Friday, August 23, 2013

Review - Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Inside Out (Insider, #1)Title: Inside Out
Series: Insiders (Book #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: 2010
Pages: 320, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 3.86 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13? (Some kissing and some violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.

I'm 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.

This book was my August Random Read and, while I didn't remember adding it to my TBR list, I was excited about reading it once I read the blurb.  It seemed like it would be right up my alley and... well, it was!  I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

The book follows Trella, a seventeen-year-old girl who has been raised in an overpopulated world - essentially a giant box, six stories high.  The living conditions in the lower levels are miserable and Trella pretty much avoids the craziness of her world by escaping into the ducts where she works.  She has remained detached from most of the people around her until her one and only real friend, Cog,  puts the idea of Outside into her head. She doesn't believe the stories of Outside and only wants to prove Cog wrong, but somehow she finds herself becoming the key player in a rebellion - whether she likes it or not!

What I wasn't crazy about:
  • Slightly rushed ending.  The ending of the book felt a little bit rushed.  It wasn't horrible, but enough to make me take off a half star or so.  I felt like the book spent a lot of time building up to something big and then everything kind of happened at once at the very end.
  • Characters without curiosity.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  The main character is handed the key to her past and says, "Eh, no thanks, I don't really need to know anything about that."  This really bugs me when it happens in a book because it just feels like a way to keep the reader in the dark (but still throw us a bone to let us know that there's something interesting that we could learn at some point).  I've just never known anyone with a complete lack of curiosity before and this seems to happen in books quite often.
What I loved:
  • Trella.  Often when a character is detached, I have trouble connecting with them as well, but that didn't happen in this book.  I think that it helped a lot that Trella did have a strong relationship with Cog - so even though she says she doesn't really have many other connections, we have this one important relationship to help us see who she really is.  Trella is an intelligent, incredibly strong character who (despite her protests to the contrary) puts others above herself.  I loved that even though she felt disillusioned with life, she still held out a small spark of hope that things could be better - a spark that she couldn't shake, no matter how hard she tried to convince herself it wasn't there.  It made her a very interesting character because she was so conflicted about everything that was going on around her.
  • A minor romance.  The romance in this book was actually not a huge c0mponent of the book, which I kind of appreciated in this case.  I think the story would have been stalled if Trella had stopped worrying about keeping herself and her friends alive so that she could ponder her love life.  That didn't happen here.  There was a romance - and I felt like it was relatively believable, but it didn't take center stage in the novel and it didn't take away from the main plot.  
  • The  twists.  There were quite a few twists and turns in the last quarter or so of the book - a few that I saw coming, and some that I didn't.  Throughout the book, you never quite knew which characters were trustworthy and which weren't.  I did not see the major twist coming at all (though maybe I should have), and I LOVED it!
I thought that this book was an exciting read, with high stakes and full of twists.  I can't wait to find out what happens next - in fact, I already got my hands on book #2, so I can't find out.  I highly recommend Inside Out to dystopian and fantasy fans! 4/5 Stars.