, desperate, lonely, but never, ever weak.

My favorite character is Roar -- from the moment he stepped onto the page.  Maybe it was his dashing demeanor or perhaps his effortless charm.  Maybe it was his talent with a knife.

Marron is someone I want to know personally.  Strength without brutality.  But with a carefully hidden edge that I hope reveals itself more fully in the rest of the series.

Cinder -- damaged, extravagant in all his emotions, complex, even -- dare I say -- pitiful.  But not in the cruel sense of the word.

And all the rest -- from Talon to Soren, Vale, Rose, Paisley.  Even the characters we never really get to meet are fully-formed in the minds of the characters we do.

That for me is the magic of UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

Because, you see, I haven't read it in over a year.  My local independent bookstore had an epic fail with the delivery of their shipment.  I can't find it in the wild (well, I could drive a half-hour to the nearest B&N, just not in the time that's been allotted me in the past couple of days).  And yet I can still visualize these characters, living and breathing in my mind.  That is a triumph.

That is the magic.


Just ordered my copy of UNDER THE NEVER SKY from Amazon- so excited!
I read you guys every day- though I rarely comment. It's wonderful to see you guys succeed.
It gives hope to all us poor ole "aspirings" out here.

I agree completely. UtNS left me with that breathless feeling of satisfaction paired with anticipation. It was great. :)

Yes, Jessi! You summed it up perfectly!

And thank you, Janet, from all of us. We love our "lurkers" as much as our regular commenters. And we always have our fingers crossed for the "aspirings".

All these posts & reader comments are a big tease! I'm still holding out for our local independent, Katy, but I'm getting VERY impatient. And if any of the people responsible happen to be reading, here is your warning: I WILL buy the book at a big store if I must. Little store, you have until tomorrow.

Yes, Jackie! Yet another thing we have in common...

And yes, Beth, I'm still holding out for the independent, too...

Katy, I'm the exact same way with sci-fi and dystopians, and I completely agree that UtNS never made me work hard. I got immediately swept up in Aria and Perry's world and held on tight; it was wonderful.

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