Outside In by Maria V. Snyder – Review

— WARNINGThis review contains SPOILERS for Inside Out

Book Jacket:

Me? A leader?

Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew.

That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion—between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again—while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside.

And something from Outside wants In.

You can read an excerpt here.


I love a fun action read, and Maria V. Snyder delivers in spades with Outside In. Picking up about twelve weeks after the events of Inside Out, Maria once again takes us on a non-stop ride, as Trella has to unravel the truth behind a spree of bombings that threaten the lives of everyone Inside.

With all Maria V. Snyder books recently, I find myself wishing I had more time to catch my breath. There are a lot of interesting levels to this story – the aftermath of a breakdown in the social order, the religious beliefs of such an insular society, the truth at the heart of legends – and I can’t help feeling like the narrative kept rushing me past all these fascinating ideas. As I’ve said, I am a huge action fan, so I can understand the primacy of the narrative drive in this type of story, and I understand this is meant to be a light, escapist read, but I almost feel like Snyder isn’t doing herself enough credit. There is a detailed, fully defined world here for us to explore, and I wish we’d been given more time to see and appreciate it.

Still, Trella is a fun, never-say-die kind of girl, and watching her once again face the burden of the fate of her world leads to a nice coming of age for the character. If the first book was about Trella learning to look beyond her own self interest, eventually risking everything for a larger cause, this book is about Trella being driven towards taking on an adult role in the new world order – and not just any adult role, but that of THE leader –  and at first she turns tail and runs. I was completely sympathetic with Trella’s perspective (though I did question why everyone seemed to think one teenage girl was the answer to all their problems), and I easily understood why the more pressure Trella faced, the more stubbornly she dug in her heels – in fact, I understood it so well I had a hard time believing that no one else in this book seemed to. There was no one on her side at all, no one supporting her right to make up her own mind – even Riley, her love interest and someone you’d think would be in her corner, was putting pressure on her, to the point that it begins to fracture their relationship. It makes for an interesting look at what happens to the person who was made a symbol of a rebellion – suddenly Trella is the one everyone is looking to, and the one everyone is blaming when anything goes wrong, and it’s a terrifyingly huge responsibility looming over her. Trella’s arc revolves around her coming to terms with being a leader, whether she wants to be or not.

Plot-wise, there were some interesting twists – a new enemy, a betrayal I did not see coming – and though the end did feel a bit rushed and maybe a tad slapdash, it still was a fitting end to this duology. Riley and Trella are unquestionably a cute couple – though we really only get brief glimpses of them together – and fans of the pairing will be happy. Overall, between the two books, I do like Outside In better, and I easily scampered through this book in one sitting. It’s just fun.

Outside In is patented Maria V. Snyder, a romp that delivers non-stop action and intrigue. It may not be quite up to Poison Study‘s level, but this book is still one downright entertaining escapist read.

Byrt Grade: A-/B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Dirty Sexy Books says:

I’ve had the great pleasure of reading all of Maria V. Snyder’s books, and I’ll keep coming back for more because she’s such a smooth storyteller.  Her novels are fun, fast, and easy to read.  It doesn’t matter that this is technically a young adult story.  Anyone with a taste for science fiction will enjoy Inside Out and Outside In, because the mysteries and hardships faced by the characters are ingenious and full of surprises.  I highly recommend them both.

Anna Reads says:

I didn’t love it as much as the first book, but it really succeeded in terms of suspense. Reading this is like creeping down a dark hallway and not knowing what’s around the corner. Maria V. Snyder knows her plot. She keeps you breathless, frightened of what’s going to happen when you turn the page.

Novel Society says:

Oh my gosh!!!! I think that this might have been better than the first in the series, Inside Out. There was definitely more mystery and more running around trying to figure out what is going on and who is doing the things that are endangering the lives of Inside