I have read both of Maria V. Snyder's previous series and have found them to be entertaining, engaging and addictive for their own individual reasons. So it was with high hopes that I started Outside In.
Firstly I should point out that I was bought this as a present from someone who knew I loved Snyder's previous work. Secondly, that I did not know this was the second in the series.
It begins with an introduction to the ship which is the place where the human race now exists, spinning across space with layer after layer of living compartments inside it and even more unexplored levels. The revolution is at an end, the dictators have been overthrown and we enter the world of Inside at the point of committees and paperwork, where practical solutions to the aftermath of social disruption are being discussed. And Trella, the heroine of the hour, the instigator of the revolt, the leader of the force of sheep, wants nothing to do with it.
Having set her fellow Insiders on the right path and removed the power crazed Travas and Pop Cops from the equation, she only wants to be allowed to continue her exploration of the spaces above the living levels that have been found and return to relative anonymity. But after a couple of homemade bombs start to make life not only difficult but downright dangerous for those Inside, it seems as though Trella won't have much choice in the matter. Especially not now there is the offer of a solution, but it's a solution that no one ever thought possible.
I managed to read the majority of the book and not miss having not read the first one so on this point I applaud Snyder for being able to write a standalone novel in part of a series; an ability I have found few books to possess. Also, the wonderfully original story line is a trait I am coming to link synonymously with Maria Snyder's work. That said I was bitterly disappointed in the book as a whole.
If you're picking up this series to read because you have previously read the Yelena Zaltana Poison Study (Book 1 in The Study Trilogy) (MIRA)
or the Opal Cowan Storm Glass (Opal Cowan Trilogy - Book 1) (MIRA)
series as I have done then unfortunately you will not find the same flowing description and dialogue in these books. The adolescent first person description is probably very true to the main character of Trella but by the second chapter I was sick of the slang and spoon fed description in the book. The characters themselves seemed very two dimensional and their back stories almost forced to fit the mould needed to make their motives credible. Perhaps it was the previously encountered controlled and stoic Valek that ruins Riley for me or the barely suppressed maternal flutterings of Iris that destroyed any empathy I could feel for Doctor Lamont, but whatever it was I could not bring myself to feel enough for the characters to care about their outcome. Sure by the end of the book, I wanted it to end well but unfortunately, more than that, I just wanted it to end.
I am almost ashamed to write this review because it wasn't a bad book; it wasn't even a poor book. It had all the ingredients to be a very good Sci-Fi / Fantasy and the author with the talent and imagination to carry it off. Maybe I was expecting too much, maybe I have only myself to blame. Maybe the first of Snyder's books spoilt me into expecting too much, but for whatever the reason I have been left very much wanting at the end Outside In and it had left me thoroughly disappointed and slightly concerned about what is next to come.