Oh yeah, oh yeah. This was awesome! I have had this on my TBR shelf since 2014 and it ended up being one of those where you ask yourself, “Why did you wait so long?!” Let me tell you, THIS book is a perfect example of why I will never stop reading Young Adult fantasy. There may be some stinkers out there or some big old Mehs, but then you get one like this and are like:
Okay, maybe I exaggerate. A little. But there was SO MUCH win here! It’s set in a dystopian-like world where a catastrophe has rendered the sky into an “Aether,” where storms and lightening kill everything from the soil and trees to people. The luckiest people (that is arguable) went into domes for protection. There, they have developed technology to live in Realms, through an eye piece (like a virtual reality). They have changed their biology and physiology so much that the females don’t even menstruate anymore!
So, our main character, Aria, gets exiled into the wastelands and meets Peregrine (Perry) an Outsider. A savage. They form an unlikely and unwilling alliance – Aria wants to find her mom and Perry his nephew.
Stuff happens. There are cannibals! Perry and Aria go a place that is protected where a man named Marron is in charge and they live like relatively “normal” people. Perry’s kind live in tribes.
Those born in the wastelands can have abilities. There are Seers, Auds (people who have superpower hearing), Scires (people who can smell so well, they can scent emotions and moods).
A romance blossoms, but there is definitely NO instalove. Aria is not a special snowflake or Mary Sue.
Some of it was just survival, but I loved the progression of Aria and Perry’s relationship. It just slowly sneaks up on you. Perry is BAE. I lurve him soooo much. Aria bugged me at first, but she really grows!
This was just A++++ writing and story-telling, in my view.