You know you have those books that leave you in awe? That leave you inspired? That leave you wanting more? Well I just finished one. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder.
I was first introduced to Maria V. Snyder early last year when I purchased Poison Study, a story about a girl on death row given the chance to forfeit her sentence by becoming their leader’s food taster. I fell in love with the story, the characters, the fantasy realm. I knew that there were other books in the series, but past experiences with sequels prevented me from pursuing it. I wanted the end of Poison Study to be the end for me, so I didn’t venture any further.
I came across Inside Out purely because of my love of dystopian fantasy. I was browsing through Amazon reviews for great reads and Inside Out stood out for me. I was especially excited about buying and reading it for two reasons: One, it was my first Kindle purchase and Two, it was a Snyder novel – so it had to be good right?
When I first began reading it I was instantaneously worried. “Omg, this is too confusing,” “there are too many numbers,” “wait, what? Did I miss something?” and “I don’t get their world!” kept popping into my mind. The first five chapters were painfully confusing, it was because I like to have it explained to such an extent that I can picture every nook and cranny in my mind’s eye. It took a while for me to imagine the greyed and metallic environment, that was Inside, but it was worth it, by then I was already hooked. Eventually words like Pop Cops (Population Control Police), cleaning troll and kill-zapper started to sound as familiar as my own name.
The story revolves around Trella, a scrub, who, like all other scrubs, is assigned to work a specific shift – hers being the cleaning of the shafts. Nicknamed Queen of the Pipes, Trella is a Billy no mates, well aside from Cog, who hates everything about being a scrub but has resigned to her fate, just like all the others. When her care-mate and friend Cog invites her to go see a prophet, a spiritual person who spouts Pop Cop propaganda, she hesitantly agrees on the sole basis of proving the prophet wrong. However, things don’t turn out that way. The Prophet, Broken Man, insists on telling people about Gateway, a myth about a door leading to Outside. This time, though, things don’t turn out like usual visits to a prophet. Instead, the search for Gateway begins, but so does impending chaos – Trella being the centre of it.
It was more Science Fiction than fantasy, but I was captivated. The story took loads of turns that I didn’t see, especially the revelation of what truly lies Outside. Even so, this novel is your typical YA fantasy. The predictable love story, the villain and the rebel protagonist are just some of the things ticked off the YA checklist. What makes Maria V. Snyder unique is her style of writing and her ability to cross all literary boundaries, even if it means being graphic. The ability to not sugar coat left me wanting to delve deeper into certain character’s backgrounds, I was especially intrigued by Jacy and the Doc.
I’ve already bought Outside In. And Poison Study. From what I remember of Valek – he’s worth a re-read.