Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle

Title: The Sky Inside
Author: Clare B. Dunkle
Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2008)

My Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

Wow, okay. 
I didn’t like The Hunger Games, and couldn’t get into Divergent. I am not a fan of all the popular dystopias, but dystopia is my favorite genre. I was desperately looking for a truly good dystopia when I stumbled upon The Sky Inside. And wow, did it fulfill my expectations! 

Plot: What did I like about it?  I loved Martin’s dystopian world, and all the details associated with it. While the characters were somewhat one-dimensional, they were developed to a point where you did care about what happened to Cassie and the other characters. For me, it is the details that make a dystopia, and this book was rich in descriptions and details for every last thing. I really enjoyed the way this novel portrayed kids hating having to watch television, and there were several laugh-out-loud moments for me. The bots and “toys” were a picture of dystopia and written well. The mystery behind it all had me turning page after page, wondering what exactly would happen next. I won’t spill any more details for all of you who plan to read it, but let me say I found it amazing.


Negatives: On the downside, I found the plot somewhat hard to keep track of. The author’s ideas were very complex, and she seemed to have trouble describing and putting to paper (or so it seemed), and I found myself, on few occasions, rereading page after page to find out what exactly Martin is doing, and why. It did not affect the whole scheme of things, but it was annoying to having to keep rereading things. The plot proved to be somewhat predictable as well.

Characters/Plot: As for Martin as a character, I felt he did not truly feel enough; such as when he steps out into the open and sees the skies for the first time, or when he finally finds Cassie. Also, the ending was not at all what I was wanting, or expecting. It was waaaaaaay too simple and easy. Martin is convinced—along with us readers— that Motley, the guy who took his sister away to a “school”, has not taken her to a school, but to a place to die. So Martin embarks on this epic journey until he reaches the so-called school, and who knew? It actually was just a school, just like Motley had said. 
Yet, the explanations were well-written and easy to understand.

Ending: On the other hand, I did like the ending in the sense that it was open for a sequel without being a cliffhanger or leaving too many things unanswered. While enough is resolved so we are content, enough is left open to be resolved in the sequel, so even though the ending is abrupt, we are satisifed. (Well, despite that sudden need to read the sequel.) What about the game shows? The bots? Government agents and such? Etc, etc? What about all that? 

Other Notes: I will note there were several, maybe-too-close similarities to the Giver—escaping into the true world + climate in particular. However, that was really the only thing that stuck out to me as “Giver!”, and it was easy to overlook; overall, I enjoyed it.

To summarize, even though there were things I disliked, the good things outweighed the bad things by far. Very intriguing, suspenseful, and just overall an amazing book. If you are a dystopian-loving person like me, but you won’t take just any old dystopia (example, you don’t like Hunger Games), then this is for you. Clean, good topic, and no physical violence, I’d recommend this for all ages. FIVE STARS!!!!

P.S. I’ve seen other people compare it to The Other Side of the Island (Allegra Goodman) and I will say, after reading the reviews, the similiarities are DEFINITELY there. However, I completely overlooked it during the read and it didn’t even enter my mind. I am a HUGE fan of Island, and this didn’t even strike me as copying. Just reassuring all you Island fans out there :)

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