Before I tell you why I didn't like the book, I'll point a few things I did like.What I liked
The world-building was pretty great. The differences between Outsiders and Dwellers made sense, and I liked the ongoing threat of the Aether storms.
I also liked Aria 2.0--meaning Aria in the second half of the book. When they arrive at their first destination halfway through, after entirely too much time spent travelling, Aria suddenly becomes a lot more confident and capable. (Sadly, in the first half of the book, I found her annoying and helpless.)The characters
I never connected with Aria, mostly because I hated Aria 1.0. She was annoyingly whiny in her internal monologue, and she made Perry's efforts toward survival more difficult with her actions. For example, she took off and decided to gather some food when Perry told her to stay put, where she would have been safe.
Perry was a little bit better, but not by much. He lost some cool points for fawning all over Aria at the very beginning of the book, before they'd even met. Not a good first impression.
I think Cinder was meant to be awesome...but he wasn't. His power was just too much. It was unexplained. Why is he so different from everyone else? I still don't know. Combine that with the fact that he managed to save the day in one instance when all seemed lost, and his existence seems like a giant cop-out. Deus ex machina.The middle
I'm really impressed with myself for not quitting this book before I finished. I've quit quite a few books lately, so I'm giving myself a virtual pat on the back right now. I was bored reading this. But I decided to practice my skimming technique instead of just putting the book down for good.
Probably over 50% of this book involved the characters travelling somewhere. It was monotonous. Is there no way to provide the same opportunity for character development and bonding in a way that's at least mildly entertaining? :-/The end
And then the book ended. The ending was so ridiculously unsatisfying. Perhaps this is because Perry and Aria each had their separate climax scenes in different places, and neither was particularly exciting. So they didn't face their demons together, and
their demons weren't all that interesting anyway.
Although a lot of open questions remain, I don't plan to read any more in this series.