Outside In by Maria V Snyder
Outside In picks up the story from Inside Out with a nice introduction that provides a recap from the previous book. If you haven’t read Inside Out then please don’t read this review as it will contain spoilers.
At the start of this story Trella and the rest of the inhabitants of Inside are trying to establish a new order following the overthrow of the Travas and the Pop Cops. Unfortunately this causes a lot of disagreement and settling upon any way forward is not easy, particularly as the uppers and the lowers still have a lot of mutual mistrust and resentment. Strangely enough at the beginning of the book it’s almost as though one system of tyranny as simply been replaced with another. Previously we had the Travas ruling everybody and running the entire system ruthlessly using the Pop Cops to enforce their law. Now we have the Committee and the Mop Cops. Granted they’re not as bad as the previous system but they’re definitely not getting things right and the general populace are becoming discontent. They’ve had their rebellion but nothing has changed.
Really Trella needs to step up and help to change things but she is scared of the responsibility and afraid that she will make mistakes so she resigns herself as advisor to the Committee and returns to what she knows best. Exploring.
This is when everything really begings to go wrong. Somebody is sneaking around planting bombs and succeeding in causing extensive damage to Inside. Trella doesn’t know who to trust any more and something is trying to get Inside.
I thought the story was very fast paced and constantly changing. This is a really gripping book and Trella is such an excellent character. She’s strong and capable and doesn’t shirk from doing what’s necessary. Maria Snyder has managed to throw into this a good deal of intrigue, a little romance, adventure and a lot of twists in the plot.
The Outsiders were sufficiently creepy and a bit of a surprise.
In terms of the ending – I thought the final few pages wrapped up the story very nicely if a little rushed and there are still a few questions unanswered but perhaps there’s going to be a third book?
Criticisms – nothing really major, I have enjoyed all of Maria Snyder’s stories. She’s a wonderful writer who creates likable characters and new worlds that are rich in detail. The only thing I felt a bit lacking in this novel was the absence of the population on the whole. It felt a little bit as though it was just Trella and a few other named individuals almost acting in a bubble without a real feeling for any of the other people from either the upper or lower sections. Apart from that I think this is a very enjoyable read and anybody who likes fast paced stories with plenty of action and intrigue can’t fail to like this book.