Will the future bring more technology--or less? In Veronica Rossi's adventurous debut novel, the answer is both: Aether storms have ravaged the world for centuries, forcing a divide among mankind.
Aria, a Dweller, lives in a highly technological society. Her physical world is limited to a large enclosed Pod. Like all Dwellers, Aria spends her time in the Realms, virtual realities so lifelike that they are proclaimed to be "better than real." Peregrin, or Perry, is an Outsider. Life outside of the Pods is difficult: almost no technology, dangerous elements, little food and constant struggles against other tribes. Aria and Perry become unlikely allies after tragedy finds Aria exiled from the Pods. Perry agrees to help Aria search for a way to regain access to the Pods in return for Aria's help in finding his kidnapped nephew.
The first in a planned trilogy, Rossi's novel is breathtaking. The author crafts the vastly different worlds of the Dwellers and Outsiders equally well and credibly. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is the love story between Aria and Perry. Rossi shows us an emotional struggle based on their pasts and their differences, rather than a stereotypical love triangle or meddlesome friends or family. This story of adventure, discovery and redemption kicks off a trilogy strong enough to follow in the footsteps of The Hunger Games. --Kyla Paterno, retail coordinator and blogger, Garfield Book Company