First Lines: They call the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Death Shop.” A million ways to die out there. Aria never thought she’d get so close.
Yay, my first completed book of 2015! This was one that I have flip-flopped on wanting to read in the past. I can only do so many dystopian/sci-fi reads before I need a serious break. I enjoy them, but in small amounts. But I eventually moved this to the top of my to-read list to see what everyone was talking about.
(Weird coincidence, the book came out three years ago today. Just saying.)
Aria has grown up protected in Reverie, where technology has advanced life so much that leaving means certain death. When she gets exiled from Reverie, she’s terrified of how she’s going to die. Aether storms? Savages? Plague? She’s been taught that even the air alone is enough to kill her. Then Aria meets Perry–an Outsider, a Savage–who is her only means of survival. Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile from living in her protected dome her whole life. But Perry needs Aria. She’s his only chance for redemption. Together, the polar opposites must work together to survive…and maybe even change everything they know about living under the never sky.
To begin with, I thought it was a pretty typical dystopia/sci-fi book. Domed cities, advanced technology for some while those outside are reviled and hated, science that backfires, etc. In that respect, I didn’t see anything that was new and surprising. (This is part of why sci-fi books are so hard for me; they are all very similar.)
But I was pretty happy with the story. Perry and Aria are developed in a way that makes sense and allows them to keep their secrets (from us and each other). The narrative jumps between both of them, which allowed us to understand both the world of the Dwellers (Aria’s people) and the Outsiders (Perry’s people). I liked that they each had their own independent storyline that didn’t rely on the other. It gave them both strength.
I really liked the characters, not just Aria and Perry. While they were great, I found myself drawn more to the minor characters. Marron, Roar, Cinder. Each of them definitely has secrets and their own storyline. I appreciated that, and I loved finding their quirks.
From reading other reviews, I know a lot of readers are in it for the romance. And it was cute. I’m not going to say it wasn’t. It was slow and believable. And it was believably awkward at times, like every love I’ve been witness to in real life. It just didn’t bowl me over or make my butterflies take flight.
Overall, I thought the characters really drove this story, even though the sci-fi elements were interesting. It’s a good example of deep characters who just happen to cross paths in this story, but all clearly have their own tale to tell. I’m interested to see where this story goes.