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Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

I read this book back when I was in grade 8 and had absolutely fallen in love with it so, when I saw it on the shelf of my favourite bookstore, I really hoped I could rediscover the magic of the story.  And did I ever!  This story was just as enjoyable to read now, around 5 years later, as it was the first time when dorky little me came across the book on a friend’s bookshelf, it was just as genuine and enthralling and I found that a couldn’t put it down.

In the post-apocalyptic world, the people are divided in to two; those that dwell in the domed cities, living out their lives amid thousands of virtual realities, and the savage outsiders who live under the Aether sky – a perilous and erratic force that threatens to wipe out all life beneath it.  Exiled from her home in Reverie, Aria is thrown into the death shop, the outsider’s wasteland below the Aether, to die after she is marked as guilty for starting fire she only wanted to escape from.  Determined to clear her name, Aria joins the company of an outsider, Perry, a savage boy who wishes to save his nephew from the clutches of the Dwellers.  Only one question really remains: who are the real savages?

The concept behind this story is simply amazing and I love it.  The world is unlike anything I have ever heard of (or read) before, and I have a lot of dystopian experience from my early teen years – not a good time...  Reading about this world though, it just feels magical.  And then there are the characters.  I am pretty sure that I loved every single one.  

Or leading lady, Aria, is stubborn and willing to work for what she wants from the get go, taking risks before the story has even started.  Perhaps what I love most about Aria is that she was realistic in her confusion and fear because everything she faces would be terrifying but she is strong, talented and able to look after herself.  Aria accepts the whole enchilada of what happens to her, taking it into her stride and fighting for herself, constantly bouncing back.  She doesn’t let her fear control her and turn her into a weeping lump of skin and bone.  Rossi has created at last a heroine that does not need to be forced by her strong male counterparts to learn to protect herself but makes her own choice to look after herself in this new situation.  It is actually really refreshing to see this.

“If there was no fear, how could there be comfort? Or courage?”

And then there is Perry.  Perry is such a sweetheart, witty and easily annoyed which makes him an incredible character to read about while his relationship with his nephew is perhaps the most endearing thing ever and his relationships with others are all complex and intriguing.  I also love the differing perspectives of Aria and Perry.  Providing chapters from the viewpoint of both characters was, I think, really clever for this novel – it is unrestricting for the plot and provided me with an further understanding of Aria and Perry and their two opposing groups within their society.

This book was truly remarkable.  The plot twists had me reeling despite the fact that I have read it before.  Now that is what I would call artistry.  And the ending was one of those endings where you can’t stop yourself from grinning and you really have to control yourself so as to not laugh or squeal.  

A quick and easy read that keeps you on edge the whole way through, this is a simple, lovely and captivating novel.

Rating: 4.5/5

Grab this book online from Amazon for a great price, or from Book Depository.

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