Trella is a scrub. She lives in the lower levels of Inside with all the other scrubs - or at least she's supposed to. Trella mostly lives in the pipes. Her job is to clean them but she also prefers to be there when she's not working. Trella doesn't like scrubs much so she'd rather be on her own ... except for Cog.
Cog is Trella's best friend and almost like a brother to her. They grew up in the care facility together and he's the only one Trella trusts and cares about. That's why she agrees to talk to the prophet. She hopes she can convince Cog that the prophet's tales about Outside are wrong. Instead she finds herself involved in a revolution.
Inside Out is an amazing, action packed fantastically written story full of twists and turns that keep you guessing what is going to happen. Everytime I thought I'd worked it out, something happened to make me think otherwise.
The book throws you straight into the action. The rules and customs of Inside aren't explained outright but you pick them up as the plot develops which is a great way to do it. If it had all been set out at the beginning it would have been a slow start.
The characters in this book are great. It's obvious that they all have a detailed backstory that fleshes out their personality and they all have their own important part of the plot. While Trella isn't the most loveable character, I definitely found myself identifying with her. Living in a cramped over-populated area, It's fully understandable that she'd much rather be elsewhere. Her doubts about Outside existing and her efforts at not becoming close to the other scrubs are just her way of not being hurt or disappointed later on.
A fantastic read for dystopian, sci-fi fans.
on 12 June 2010
I've never read a Maria V. Snyder book before, so I picked up Inside Out based purely on its intriguing dystopian premise. I can't get enough dystopia, and Snyder's popularity led me to expect great things from this YA sci-fi offering. And boy, did it deliver.
Inside Out is the story of Trella, who is one of her world's scrubs. She exists to fulfil her function as a worker, and risks being 'recycled' if she stops being useful or starts posing a threat to the Pop Cops, who govern Inside with a regime of fear. She only has one friend, she doesn't plan to find a mate or have children, and she's hostile to the prophets who surface every now and then, speaking to the scrubs of 'Gateway' - a rumoured secret exit to whatever lies beyond. Trella's never believed in Gateway, but when an act of curiosity brings her under the Pop Cops' spotlight, she finds herself drawn into the search for this mythical doorway and becomes a symbol of scrub rebellion. In the process she also encounters Riley, a member of the Upper society that Trella credits with keeping scrubs down. Except... he's lovely, and the friendship that unfolds between them gives this sci-fi adventure a welcome gentle side. With snarking, of course.
For all Trella's efforts to escape the confines of Inside, it's a pretty fascinating place for a reader to visit. First, there's the lower levels, where the scrubs live. There you'll find barracks, a canteen serving spinach-flavoured slop, hydroponics, and care facilities where all scrub children are raised - ten kids to one Care Mother. The higher levels are inhabited by the uppers, who actually get their own quarters and a shot at family life. Then there's the huge network of ducts and pipes where few ever enter, except for those like Trella who work shifts cleaning them - ten hours off, ten hours off, for week after hundred-hour week. It's Trella's knowledge of this network that's earned her the nickname 'Queen of the Pipes', and that makes her the perfect candidate for the quest to find Gateway. She's also gutsy, smart, and a total trooper of a YA heroine. Or to put it another way, she rocks.
The fact is, Inside Out is everything you could want in a YA dystopian novel. Loner heroine with the hidden potential to lead a revolution? Check. Intriguing set-up with secrets galore to uncover? Got it. The makings of an addictively unlikely romance? Sure thing. Oppressed masses, imagination-pleasing gadgets, a truly evil female villain... It's all there. It's tense and exciting and compelling and at times it's even... cute. In fact, if I have any doubts about this one, it's that it's a little too spot on. I usually like my dystopians slightly on the out-of-the-ordinary side, and for me Inside Out reads more like it's written to formula. A really, really perfect formula. It even manages to deliver an ending that is simultaneously satisfying and cliffhanging, and that's no small achievement. So, I won't hold its perfection against it. I loved every minute, and I'm counting the weeks till the sequel, Outside In, hits bookstore shelves in 2011.
Inside Out is a book that'll whisk you off to its fascinating future world from the very first page, take you on a breathtaking dystopian adventure, and leave you clamouring for more. It's the kind of book that makes your imagination happy. I'd recommend it to YOU. Yes, you. Go on, read yourself some dystopian goodness.
on 12 April 2010
Snyder's Inside Out has all the pace and intricate plot of her all her other series, despite the YA Classification. The characters are lovable and charismatic and fully rounded: there were no moments when I was wishing for more. Inside Out had me on the edge of my seat the whole way, I was completely drawn in to Snyder's new world and was dissapointed at the end of the book when it spat me out. An exciting, lightly romantic thriller that I would be happy to read again and again.
on 26 January 2011
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%
on 1 February 2011
I'm a big fan of Maria V Snyder but compared with her Study and Glass series this one wasn't as good. It's well written and fast paced but I found I got boed half way through and couldn't wait to finish the book. It kept flitting all over the place which I know was the theme of the book but I found it made it hard to remember who was who and make a imaginary world in my head.
But saying all that I will be buying Outside In when it's published.
on 11 January 2012
Inside Out is one of those books that dangles a really good idea in you... and then fails to deliver.
Inside Out is set in a dystopian future where our heroine Trella lives in a mysterious world known as Inside. Trella is a lower-class citizen - one of the thousands of Scrubs whose sole purpose in life is to keep Inside functioning for the upper-class citizens (Uppers). Without intending it, Trella soon becomes the unlikely leader of a revolution.
Unfortunately, I found so much wrong with this book that the brilliant idea wasn't enough to keep me interested. To start with, this is one of those books that takes a long time to get going. It's a given that with any book set in a world different to our own, a fair amount of time is going to be spent describing it so that the reader can understand the plot. Yet in my opinion there was too much of this in Inside Out: for instance, a lot of time was spent describing how Inside is made up, mentioning various floors and sectors and whereabouts they are in Inside, none of which was very interesting. At the beginning of the book there is more information than action, and any action is limited to Trella eating in the cafeteria, Trella cleaning the pipes, which, while it is Trella's day-to-day life, isn't very interesting. And then, to further disappoint, when the action finally began it all happened very quickly leaving any interesting scenes feeling rushed, especially the climax. There also wasn't much imaginative description and I found it quite difficult to imagine Trella's world.
I also found the whole book to be quite forced. I enjoy books where the characters are so well created they feel real; they act of their own will and not to fit in with the pre-conceived plot. Yet this is not how Inside Out worked: the characters felt forced and 2d, the villains didn't know why they were being evil, Trella's friends were created with the sole purpose of helping her with the revolution (imagine Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter existing solely to help Harry defeat Lord Voldemort and not being developed further than that), and even Trella herself seemed to change personality very quickly as the book went on. Going back to the Harry Potter analogy, one of the great things about it is that J.K. Rowling was always very aware of the limits of magic; but Snyder didn't have any limits for the technological gadgets that were used to help Trella. She seemed to bend the characters, the sub-plots and any inventions so that the book would end the way she wanted, leaving inconsistencies, gaping holes, loose ends that weren't tied up, and a very predictable plot.
It wasn't the most awful book I've ever read, and I persevered enough to get to the end. It was definitely interesting, and it had definite potential. But if you're looking for something like the Hunger Games that's so well-written and so realistic you can conceive of it actually happening, something so good that you lose yourself in the book and can't put it down, this book is not that. But if you'll be satisfied with something mediocre, you might enjoy it.
on 23 March 2011
Welcome to Inside, where people in the lower levels (scrubs) work and clean and muck out for the people in the higher levels (uppers) who live in a life of luxury while the population control police (pop cops)keep everything in order...or do they?
Trella is a scrub who works cleaning the pipes and ducts, which means she can move about Inside without anyone knowing.
She explores the pipes around Inside for the challenge and thrill, but the queen of the pipes is soon offered a dangerous task of finding proof for the existence of Gateway, the door to Outside which is a myth on par to our heaven in the Inside world; a myth Trella refuses to believe in and has no time for. Soon her curiosity get's the best of her and she accepts the job with the determination to prove that Outside isn't real.
I'm a big fan of Maria V. Snyder's work and was a little disappointed to find her new books aren't set in the magical fantasy world that I enjoyed so much; however I was soon loving the world that is Inside within the first chapter thanks for Maria's wonderful writing skills.
The way she throws you into a story that grips your total attention within the first chapter and tells you enough details about this new world that you can fully imagine it without boring you with walls of descriptive text is truly wonderful.
The only bad thing I can say about this story is that the romance is quite obvious (and by 'quite' I mean really really smack-in-the-face obvious) but as amazon doesn't let you do half-stars I'm going to give the full 5!
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any Snyder or sci-fi fan.
I'm a new lover of everything dystopian, so when I was offered the chance to read Inside Out in advance, I jumped at the chance. Apart from Spy Glass, I was not at all familiar with Maria Snyder's work, so this was technically a new venture for me.
I loved it.
At first, it took me quite a while to get into the book. The first few pages establishes the setting and introduces our heroine, Trella. The book does this very efficiently, so despite the fact that I had to draw the basic cubic structure of the levels of Inside to aid me as I follow Trella along, soon you actually get used to the idea. I never since had any difficulties in following our heroine as she takes us readers on a very thrilling adventure.
The setting plays a huge role in how the plot progresses - and it is very claustrophobic. Pipes, air shafts, hidden rooms, cubes - you name it. The whole plot is executed in a very enclosed environment, but interestingly, as one finishes reading, it becomes clear that it is one of those book that comes from 'out of the box'. It is very, very cleverly imagined - it surprised me in exactly the way how I'd want a dystopian novel to.
I also feel like mentioning that I adored the way the social structure of Inside appears to be a reflection of the totalitarianism that modern governments seem to trudge towards. It establishes a sense of possibility in the plot.
I loved Trella as a heroine. She's fiercely independent, head-strong and daring, all of which makes her the perfect revolutionary icon. But she has many flaws, and all throughout the plot we see her being hindered by these flaws. She is cynical and distrusting and can be terribly stubborn. While secondary characters were not quite given enough focus and development, their backgrounds and back stories are not only criss-crossing, but also packed with jaw-dropping surprises and twists. I found it very clever how the author manages to surprise me again and again and again with her characters.
There is also a sprinkle of romance in this book, which was another surprise. At first I wasn't sure if there will a romance angle at all, and then I wasn't sure who Trella's mate will be (because there were quite a few to choose from) and when it all became clear...well, it was fun guessing! There was just enough romance to spice it all up and not change the flavour of the book, which I found very well done indeed!
If there were to be nit-picking the only thing I'd say would be that the high-tension scenes could have been built up better. Although there were several heart-pounding moments, I often found myself surprised that the climatic part is suddenly over. At points it felt like it was missing altogether, however that did not seem to bother me that much. Apart from that, nothing can be said about the action and sense of dread that Trella's adventures incites in the reader.
Inside Out will be appreciated by readers from across the board as there is a lot in this book to delight in -
A definite page-turner, complete with heart-pounding action and a cleverly thought-out plot. A near perfect dystopian novel!
on 3 January 2011
Having never read any of Maria V Snyder's works in the past, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I bought it from Amazon. However, what I found was an epic dystopian novel packed with a fast paced plot and fun, interesting and well developed characters.
The world in which the novel is set was brilliantly described by Snyder, and I felt so absorbed in the book it was as if I was actually there in the Inside, living through Trella's eyes. There was history behind everything, and I loved delving deeper and deeper and learning so much about the scrubs and the uppers. The division of the classes was brilliantly done, along with the descriptions of the levels and just the Inside in general.
Trella, our main protagonist, is a scrub who lives on the lower levels, earning her living through cleaning the pipes that are all over the Inside. She's a fantastic main character, I really loved her voice and her personality, and I felt she was the perfect choice to lead a rebellion against those who control her. Usually I dislike female lead characters as they tend to have a very annoying voice, and are extremely whiney. However, Trella has neither of those equalities which is why I loved her.
The ending was a huge surprise, which I did not see coming, and it left me wanting so much more! Luckily I had a galley of the second book, Outside In, waiting for me to open and start reading!
on 23 April 2011
After getting bored of the Ixia/Sitia World, where I absolutely hated the ending to Spy Glass, I must say this book put me back into reading Maria V Snyder's books.
For starters the new world, you know practically nothing when you enter the book, which could have gone either way, but because this book leads you to think what may happen, why such and such is happening, and the reasoning's behind everything about the Inside that you don't care that you know nothing of the world.
The character development I found was extremely good, it left you wondering and filled in the blanks later. The life of the Scrubs was so well described that a perfect movie will fill your head of all the events.
I won't go into too much more simply because I'm tired, and if I wanted I could go on for hours, but I would happily give this book to anyone to read.