Monday, February 4, 2013

Inside by Maria V. Snyder

Four walls. Four levels. Eighteen thousand people. No escape -- ever.
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...
Trealla 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...

~Print copy, 599 pages
Published: 2012 by Harlequin Teen

So, this was two novels in one. It took me about a week to read. There are a lot of hyphens in that summary. But the writing wasn't too bad in the books themselves, I don't think. (I finished these last Thursday. I'm writing this on Monday.)

What did I think?.... It's kind of hard to articulate.

On the one hand, the premise is cool. I mean, an overcrowded cube, full of people who think the outside world's a myth, or heaven or some such? Also, I liked Trella in the beginning. She was kind of... rough, but smart. Street smarts, or cuve smarts; she hid in pipes away from other people, and relied on no one but herself. And maybe her friend, Cog.

On the other hand, I didn't realize this involved romance. I'm not saying with who. Go read it yourself. But especially in Outside In, the romance kind of distracted from the action for me, and I am very displeased with romance-in-general. I did not want to hear of Trella's hormones; I wanted to hear about her actions, and reactions.

The book I read before this one also had romance in it, and the pair of them sort of sent me into a moping-about. It threw off my normal reading; and not really in a good way. All weekend, I've been picking up books and setting them back down after 10 pages, even if I was sort of interested. I kept thinking, why read when all I'll find is romance? Romance, which I've never been inclined to experience myself and don't appreciate finding in books?

Yes, it's bad to bring other books into this when I'm reviewing only this (these) book(s). But books are all about what you bring to them, and I sort of brought a depressed little oh-romance-sucks-why-me? cloud to this duo.

This is why I write, I tell myself. So that I can find my soul reflected in books, and hopefully some asexual teenager like myself one day picks it up and smiles in relief, knowing s/he's found a reflected soul in my book.

But I digress. This is a book review, not my ramble on romance.

Overall, the book had a cool premise. I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. Good writing. Decent characters. Trella, actually, gets a little shakier near and through the 2nd book, in my opinion. She was cool in the first book, because she knows her way around and doesn't listen or care about anyone, but then in the second book she's sort of limited to and starts acting like the Uppers, who are the equivalent of ignorant rich people with cushy jobs.

The romance threw me off the deep end a little. I should read more MG. It has less hormones. YA is full of romance disguised as fantasy, sci-fi, etc. What I define romance, though, is: the presence, no matter how slight, of a romantic relationship between the main or one of the major-minor characters and someone else. Which, when I put it that way, is quite a few YA books. I hope to change that with my own writing, even if I have to write 80 YA-books-without-any-hint-of-romance by myself.

Gah! Another mini-rant! I'm getting better at catching myself.

Anyways... this book I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't have a problem. Which is pretty much 99% of the population. I'm that 1%. Or rather, I'm that .09% and there's a few more non-romance-lovers who make up the other... however-much%.

The first I would rate, maybe, a 3.25 stars. The second is a solid 3 stars, or maybe even 2.75 stars. I'm sorry, but I can never get past serious romance, like the 2nd book had. (Not sex or anything, just an actual relationship.) So together, they're a 3.


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