Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Format: Audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne
My Rating: ★★★★★
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 was worse.
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.
So I have to be honest here, I really put off reading this book because I thought it was going to be another YA dystopia novel that everyone gushes about, but I just feel "meh" about. Since I wasn't sure that I would like this one, I tried the audiobook first and boy am I glad I did. This debut came as a huge surprise for me, and I was immensely impressed with the overall book.
Unlike a lot of YA books, this one was written in third person, but we did get alternating third person limited from both Perry and Aria. I really liked that about this novel, because it allowed you to understand where both of them were coming from. I also enjoyed Bernadette Dunne's narration on this audiobook. I felt like she has a somewhat older sounding voice, but it didn't make it seem weird since she was the third person narrator. At the same time, I think she did a decent job at the different character voices.
There are a few reasons why I really enjoyed this book. Firstly, no freaking love triangle! Yay! I loathe the love triangle trope that everyone keeps on writing in YA fiction, so I was so glad this story didn't have that. I mean does every dystopia novel really need that? No, and this book proved that. Another reason I loved how the author dealt with romance was that there wasn't instalove in this one. Perry and Aria loathe each other in the beginning (which is my favorite way to start romances) but they have to work together and get along to accomplish their separate goals. I loved the slow burn romance here, to me I thought it was pretty realistic and actually showed how relationships are built. Although at one point I did want to shake Perry because his philosophy on love and life was so freaking dumb!
I really enjoyed the world building in this one. I felt like I could really see in my head what the Pods were and what the "death shop" looked like. I also thought it was so realistic that everyone would wear a "smarteye" so that they could always be connected to virtual reality. The concept was eerily similar to the OASIS in Ready Player One, and I thought it was saying a lot about our current society. Once Aria was on the outside in the "Death Shop" I kept seeing it in my head as a desert, but I think it was more forest-like. I think that was just me though.
The only qualms I have about the novel is that I didn't really understand what the Aether Storms were or what The Unity was. I think these things didn't really take that much away from the plot, so I was okay with not really understanding what they were. I'm hoping maybe it gets explained more in the other books.
I'm really excited to start the second book in the series. If you want a good sci-fi novel with great world building I would highly recommend this one.
Happy Reads Everyone!