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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Inside Out/Outside In (Insider #1 & 2) by Maria V. Snyder

the cover of my omnibus
The world of Inside is simple. Do your job, stay out of the way and don't dream of anything better. Because as every Scrub knows, there are no other options.

Until Trella—the Queen of the Pipes, as some call her—gets involved with a revolution that will rock her world….

Trella was just doing a favor for a friend—her only friend. Hiding an injured man from the Pop Cops seemed easy enough—though dangerous. But then she discovered that the myths of Outside might be real….

Being Inside's hero only left Trella with more work. Ducking those responsibilities, she continued to explore her stark world—and found something she never expected. Strangers. From Outside…

Released: December 20, 2011          Pages: 600
Publisher: Harlequin Teen               Source: Bought
paperback Outside In cover
Note: I'm reviewing the entire series in one review.  The Insider series has two separate novels, Inside Out and Outside In.  I'm reviewing them as one unit because I actually own both books in one volume.  And because you'd rather have one good quality review than two rushed reviews.

First Look: *****I picked this up because the premise looked interesting. Also, I very much enjoyed Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study and Magic Study. (I haven't read Fire Study yet. I doubt I'll ever get to it, since I've been meaning to since sixth grade and still haven't gotten around to it.) I loved Poison Study, but then again, that was fifth grade.

Setting: ***** It took me forever to figure out what the setting actually was.  Was it a random compound in the middle of nowhere?  Underground?  A random little cube, Incarceron-style?  Well, apparently the characters didn't know either, until the end of the first book.  But why didn't anyone say that?  It's much less confusing for me to know that the characters don't know, and accept that, than to be left hanging.

And we found out what it actually was, and it was on the predictable side.  I'd had my suspicions.  Even once I knew, though, I still could never get a good visual.  A simple map or diagram or something on the inside cover would've been fabulous. 

hardcover Inside Out cover
Characters: ***** Trella annoyed me.  That's what it all boils down to.  I didn't like her.  She was inconsistent--in the first book, she's all about taking risks.  Then in the second one, she keeps trying to think she's being cautious but she's actually not.  And if she was such a loner and everyone thought of her as such, why did she have such an easy time making friends and gaining support?

Everyone else seemed a bit flat.  The only thing that stops me from giving this category one star is Riley.  Frankly, Riley was adorable.  Other than that...nobody else did anything for me.

Plot: ***** Um...can someone please explain to me how this entire society was completely controlled by the Pop Cops (who have all the weapons, by the way), until a riot started?  And then, as soon as people started rioting and creating chaos (not even a planned rebellion, really, just some spontaneous chaos), these unarmed and unorganized people overpowered the people will stun guns?  This makes no sense at all.  Unplanned, uncoordinated chaos is not how you bring down tyrannical governments (not that I have experience with this, but still). 

The plot had some interesting points, but these were overshadowed by quite a bit of extraneous stuff that got repetitive to me.  This person is trustworthy!  Oh, wait, no!  Just kidding, I trust this other pers--JK, LOL, I don't.  Just figure out who your real friends are, Trella, 'kay?  Also, the ending felt rushed, to me.

One more thing.  The Pop Cops were super quick to kill-zap an innocent guy with seemingly no evidence.  No one had the authority or ability to question them.  Yet Trella runs around, raises everyone's suspicions, and does some pretty sketchy things.  By this same logic, the Pop Cops should have kill-zapped her, because they had plenty of reason to believe she was guilty of something or other.  But they didn't, because without that, it would have been a short book.  Even so, this is no excuse for having plot points that aren't logical.

Uniqueness: ***** Let's see...enclosed society, mysterious force that controls everyone (the YA dystopian equivalent of the "they" that people blame things on), overly tough loner girl, looming secret, unexplained futuristic society....  If you think that sounds a bit like three-quarters of all YA dystopians that have been published in wake of The Hunger Games, you'd be exactly correct.

Writing: *****
The typos, the typos!   There.  Were.  So.  Many.  Typos.  There were weirdly placed commas, and commas that were just plain in the wrong place, or absent when they should have been present.  The prose was rushed and made it easy for me to miss some key info. 

But then, there's the typos.  Why do publishers let this happen?  It seems to me that if a sixteen-year-old can sit here and point out all the mistakes, you've got a problem. 

Likes: Sheepy. 

Not-so-great: I think we all know by this point what I didn't like.

Overall: This was a book with a cool premise that fell flat.  The main character, Trella, annoyed me and was inconsistent.  None of the other characters really made up for that.  The plot had aspects that just plain made no sense, or contradicted other plot points.  It wasn't very unique.  It was full of typos and weird grammar.  I don't recommend this.  If you're looking for a great YA sci-fi or dystopian, there are better ones out there I could recommend to you.

Similar Books: It has some of the tight spaceship-y feel of glow Glowthe romance element of Matched, and a main character similar to the one in Shatter Me.
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