Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder ★★★★

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Genre: YA dystopian, science fiction
Series: Insider #1
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
ISBN: 037321006X
Page Count: 315



Summary:

Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.

So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous--the only neck at risk is my own.

Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.

I should have just said no...

REVIEW


Another excellent tale by Maria V. Snyder. And the first of her books that I, personally, would categorize as a YA novel. Even though most of her stuff gets lumped into that genre since it has little sex or swearing, but otherwise has themes that are adult in nature; violence, murder and sexual assault to name a few. Here, however, the main character seemed younger, the love interest was her own age for a change, and it just had a much younger feel to it all round.

It's a very interesting place Snyder has created in Inside Out. I hesitate to use the term "world building" as that seems a little too expansive in this case. But "Inside", the setting for this novel, was a very interesting place to read about. As was the society that lived within its walls. I can't say too much more about it since a lot of the plot drives you towards finding out the answers to exactly what and where Inside is, but let's just say the journey was gripping, and the reveal, a BIG surprise.

I really enjoyed Trella's character. The second main character I've read in consecutive books to have little time or patience for her fellow man (I just recently finished Julie Kagawa's Immortal Rules). Trella begins the book with precisely one friend, one person she cares about, and even he says she has a funny way of showing it. She basically hates her life squashed in amongst all the other scrubs on the lower levels of Inside, so she spends as much of her time as possible in the only place there is to be alone for a scrub such as she: in the pipes and heating shafts that snake throughout every part of Inside.

And since her job is as a cleaner of said pipes, she at least has a valid reason for being there. But her reluctance to come down and mingle with the rest of the sheep, and her apparent disdain for everyone that isn't her childhood friend Cogan, results in her earning herself the nickname "Queen of the Pipes". It's meant to be a derogatory term from those who gave it to her originally, but Trella herself is actually quite proud of the moniker. As well she should be, because it certainly comes in handy in this book...

 "I do know I felt as if my heart had been shredded when I found you in our storeroom, unconscious and bleeding. And leaving you with Vinco in the holding cells was the hardest thing I've ever done." 


There is a sweet and subtle romance threaded throughout the novel. The romance part of it is minimal, but the character is present for much of the book and I really enjoyed him. In fact, Trella attracts a nice little bunch of secondary characters as the story progresses and she also goes through quite a transformation as a protagonist too. Preconceived ideas and prejudices just cannot withstand the force of being knocked upside the head with the stunning truth of the real situation they are in.

So come on, you know you want to know where Inside is now. And let me assure you, the journey to finding out is well worth the taking.

4 Stars! ★★★★

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