By Veronica Rossi
4.5 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less (or a little more): Where virtual reality isn't all it seems and dreamy, resilient boys can change your life.
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
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.
What a great reading start to 2013! This is a perfect example of why I love to read the blogs of teen lit enthusiasts. I had heard of the title. I knew the cover. But it just wasn't high on my priority list. Then I read some fantastic reviews and I knew that I had to move it up on my queue. So glad I did.
Aria lives in the Realms. Think Wall-e without everyone being overweight. Forced into dome dwellings to avoid the violent storms brewing in the real world, the Realms offer opportunities for entertainment. After a teenage stunt gone awry, Aria is cast out of her home into the desolate wasteland known as the Death Shop. Dwellers (Realm people) don't mix well with Outsiders (the savages who live "outside"), but Aria will have to learn to trust them if she's going to survive.
Boy do I love a good dystopia. I wonder what that says about me, a relatively quiet, peaceful girl that enjoys stories of death and destruction? I think it says that I appreciate stories of hope, because at the core of most dystopias is this rather beautiful idea of a better life, better people, better choices. This is the first in a series, but it is filled with this intangible belief that is equal parts beautiful and heart-wrenching.
I also love a book with an awesome, dreamy boy. And Ms. Rossi definitely knows how to write awesome, dreamy boys. What is it about bad (yet not really bad) moody boys? I suppose that says something about me as well, but that's okay, because Perry is, well, awesome. He's loyal, brave, stubborn, funny, and loves so deeply that he's just swooney.
Let's not leave out the ladies. Aria raises the bar for female heroines as well. She's dealt a pretty bad deal. She's not blameless, just ask her mother, but instead of curling up into a ball and waiting to die, she fights, fiercely, never once complaining. I think that's what I loved about her most. She didn't complain when she's given every reason to. Instead she keeps moving forward, one step in front of the other.
One last piece of awesome. Senses. We have five, but we don't use them very well. What if we did? What if we were exceptional seers, hearers, smellers. What if we could see, hear, or smell tempers and emotions? A very interesting question indeed...
The Not So Awesome
There's only one thing, and maybe it will play out a little more in books to come, but this rendering business. I had a lot of trouble looking past the imprinting ickyness of Twilight. Do authors think we won't buy a real connection? Why does there always have to be something more? Something seemingly supernatural? And then it just gets in the way. Hmm..
So lots of awesome. Read this book. I know. Another dystopia, another love story, but Rossi does an exceptional job, and there are some really awesome twists lingering toward the end of book one that you'll want to stick around for to book two.