Thursday, 10 May 2012

Book review: Inside Out by Maria V Snyder

Keep Your Head Down. Don’t Get Noticed. Or Else.  Im Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

I really quite enjoyed Inside Out, it was by no means perfect but it was still an enjoyable read which had a lot of good things going for it.

I have wanted to read this for a long time the blurb really captured my attention. I liked the idea of people living in this metal, inside world not knowing that there was an outside. I was not disappointing with that aspect of the book. Snyder’s world building is to be applauded, it was easy to imagine. I could see the dark and dusty corridors and shafts without even trying. It was a new take on the YA dystopian genre and I liked the idea a lot.

Not only is the world building great but the plot is twisty. You think you know where this metal prison is but prepare to be surprised. Out of no-where Snyder takes this novel out of one genre and plonks it right in another one. I loved the surprise and again loved the different take on YA.

All of the characters are strong. Trella is a good hero and main character. She is likable in the same way Katniss Everdeen is in The Hunger Games. She does not want to be the hero but she is forced into the mould and most of the things she does is for the sake of others. She grows a lot as the story develops. She starts off a loner and outsider but soon turns into a reluctant leader, the change is done nicely and it is easy to see her in both of the roles. She is not always likable but I think that is what makes a good character good, just like the real world not everyone is lovely, nice and kind all the time. Trella has her moments of selfishness and stupidity, but it is not a reflection of her character as a whole. I found her to be well put together, smart and brave.

Maria Snyder’s biggest talent appears to be in creating male characters. I liked them all (and there are a lot of them in this book) Riley, Cogan, Logan and Jacy are all great. There is nothing to dislike about them and they each have their own personalities and characteristics that make them different. One thing I really respect about this book is that there was no love triangle. With every new male character that was introduced my fear of a love triangle grew but it never came. It would have been an easy story plot to use, but thankfully Snyder kept away from it and I think the book is better off for it.

The romance in general was a bit of a problem for me though. There was very little romance in the book at all (which is fine) but the bits that were there were a bit…strange. I never really got a sense of what Trella was feeling. She wanted to be near him, (not saying who because I don’t want to give it away) she wanted to touch him, and she liked it when they touched. But she never really said she liked him, never told the reader anything about her feelings for him. It just kinda happened and it didn’t feel quite right.

In parts it was also a little cheesy, there is a lot of 'Sheepy' (a cuddly toy) which in the beginning was really cute but after a while became a little too much. I could have done with a lot less 'sheepy' and a little more explanations of feelings.

At times it needed more action, it dragged slightly in the middle and needed something exciting to happen to bring the reader back in. The beginning was also hard to get into. It took me a couple of chapters which doesn’t sound like much but a lot of YA Dystopian gets you in the first chapter and doesn’t let you go, this book does and it became easy to lose interest. In places it tended to be a tad predictable which didn’t help.

All in all Inside Out is a good and fun read that is well worth your time. For all its inconsistencies and problems this book still has something that a lot of YA does not and that is originality. I would recommend it to any YA, Dystopian or Sci-Fi fans.

3 stars

Published January 1st 2011 by Mira Ink.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips

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