Published Feb 2012
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Aria is a seventeen year-old Dweller who lives in Reverie in what is called a Pod, a dome-like structure that protects its inhabitants from the outside wasteland called the Death Shop where violent energy storms can strike and kill entire villages. Her world is technological. She wears a Smarteye device that allows her mind to go into virtual worlds where she can experience almost anything virtually. Perry is an Outsider who lives with a tribe in a small village. He is a tall warrior who hunts with bow and arrow and has a heightened sense of smell and night vision. To the Dwellers, Outsiders are considered savage, wild and diseased.
When Aria loses the link to her scientist mother who lives in another Pod, she plans to find out why and ends up involved in a horrible event that gets her thrown out of her home into the wilderness of the Death Shop. Perry finds her and the two dislike and mistrust each other outright, but their own circumstances make them realize they need each other.
I loved reading this dystopian story that blended so well two worlds, a more primitive one with a futuristic one. Rossi not only built a world I could easily and wonderfully get lost in, but also characters that jumped off the page. Perry and Aria are flawed, strong, courageous and so likeable. They both grow and change as the story progresses. The distinction between the two worlds is reinforced by language, dress and behaviour. Rossi knew how to make them unique yet believable for us, even relate-able. I think that's what really attracted me about the whole story.
The narrative is written with dual perspectives, Aria and Perry's and this really helped solidify my view of each character. The plotline was solid and original with plenty to satisfy me as the first book in this trilogy, but also giving me plenty to look forward to in the next book which I can't wait to read. Although there are fight scenes, they are not gory. There is also a sexual scene which is not explicit. However, if you are concerned about content, note this scene is between older teens.
Finally, I have to say that I absolutely loved the ending, especially the wording in the last paragraph. I re-read it over and over. It was poetic and evocative. A beautiful ending and perfect for a trilogy. I'm not crazy about cliff-hanger endings in trilogies. (The last time I read an ending that left an impression with me was C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen.) If you are a dystopian fan, this book is a must-read.
Note: This book is rated V = fight scenes and killing with bow and arrow and knives.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Read Dystopia Challenge, A-Z Book Challenge
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Shannon Parsons from HarperCollins for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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