I actually met Maria Snyder several months before I'd even touched one of her books, after the lovely Zenita D and I went to her book signing to support a friend who helped put it together. She was signing Inside Out, and I didn't make the connection between her and the other series of hers that I read last year, the glass series, until Zenita pointed it out to me a few months ago. When I saw Inside Out again recently, I couldn't help but pick it up in the hopes of it being as good as the glass series. I'm really happy I did!
Inside Out is about Trella, who is a member of the low class in the Inside. Note the capital I. The inside is a huge structure that is made of metal and interwoven with hundreds of pipes and vents. As a member of the lower class, called the scrubs, Trella's entire life consist of mind numbing work, in her case that of cleaning the small pipes that only she and those of her size can fit into. Other scrubs do everything from fixing the parts of the Inside to doing the cooking or tending the hydraulics, and all scrub grow up taken care of by Care Mothers, never knowing their parents or siblings. Scrubs are ruled over by the Pop Cops, who are part of the upper class, and who ensure that the scrubs follow the rules and can't rebel. Trella is the Queen of the Pipes, meaning that she considers scrubs useless, and spends most of her time sleeping and hanging out in the pipes themselves. This changes after her one friend, whom she grew up with, Cog, finds a prophet. Prophets are common, always preaching about a mirror of Christianity, and how one can go Outside if they are good during their lives Outside. Trella has never given into them, until the newest one that Cog finds happens to ask for her by name. And more than that, he may have physical proof of the exit of Inside. It's up to Trella to find out if he's telling the truth, and if so, escape.
I actually really liked this book. As always, I'm a massive fan of any kind of dystopia stuff, which Inside Out reeks of. Anything that reminds me of The Giver or anything like it makes me happy, which means that in today's YA world, I'm a pretty damn happy camper. That being said, Inside Out was good for more than just the setting.
The plot of Inside Out was really good, and Snyder is really good about foreshadowing and providing just enough hints to make the reader think without giving away the entire story. I honestly thought I knew how this was going to end from the very first few chapters, only to get to the end and be pleasantly surprised, which isn't something that happens very much, anymore. Everytime I though I knew what was going on and what was about to happen, it seemed, something else that I hadn't considered would just show up.
As far as characters go, I have to say that I'm a fan of Trella, too. She's a complete badass, which I like, without being the typical 'mary sue' boringly perfect character who just kicks every one's ass and is awesome and unbeatable. She has her flaws, she has her problems, and she actually becomes aware of these.
Overall, I have to say that I really, really liked this book, and I'll probably be grabbing the sequel, Outside In, very soon. It's a nice blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopia all in one, and I'd definitely suggest it. If you're a dystopia fan, pick up Inside Out soon, and tell me what you thought. If you like books that let you think and try and puzzle out the story before you finish it, pick up Inside out and you won't be disappointed. If you're just looking for a new book and you like sci-fi and awesome, grab Inside Out next time you're at your local library and bookstore!
And if you like Inside Out, keep watching, and I'll probably have a review of Outside In sometime soon!