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.This book had one of the best premises I'd seen in a really long time. Fortunately, my expectations were not just met, but completely blown away! First of all, and this is just my opinion, but I don't see this book as dystopian. I know other reviewers have called it that, but to me it's just a bit like post-apocalyptic science fiction since I didn't see the Dwellers as having the ultimate rule of the land. Yes, there is a difference between science fiction and dystopian!
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.
The plot was fantastic. It moved at a perfect pace and I was really happy with the subplots. The clash of the two worlds was done in a simply superb way. Both the Dwellers and the Outsiders had their shortfalls, but I could see why each group of people lived the way they did. They're simply adaptations for survival from the Aether storms. Talking about Aether storms, they were actually a tad frightening and became a legitimate roadblock when one was needed in the plot. I was surprised to see some fantasy in this book as well. The Outsiders have some hidden talents sprinkled amongst their ranks. At first I thought super senses were a little hokey, especially the ability Perry has. Super Scent (of all the possible senses) just seemed a little lame at first, but I was definitely proven wrong.
The characters were just awesome. I loved Aria's endearing ignorance and Perry's frustrations. They were both quite complex and carried out their clearcut motivations through the entire novel without wavering. Well done there, Veronica. Not once did I think someone did something out of character. The book alternates between the two main characters' point of view and for once, I don't have a single gripe about that. That usually irritates me, but I thought it was very well executed. Also, the supporting characters were very entertaining, especially Roar, whom I grew a soft spot for. Well, to sum it up, the characters were very strong and I think one of the best parts about this novel.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the romance was just so right. I could see the evolution of Aria and Perry's love for each other right before my eyes. I was practically cheering when I realised that this wouldn't be a novel where the characters decide (for reasons unknown to the reader) that they have a thing for each other and I just couldn't be more glad. The romance between them was slow and sweet which I find to be a rarity in this YA genre. It definitely makes it all the more believable.
Overall, this novel is just a stunner in my book. I can't wait to get my hands on more writing from Veronica Rossi. This is her first book! I can't believe it. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone trying apprehensive about sinking their teeth into some science fiction, as it does have a hearty amount of romance and fantasy as well.