Aria lives in Reverie, protected from the outside world, with nothing to do but escape endlessly into the Realms, where she can go anywhere and do anything without the slightest risk. Perry calls her kind moles. He lives on the outside, where every day is a fight for survival, clans war over the wrecked land, and genetic mutations have made their senses sharper than ever before. Aria calls them savages. They were never supposed to meet. They were definitely never supposed to be friends, never mind anything more.
I was expecting the plot to be relatively predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the relationship between Aria and Perry developed just as I expected, there were some twists that I didn’t see coming, and I really liked the ending. I felt that it got the balance right between motivation to read the next book and wrapping up the ends of this story.
There were a couple of concepts I didn’t like very much, though. Firstly, while I’m prepared to accept that genetic mutations could give a person stronger hearing, I don’t see how that could be extending to hearing someone’s thoughts when you touch them. Also, I don’t understand how rendering works at all, or how it’s different from regular love. More explanation required.
Style & Pacing
This is hard for me to write about because I read this very slowly for me, only a chapter or two at a time until I got into the last third, which I flew through. This was nothing to do with the book, just life stuff getting in the way, but it means I don’t have a very good idea about the pacing. In terms of style, this was another third person past tense narrative with perspective switching between the two main characters. I’m enjoying those recently.
One of my favourite things about this book was the character development, which was most evident in Aria. She changed a lot over the course of the book, but in a very realistic, gradual way. You could see her learning from experience, which was satisfying. I also appreciated the relationship between Perry and Aria a lot. There were several points where Rossi could have manufactured an argument out of misunderstandings, and I appreciated that she didn’t. I get frustrated when people apparently forget everything they’ve learned about each other for the sake of unnecessary tension.
He preferred the compound like this, in the dead of night. With winter coming and food in such shortage, Perry had grown used to anxious tempers clotting the air during the day. But after dark, the cloud of human emotions lifted, leaving quieter scents. The cooling earth, opened like a flower to the sky. The musk of nighttime animals, making paths he could follow with ease.
The lyrics flowed out of her, springing straight from her heart. Words full of drama and wild abandon that had always embarrassed her before, because who flung themselves at raw emotion like that?
She did it now.
She let the words fly across the roof and past the trees. She lost herself in the aria, letting it carry her off. But even as she sang, she knew the man below had stopped cutting wood and the dog had stopped barking. Even the trees hushed to hear her sing. When she was done, she had tears in her eyes. She wished her mother could’ve heard her. She’d never sounded better.