Book Review and Blog Tour: Outside (Outside #1) by Shalini Boland

Today’s blog tour entry is for Outside by Shalini Boland, the first in her dystopian Outside trilogy.

Book: Outside

Author: Shalini Boland

Pub Day:  August 22nd 2023 

Buy Link(s):

About the book:

A quest for the truth. A fight for survival. A love like no other.

I’ve lived all my life in the high-security compound built by my father. He’s made sure my sister and I are protected. I’ve never set foot past the perimeter wall and my only knowledge of what exists beyond are rumours of wild landscapes and violent people.

When someone from the outside finds a way in, my little sister is killed. I’m shocked and devastated. Skye was just fourteen, and she had her whole life ahead of her. I’m only a teenager myself, but I am my father’s child – headstrong and determined. I vow to find the person responsible.

My best friend, daring and smart Luc, promises to help me and together we set off into the pitch-black night. As we follow the dirt track road into the wilderness, we realise surviving in the harsh outside world is going to be a lot harder than we thought.

With only each other to rely on, sparks begin to fly between us. As we navigate our way through dense forests and twisting hills, my feelings for Luc grow stronger. But then we’re captured.

I can’t bear the thought of losing Luc and I’m desperate to get home to my family. But will this new danger finally lead me to my sister’s killer? Or will the answers change everything I thought I knew about my world?

From USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes a completely unputdownable, irresistible dystopian fiction novel of love and survival that will keep you flipping the pages until the end. Perfect for fans of Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games and Kiera Cass.

My review:

Outside gives us a glimpse at a fairly near-future dystopian England where the structure of society has fallen apart after widespread terror attacks. Riley was fortunate enough to live inside a Perimeter, one of a multiplicity of safe zones populated by the well-to-do. Walls keep those who have secure, and keep those who have not out.

But when her younger sister Skye is killed–murdered–Riley is determined that she must leave her protected home and go find the killer. Luc, her friend and her sister’s crush, goes with her. They take an armored vehicle and drive off into the unknown.

I do love a good dystopian story! With Outside, Shalini Boland gives us a likable, if somewhat inconsistent, protagonist in Riley. (To be fair, when I was 17, I could be a bit inconsistent sometimes, too.) I love that she’s desperate to find justice for her sister when the official investigation seems to be going nowhere. I want to smack her for running off without even a by your leave to her parents, because as a mom, I can imagine how her parents felt finding out she was gone. I love that she tries to resist her attraction to Luc knowing that her sister liked him. I don’t really care for the fact that, in spite of her protestations, their relationship ramps up fast when it moves past friendship, without a lot of exposition or build-up. Zero to sixty in 5.2 seconds, give or take. But whether I want to hug her or shake her, Riley absolutely evokes strong feelings, and isn’t that what a good character does?

The dual storylines woven together worked well for me. I wasn’t sure who the second character was right off the bat, but the more I read, the more it started to come together. The religious zealotry aspect is realistically creepy, and for me, it was one of the most spine-tingling parts of the book. I can see there being people like that should a scenario like this befall our world.

Without going into much detail, the revelation concerning Riley’s mother and what happened to Skye was a bit of a letdown. I mean, this is the first book in the series. Why do we have this huge question that’s the driver of the book answered already? I can only figure we’re being set up for something else in the other books. and please tell me it’s going to be a humdinger.

Overall, this is a fair description of a future that isn’t impossible to imagine for our society. It’s perhaps not quite as heavy on the threat and danger as some dystopian stories I’ve read, but Boland’s writing style is just so dang easy to read! I’m looking forward to the other books to see where she takes this.

About the author:

Shalini Boland is the USA-Today bestselling author of seventeen psychological thrillers. With over two million copies sold, her titles are published by Amazon Publishing, Audible, Bookouture, Second Sky and Grand Central Publishing.

Shalini lives by the sea in Dorset, England with her husband, two teens and their increasingly demanding dog, Queen Jess. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing (in between re-stocking the fridge and dealing with endless baskets of laundry).

She is also the author of two bestselling Sci Fi and Fantasy series as well as a WWII evacuee novel with a time-travel twist.

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One Response to Book Review and Blog Tour: Outside (Outside #1) by Shalini Boland

  1. I’m not familiar with this book, so thanks for putting it on my radar. I love dystopian stories, so I’ll have to consider this😁

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