Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inside out by Maria V. Snyder

Welcome to the Inside, the only world that Trella has ever known.  Trella is a scrub, she lives in the Lower levels and along with a multitude of other scrubs she helps to keep the Inside running for the scrubs and the lucky people who live in the Upper Levels.  The Uppers are a place that scrubs can only dream of, where there is plenty of space and everything is just so much better.  In the Lower levels everyone works in ten hour shifts of their assigned tasks, cooking, cleaning, recycling, and washing in a never ending stream of work.  Scrubs have no families, they are raised in groups of ten under a Care mother who raises them until they are of age to be assigned their future careers and then they move into the adult world of neverneding work.  Everything is controlled by the Pop Cops who keep check on their health, their lives, and their children.  It is an oppressive world that Trella escapes every chance she can get, mostly by hiding and sleeping in the pipes that she maintains - earning herself the nickname of Queen of the Pipes.

That nickname makes her the focus of interest from the latest Prophet to arrive in the Lower levels.  Trella never trusts the Prophets because they are sent by the Pop Cops to feed people dreams, ideas, and hopes to keep them inline, but the Broken Man is not like other Prophets.  Drawn into a dangerous conspiracy, Trella soon finds herself over her head as a simple act leads to dangerous and rapidly spreading consequences.  The dream of Gateway, a near-mythical exit from the world of Inside, is a powerful drawcard for a lot of the scrubs and even some of the Uppers who are not what Trella was expecting.  Drawn deeper and deeper into the conspiracy, Trella risks not only her life, but also the lives of those around her as she races against time to solve the mystery of the Gateway and the secret of what lies Outside.

This is the first of at least two books, and although the beginning was a bit odd/almost slow, the momentum builds throughout the first chapters and becomes almost impossible to put down.  The dystopia theme is very popular at the moment for young adult novels, and while it seems at first as though this may just  be one amongst many, it soon becomes clear that this is not your run of the mill dystopian novel.  Trella is a strong character, and she is supported by a cast of characters that you love and/or hate with a passion.  Hidden amongst the pages are some twists that I didn't see coming, and I won't ruin the surprise by talking about them as it may impact somewhat on your enjoyment of this fantastic novel.  I can't wait to read the sequel, Outside in.

If you like this book then try:
  • The roar by Emma Clayton
  • The sky village by Monk Ashland and Nigel Ashland
  • Because we were the travellers by Jack Lasenby
  • Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The lab by Jack Heath

Reviewed by Brilla

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