Very middling feels for this book.
It wasn't bad, there were parts that I really liked but I have a feeling a week from now, I'd start to mix this up with a totally different dystopian story. Because, to be honest, this read like a hodgepodge plot-plays of other, more effective books from this genre.
Aria lives in Reverie, a closed, pod-community whose advanced technology allows for them to live their sheltered lives within Realms - simulated realities which are marketed as "better than real". Because real has evolved to a harsh landscape under the mercy of an unforgiving, temperamental Aether (think a solar flare/storm thingy in the sky). Perry survives in this landscape, among the rest of the population outside the pods protection. He is a valued member of his tribe being Marked which means he has highly evolved senses, that of sight and smell.
By a string of circumstances, they find themselves being allied to each other with parallel goals: for Aria to find her mother and for Perry to rescue his nephew.
I'm going to be part of the disgruntled who found the world-building lacking in this one. It felt like reading Jellicoe in the beginning (because things were making sense but not really), except the story didn't progress in a crescendo of emotions. Rather, it kind of plateaued after their time in Delphi and the confusing details remained fuzzy. So anyone who'd want to pick this up needs to focus on the characters' interaction first, the bigger dystopian world second. Or maybe not pay any attention to it at all, because it will still work without a full understanding of Realms and Pods and Aethers. I did like the plot reveals in the end but I was hoping for something more massive, something in THX than dolby surround. I kept waiting for the Mars Rover's remains to turn up somewhere in Perry and Aria's travels in true Planet of the Apes tradition.
Maybe I was asking for far too much for a first book in a series with a beyond awesome title.
But then with characters as likable as Perry and Aria, you can't help but. Their banter was cute without being cheesy. I liked how they're mindful of the bigger, more daunting issues in front of them rather than focus solely on each other. And I'm a fan of how their relationship started.
He remembered her scent from the night in the Dweller fortress. A rancy mix of must and flesh at the brink of decay.
Awww, ain't he cute?
I'm going to get pelted for this but I don't get the fuss over Roar. He was serviceable as Perry's wingman in this one but not worth my squee. Yet. The rest of the characters faded in the background though I'm extremely suspicious of Marron and his motives.
I'm still very optimistic about this series and will definitely pick up the next one on the strength of everyone else's feedback and the curiosity seeds this had planted with hopes that the next one antes up on the feels and action. But on its own, I can't say this one lived up to my expectations.