Outside In by Maria V Snyder

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Outside In by Maria V Snyder

Buy Outside In by Maria V Snyder at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Summary: Fast-paced with an entertaining compulsive narrative, Outside In will be lapped up by fans of the first book in the series, though not all will be satisfied by the slightly weak plot and the limited development of the dystopian setting.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Mira Ink
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0778304135

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Although the revelation that Inside, a society crammed into a self-contained cube-shaped metal hull, is actually floating through space came as a shock to the population of Inside, both the Uppers and the Lowers of society expected life to get better after the success of the revolution and the deposition of the tyrannical Travas. However, Trella learns that setting up a new society that smooths over the divides and prejudices that consumed the old one is a cumbersome process. When bombs start exploding and violence begins to flare, a new potent threat has to be confronted by the divided population of Inside, in the form of Outsiders.

I was left reeling by the thrilling conclusion of Inside Out, the first book in the series, so I expected this sequel to continue where it left off, at a rapid pace. However, the author instead cleverly chooses to slow down the pace and takes the time to underline the painfully bureaucratic process of setting up a new society where living conditions are better and fairer for all, and it isn't solely the Scrubs that are left to do all the physical labour. It was fascinating to see how the Committee was forced to implement their own police force to replace the hated Pop Cops, after realising that people won't work or adhere to rules without the threat of repercussions.

Meanwhile, Trella, who spearheaded the revolution described in Inside Out, comes to the realisation that she cannot just slip into the shadows now, and has no choice but to be involved in the centre of things. She also has to deal with a turbulent relationship with Doctor Lamont, who she struggles to accept as a mother after the Doctor's betrayal in the previous book. The second half of the book gives way to the story of an invasion of Inside by Outsiders. As the Outsiders rapidly take control of the computer systems that Inside relies on to maintain the existence of a viable environment to live in, and even technological wizard Logan struggles to combat the threat that they pose, the pressure is on Trella to discover the identity of the traitors in Inside who are aiding the Outsiders in taking over Inside. This isn't a straightforward task, with plenty of twists and turns keeping the identity of the antagonists unidentifiable until the author chooses to reveal them.

Trella's compelling narrative, pulsing with emotion and grit, is sustained skilfully by Maria V Snyder throughout, and she remains a likeable protagonist, though personally I wasn't convinced by her romance with Riley, which often gave way to soppiness that I felt didn't match Trella's character. An array of original, interesting secondary characters complement the fast-paced plot well, though the large number of characters involved does mean that character development is waylaid, and there are some niggling inconsistencies in some characters. Unfortunately, it wasn't only the characterisation that was inconsistent. The author's depiction of the technology of Inside is perplexing; on one hand, they have sophisticated computer systems, hi-tech bugs and communication systems, and on the other hand, video is heralded as something new and white boards appear to be the only way of creating a hard copy of information. This only makes it all the harder to keep up with the technological jargon that characters like Logan keep sprouting out.

The pacing of the story also feels unbalanced, with the second half of the story feeling particularly rushed and ending on a rather inconclusive note. Of the many questions provoked during the first book of the series, very few are actually answered, with less time spent on developing the dystopian world and its origins, and more on establishing the political and social situation of Inside in the aftermath of the revolution. This leads to a much more action orientated novel, with plenty of thrills and exciting action scenes, but a plot that is lacking a bit in terms of intrigue.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

There are a lot of similarities with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, both in terms of the strong, tough, female protagonist, as well as the dystopian setting, so those who enjoyed this series should give that a go. You might also want to check out The Bookbag's review of the first book in this series: Inside Out.

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Buy Outside In by Maria V Snyder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Outside In by Maria V Snyder at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Outside In by Maria V Snyder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Outside In by Maria V Snyder at Amazon.com.


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