The Place Inside the Storm

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

As dystopian stories go, The Place Inside the Storm is an average read. The plot is intriguing. The characters are likeable. Overall, however, something is missing. Perhaps the story line could have been tighter and the characters more substantial. Overall an okay read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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3.5

This book caught my eye while perusing the “Read Now” options on my newly-acquired NetGalley account. Since I am constantly seeking new voices in my literary pursuits, I embraced the chance to get to know a neurodivergent character. 

What I liked: Tara, though thrust into a really trash situation, manages not to completely break down immediately, as I imagine I would have in her place. Tara’s logic, resourcefulness, and determination shine. She doesn’t always know what to do in social situations, but she can write code well enough to alter the AI software of her pet bobcat, Xel – an impressive feat on advanced technology. Xel, meanwhile, is steadfast and caring, and though his access to the Internet allows him to overcome human limitations in things like navigation, he grows and learns about humans as well. 

Tara must survive once she flees the corporation and survive, she does -- with the help Xel, people like who she might have been (casualties of a desire to inflict corporate culture upon individuals), and people who see the indecency and inhumanity in forced brain alteration (luckily, it’s not a small amount). In a book about identity and acceptance that differences don’t need to be assimilated, it’s wonderful to see some neurotypical people accommodating neurodivergent people’s needs, rather than asking them to adhere to societal social standards. It’s interesting to see a space where a lack of eye contact is considered the polite norm, rather than asocial. 

The things I didn’t like were perhaps more on my end than anything: I had a hard time suspending my disbelief about an attacking horde of rats in a sewer (which leads to an important plot point), but perhaps my knowledge of rats does not include that behavior. I also thought the time frame (a mere twenty years in the future) seemed far-fetched for some of the technology, world alterations, and attitudes, but I also understand that the world has made some significant changes in the last twenty years so that’s probably me nitpicking. There were parts that could use editing (some grammatical errors, as well as information that I don’t feel needs to be explained every time, like characters bidding “good night”) and overall the writing didn’t have the sort of evocative imagery that I like: descriptions were straightforward and while Tara is said to enjoy reading, she doesn’t describe her environment effusively. 

Overall, I appreciated Wright’s handling of Tara’s situation: as far as I could tell, she didn’t seem a caricature of autism and though she receives help from many along the way, she has agency. I liked the respect she encounters from adults in several situations as well: they don’t try to manipulate her or expect that she might do something for them due to age dynamics. While there’s a twisted premise in forced brain alteration to make someone neurotypical, Wright’s portrayal of the resistance to that reads as very human, which is what I want out of a story.
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I'm not sure what this book was trying to be. The plot seemed to be all over the place. Was it a scifi or a dystopian? I loved the idea of AI pets and Xel the cat was the character who shined the brightest. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review The Place Inside the Storm.
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Fall foliage is beginning to transform into bare branches and blanketed snow, and the colder the weather gets, the more reason readers have for staying indoors with a cozy new read. Whether you're in the mood for a steamy romance, heart-pounding thriller, or riveting historical fiction, there's a book for everyone on this list. Check out our list of the best books winter 2018 has to offer, complete with publishers' descriptions.
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