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{April 9, 2013}   {Review} Outside by Shalini Boland (Outside #1)

10863979From Goodreads: The future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you’re inside you’re lucky. If you’re outside, life expectancy takes a nose dive.

Riley is fortunate to have been born on the right side of the fence. But her life of privilege comes crashing down when someone breaks through and murders her sister.

She forsakes her own safety to go in search of the killer. Luc decides to go with her otherwise she’ll be dead before she’s past the security gate. But what awaits her outside is more unbelievable that she ever imagined.

Cut to the present day where Eleanor’s world is falling apart. This time next year, civilisation won’t be quite so civilised…

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I really, really enjoyed this novel!  Boland has created just the right mix of present and future interactions that it blows the mind.  One of the aspects I really enjoyed was the fact that this novel takes place in the future, as in, most of the action is in the future, it’s the future we’re focused on, which feels like the present, but it’s not.  The novel cuts back and forth between the future and present day, and it’s these small snippets of the present that show us exactly why everything is panning out in the future as it is.  I know, that probably sounds confusing, and I’m not explaining it well enough, but just know this: it works.  Very well.  Boland takes the idea of a post-apocalyptic world and flips it on its side by using the present/future to tell the story, instead of the past/present style that so many authors employ.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed was that Riley is on the right side of the fence, aka. the safe side.  In many of the post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read, the main character is usually outside trying to get in, and I found it unique and interesting that in Boland’s novel, Riley is on the inside trying to get out.  This change of perspective was awesome, especially as we learn that the inside is actually quite a nice, safe, great place, free from tyranny and hatred. It is the outside that is a mess…

Boland opens this riveting futuristic novel with the death of Riley’s sister.  As the intruder is believed to be an outsider, and then pinpointed as someone employed inside the fence, Riley takes matters into her own hands in attempts to catch the suspected murderer, since no one else is doing anything about it.  It’s too dangerous on the outside, and there aren’t enough people to be trusted out there, so… case closed.  But not for Riley.

I really enjoyed Riley’s resolve to find the murdered and bring him to justice.  While some of the situations and circumstances Riley and Luc, her long-time crush, get into seem a little far-fetched, Boland did a great job building up the world in which they live, explaining their ability to fight and their armor covered cars very well.  The back and forth narration giving readers a peak into the present, into the life that Eleanor lives and the tragedy that is about to strike in the terrorist attacks was amazing, and even though it took me a while to figure out how all the pieces fit together, I really loved the mystery of it all.  Eleanor’s story was gut-wrenching and poignant, but perhaps even more sad is the fact that her decisions in the present affect everyone in the future.  A ripple effect, as it were.  If you liked Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, then you really need to read this novel.  Four and a half stars.

4.5 stars

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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