Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: 1 Jan 2011
Format: Finished paperback
Starting this book, you are thrown into this strange world straight away – there are no explanations or back-story, which I much prefer as you can get going with the action from the start. Trella is one of the scrubs, who live and work in the horribly overcrowded lower levels of Inside, under the control of the Uppers who live above them. A scrub’s life sounds seriously bad, there are far too many people doing EVERYTHING right under each others noses – there is plenty of descriptions of the hot, sweaty and smelly conditions. No mention of disease or crime though, which I think is a bit unlikely given the state of their lives. Trella, understandably, likes to find a bit of peace in the pipes where she works and has explored them better than anyone else, which comes in handy later. She’s also a real loner, hates everyone else except her one friend Cog, who she grew up with in one of the artificial family groups that children are placed into. Cog persuades her to meet a prophet called Broken Man, whose tales of Outside are raising the hopes of the scrubs. Trella doesn’t believe any of it, but despite herself she is drawn into the search for the Gateway and a violent struggle against the Pop Cops (or Population Control Police) who have a fearsome reputation and a fondness for feeding people to the Chomper for recycling.
This is a fairly enjoyable book, once you’ve got your head around Trella’s world. The descriptions are good and the characters and their relationships are believable. And there’s plenty of action too – in fact sometimes it all feels just a bit relentless, whilst people (mostly Trella) seem to recover from injury remarkably quickly.
Although I wanted to finish the book, and there were plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you guessing, I can’t say that it ever really gripped me so much that I hated to put it down. Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t really relate to the world of Inside, or didn’t really like Trella very much. She was just a bit too sure of herself to be a truly likeable character, and no-one else in the book was given as much “air time”, which was a shame because I think Riley was much more interesting. Perhaps if some of the chapters had been written from his point of view I would have enjoyed it more.
Engaging plot with some events.
Writing Quality: 7/10
Good writing quality
I thought elements were not as original as they could be, but overall it was unique
They were developed well, but some of the characters I did not like as much as I should have.
I think there were a good number of descriptions, and I really enjoyed imagining the world they were in.
36/50 = 72%
Thank you to the publishers MIRA (INK) for providing me with this copy.
Check back later for my interview with Maria V. Snyder!