09 April 2015

Title: Inside Out (Insiders #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Mira Ink
From: Second hand bookshop
Format: Paperback, 315 pages (January 1st 2011)
Add to: Goodreads
Order a copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: 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...

Review: 5 stars - When I read this book a few years ago on a borrowed kindle from a friend, I wasn’t that enamoured with it. I had read and loved Snyder’s Chronicles of Ixia novels (Study and Glass series) and I suppose I thought Inside Out would be the same and it wasn’t.

On my previous read I only rated Inside Out with 3 stars. This time it gets a full 5 stars.

After years of waiting (I don’t know why); I finally acquired Outside In (Insiders #2) for Christmas. Snyder was also doing a book signing near where I live at the end of March, so I knew I had to read the books, and being so long ago that I read Inside Out, it deserved a re-read.

As a fan of what I now know to be sci-fi dystopian fiction, having read a lot of well known titles, it finally twigged in my mind that Inside Out is just that. I think my relatively new love of genre has made me enjoy the book even more.

Trella is a scrub, she works in the lower levels of Inside. She keeps her nose out of trouble and herself to herself with the exception of Cogon- her one friend. The Upper levels of Inside are where the named families live in comfort in their individual apartments and lack of manual labour. The scrubs keep Inside going, where as the Uppers man the computers.

Trella is known amongst the other scrubs for her need to hide in the pipes/air ducts which cover Inside. Earning her the nickname “Queen of the Pipes”.

Cogon comes to Trella one day and wants to introduce her to a prophet who has knowledge of Gateway- the door to Outside. Prophets have stated the same thing in the past, and Trella has gone along to appease Cog who really believes there is something else out there.

Domotor the prophet known amongst the Insiders as “Broken Man”, was previously living with the Uppers has been sent to the lower levels of Inside because he got too nosey and started delving into files he shouldn’t have been looking at. He knows a lot about Inside, including Trella’s real name and who her parents are. Most Scrubs go by their first name and don’t know their family names because they are brought up by a care mother.

Trella decides that out of curiosity she will try and find the disks that “Broken Man” has hidden above his old room in the Upper floors. Little does she know this search will be the start of something she never thought possible.

Inside Out is a fast paced sci-fi novel that brings to the forefront a few key themes that often make dystopian fiction what it is. It brings into question the class system and authorative control  in its own way. Friendship, first love (although it’s not the main theme in the story and doesn’t take anything away from the sci-fi adventure itself), deception, adventure and it reminds us that even when times are hard, there is hope.

I love Trella’s character. Yes she is a loner, but she has her reasons. She has a feisty, sometimes snarky personality and always tries to see the full picture. She has been let down before and doesn’t want it to happen again. She is relentless and won’t give up on something because it doesn’t go right first time. But at the same time she has a caring side.

Cogon ‘Cog’ initially seems like a nice guy, he wants to protect Trella like a big brother would as they were brought up by the same care mother. As time goes on we see the true Cog and I went a complete 180 on loving this character to hating him.

Riley- can I surround him with love hearts?
He’s a sweetheart. The way he treats Trella and talks to her without the usual Scrub stigma is great. He doesn’t treat her like most Uppers would with Scrubs; he treats her as an equal, even if their initial meeting isn’t the best.
Riley has toys from his childhood “Sheepy” the sheep and Mama Sheepy and he uses them unintentionally at first to bond with Trella and then as their relationship progresses it’s something to keep their friendship.
Although he shouldn’t help Trella he does and then near to the end of the book he damn near makes me cry.

The rest of the characters in the book- Jacy, Anne-Jade and Logan hold their own special charm and place in this book. I can’t wait to see what happens in Outside In. These characters will hopefully have the chance to flourish.

One last mention goes to Domotor a.k.a. “Broken Man”. He plays a huge part in the background for this book and without him Trella wouldn’t have gotten her into as many fixes as she does.

I felt that all the way through I wasn’t sure whether to trust him or not- probably Snyder’s intention to add to the mystery of his allegiance to the Upper or Lower floors.

I also felt at times he was very ungrateful. Trella helped keep him alive and yet he complains he’s been left alone. I’d rather be alone and alive knowing people are fighting for me than dead.

Inside Out is a gem of dystopian sci-fi fiction, I know I will be recommending for years to come.

Recommended for fans of Maria V. Snyder’s other books. Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner series.

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