by Ada Hoffmann
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Pub Date 13 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2021
The laws of physics acting on the planet of Jai have been forever upended; its surface completely altered, and its inhabitants permanently changed, causing chaos. Fearing heresy, the artificially intelligent Gods that once ruled the galaxy became the planet’s jailers.
Tiv Hunt, who once trusted these Gods completely, spends her days helping the last remaining survivors of Jai. Everyone is fighting for their freedom and they call out for drastic action from their saviour, Tiv’s girlfriend Yasira. But Yasira has become deeply ill, debilitated by her Outside exposure, and is barely able to breathe, let alone lead a revolution.
Hunted by the Gods and Akavi, the disgraced angel, Yasira and Tiv must delve further than ever before into the maddening mysteries of their fractured planet in order to save – or perhaps even destroy – their fading world.
File Under: Science Fiction [ More False Gods | Inside Out | Freedom Fighters | Angels or Demons ]
PRAISE FOR THE OUTSIDE
“The Outside is a gripping examination of the battle between good and evil on a grand scale.”
– the Guardian
“Hoffmann confidently layers morality and disability rights into a breezily told adventure that bursts with sheer fun.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Deeply embedded in sci-fi history, The Outside reimagines old stories in new, exciting, #ownvoices ways.”
– Book Riot
"I can’t wait to see what Hoffman does next.”
“Hoffmann’s debut is starkly original, and tinged with hints of horror fantasy – truly operatic stuff.”
– B&N SciFi & Fantasy Blog
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 21 members
I loved Hoffman’s ‘The Outside’ so I was very excited to be accepted for an ARC of the sequel. Following on from the events of the first book, Tiv Hunt has lost her faith in the super intelligences which ruled the galaxy. The planet is now a prison and she finds herself joining a small resistance movement against the ‘angels’. Like the first book, this looks at those who are outsiders – in particularly those who are neurodivergent. This book does a great job at looking at how those who are nuero-atypical are treated both in terms of rejection, acceptance and exploitation. Enjoyable sci-fi which provides plenty of food for thought.
Wow. I was impressed with The Outside, the book this follows, and I admit that I felt a little trepidation that this could not possibly live up to the best book I'd read in a decade.
I was wrong.
In The Fallen, a small group of rebels works to aid the survivors of a bizarre change that has overcome one fifth of the planet Jai, often in opposition to the angels, representatives and soldiers of the powerful A.I. Gods who run the galaxy with an iron fist. The Fallen is fundamentally different from The Outside in that it expands its cast and focus. Instead of focusing as closely on the brilliant autistic physicist Yasira and the manipulative cyborg "angel" Akavi, Hoffman adds several point of view characters, most notably Yasira's girlfriend and fellow resistance member Tiv and Akavi's assistant Elu. This is necessary to an extent. Yasira spends a fair amount of time trying to cope with the trauma she endured in The Outside and is not aware of everything her friends are doing. However, it also deeply enriches the book by giving far more depth to Elu and Tiv than was given previously.
I continue to be impressed at the way Ada Hoffmann handles difficult subject matter deftly, empathetically, and truthfully. She deals with subjects that are frequently used for shock value, that are tokenized, or that are glossed over in a way that feels both pitch perfect and effortless. As an autistic woman myself, her portrayal of Yasira Shien feels true in my very bones. I have rarely if ever felt so seen in a specific character. Hoffmann also portrays trauma and its effects with nuance and depth in a way I've very rarely seen. It is common in fiction, especially epic fiction, for a hero to go through horrible events and come out unscathed, barely different. Hoffmann's characters are deeply changed and deeply damaged by their traumas in ways that feel very real. For example, in The Fallen, a character develops something very like Dissociative Identity Disorder. The sensitivity and realism of Hoffmann's portrayal of a condition that is so frequently misunderstood and demonized(oh no! he has an evil murderous alternate personality!) literally took my breath away.
Even with all of the darkness in this book – a totalitarian regime of AI Gods, a population struggling to survive, a ragtag resistance made up mostly of people with relatively severe mental illness, characters struggling to deal with extreme trauma – there is also so much light. The resistance, despite and in some ways because of their mental illness, do their best to help. They are courageous and heroic, in ways that are amplified by their difficulties rather than diminished, and without being disability inspiration porn. They feel like living, breathing people. Many of the relationships, especially Yasira and Tiv's, are difficult but emotionally healthy due to the good faith effort, willingness to forgive, and committment to communication shown by those involved. (In direct contrast is Akavi's unequal and unhealthy relationship with Elu, which shows Akavi to be toxic on a more intimate and immediately relatable scale than his history of murder, torture, and manipulation alone shows the reader). The Gone people, despite their fundamental difference from regular humans, also take center stage. Disability and difference are at the core of this book, presented in a strengths –forward way.
This is a book I will recommend to everyone I know, just as I do and have The Outside. It is a book I especially feel is important for neurodivergent readers. It is a book that has already taken up permanent residence in my heart. I feel so blessed and lucky to have gotten to read it early, and I am deeply honored to provide this review.
The Fallen by Ada Hoffmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I admit I was excited to pick up the sequel to The Outside. It was neurodivergent Space Opera with a major touch of quantum physics speculation, godling AIs and Others, massive amounts of head games, and rebellion.
The sequel ramps up the rebellion, or at least the survival aspects of it, increases the head-space of neurodivergent characters, and gives us a world that has been very much changed by people's minds. And I don't mean that in a pithy kind of way. I mean literally.
Good SF breaks a lot of boundaries and better SF runs with the consequences. This sequel is all about the consequences. And while I did sometimes get annoyed that the mental consequences often got in the way of good plot or actual developments, it made up for it with a wealth of side characters that were quite fascinating in their own right.
Of course, by the end of this novel, I'm all... WTH I have to have the next! So there's that, too.
Fun stuff, absolutely need more.
This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is even better than the first book. I liked the Outside, but I really liked the Fallen.
I loved the character work in The Fallen. I struggled with the characters introduced in the first book because they felt somewhat flat and distant. However, this second volume provided a much more intimate perspective on the characters. I particularly loved the f/f relationship between the two main characters. Equally, I loved reading from the perspectives of the angels who managed to be incredibly cool and sinister at the same time.
I also appreciate the neurodiverse ownvoices representation in this series. I felt like the representation was more clearly depicted in this second novel, with some fantastic quotes I wanted to highlight.
This story blends together science fiction, fantasy and cosmic horror into a dense narrative. Honestly, this book series is not the place to start for beginners. Instead this book is targeted at seasoned SFF readers who will most appreciate the complexities of this work.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend this cosmic scifi series to readers looking for a complex, yet rewarding narrative. This is currently listed as a duology, but there is certainly room to continue this into a longer series.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Ada Hoffmann returns to the world of The Outside in this fantastic sequel. I enjoyed it more than the first book, actually. The character writing is better this time around, particularly with the angels who were complex and captivating. The genre is a combination of sci-fi and "cosmic horror" with some fantasy thrown in. It's a rather complex world-building, but extremely enjoyable. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed The Outside, of course, but also to fans of cosmic horror and sci-fi in general, and especially for neurodivergent readers.
I absolutely raced through this book! Perhaps it helped that I listed to the audiobook of The Outside right before so I slid into the Fallen like a new coat with a silky lining. Except the coat has turned my brain inside out. Wait... No, that's The Fallen. The Fallen has turned my brain inside out.
Again I congratulate the disability inclusion. I really appreciated the on-page representation of physical and mental disabilities. Autism, apraxia, depression, physical augmentations, and more. Getting to see the differences in neurodiversity explored in science fiction was a treat.
I also enjoyed the multiple POVs. Getting Enga and Elu's perspectives made the book for me. And Tiv! I would read more books with her as Leader. Such a supportive partner, self-deprecating, yeah I'd follow her. The multiple POVs made for an exciting, fast-paced read.
On last mention (and high-five to the author) for going even further with gender inclusion, from the genderfluid shape-shifting Vaurians (**though I still maintain that just because someone is androgynous to presume they would use They pronouns isn't necessarily the inclusion we hope it would be--unless to do so is specific to Vaurians), to nonbinary and trans. Anyway, queerness is all over The Fallen. We approve.
The Fallen es la continuación de The Outside, la sorprendente novela de Ada Hoffman que mezclaba horrores lovecraftianos del espacio exterior con personajes neuroatípicos. En esta ocasión, Hoffman deja un poco de lado la space opera para centrar la narración en un solo planeta, que se vio transformado en gran parte por los sucesos acontecidos en la entrega anterior.
The Fallen es una novela de personajes y de sus relaciones. Lo que más me maravilla es el amplio espectro de condiciones neuroatípicas que aparecen durante la lectura, algunas consecuencia de lo que pasa en The Outside pero otras preexistentes. Me parece especialmente encomiable cómo la autora hace hincapié en la adaptación al entorno de estos personajes con características tan particulares y cómo la red de interconexiones creada entre ellos ayuda a cada uno a encontrar su lugar.
La forma escogida para narrar la historia, con relación a los acontecimientos en un pasado reciente y en un pasado remoto me parece también muy acertada, porque así podemos conocer más a fondo a los antagonistas, sus motivaciones y su desarrollo. Lo que quizá era uno de los puntos débiles de The Outside se vuelve uno de los pilares de The Fallen y eso no debe haber sido para nada fácil.
Dentro de mi desconocimiento, me ha dado que pensar el hecho de relacionar los trastornos de personalidad múltiple como precursor de las mentes colmena, algo que tendrá un impacto importante en el desarrollo de la historia.
Una cosa que me resulta difícil de creer es que los dioses permitan una suerte de resistencia pasiva que puede ser el germen que derive en una auténtica revolución, como si les interesara mucho la opinión pública del resto de sectores, mientras que por otro lado sabemos sin lugar a duda que son seres crueles, veleidosos y que conceden una importancia casi nula a los intereses humanos.
The Fallen no es una lectura especialmente fácil, aunque es bastante más asequible que The Outside precisamente porque el mayor esfuerzo de presentación del mundo ya se hizo en la primera novela. No sería justo clasificar este libro como una novela de transición, pero es verdad que deja muchos cabos sueltos destinados (espero) a ser atados en la siguiente entrega.
The Outside is an excellent novel and this one is even better.
It's a riveting, enthralling and sometimes heartbreaking story.
The author delivers a great novel and the mix of horror and speculative fiction works wonderfully.
Great world building and character development, excellent storytelling.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
The Fallen is the sequel to The Outside and deals with the fallout of the events in the first book. It combines cosmic horror, sci-fi, and fantasy into one compelling storyline.
It focuses more on the characters compared to the first book. We dive into the different perspectives of Yasira's girlfriend, Tiv; previously imprisoned people by Akavi; and different angels. The plot was fast-paced with a solid world-building, although, in The Fallen, there's no new addition to the world which for me, is a shortcoming of the book.
I really appreciate the representation of gender inclusion and physical and mental disabilities such as (but not limited to) autism, depression, and physical augmentations. I find that the representation is pictured better. Also, the relationship depiction, the good and the bad, is also well-done.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Fallen and highly recommend it for fans of hard sci-fi.
Big thanks to Angry Robot Books and Netgalley for the DRC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
After The Outside became one of my favourite novels of 2020, I was beyond excited for the follow up novel in the series, The Fallen. While The Outside focused on one central, chronological (insomuch as you can be chronological in a world where the phrase ‘Time is a lie’ comes up multiple times) conflict, The Fallen’s focus is more diffuse, following several different plot threads as a result of the climax of the first novel. This more widespread focus diluted the powerful potency I loved in The Outside, but many of the elements I loved remained and were expanded on further.
One of the things I loved about The Outside was a focus on neurodivergence and mental health, and I’m pleased to report The Fallen goes even harder in the paint regarding those subjects. I loved the on page and unflinching depictions of mental illness as well as the more realistic nods to what happens to people after they experience severe trauma; the universe continues to be queernormative with even more queer side characters introduced. The technological angels and gods continue to be a huge favourite, as cool as they are ominous and forbidding. And of course, the nature of Outside and the powers associated with it are wonderfully described; the groundwork is laid for several interesting implications of those powers in this novel.
Characters were both a strong point and detriment for The Fallen. On one hand, we get several POVs of existing characters that expand upon their growth and arcs; on the other hand, some of the new introductions involved more telling as opposed to showing than I would have liked. Tiv makes a return and I feel most conflicted about her motivations—though I’d hoped to get more of a sense of her character, she still felt reduced to what she could do for other people as opposed to who she was for herself. Yasira, on the other hand, grows exponentially, and I find her character work fascinating and compelling in The Fallen.
This book suffered a bit from the dreaded second book slump. A great deal of setup for what promises to be a smash hit, home run of a third book happened at the expense of focus and pacing in this one. Still, Hoffmann’s prose and style are both descriptive and readable, and there are some sections within that definitely show her awesome poetry skills. (Did you know they wrote a whole book of poems about dinosaurs that is freaking fantastic? Well, now you do.)
Despite a few stumbles in execution, The Fallen continues a fantastic, stand-out, and criminally underrated science fiction series in my humble opinion. After an intense set-up of an ending, I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series and will continue to shout about this one from the rooftops.
Thank you to Angry Robot and NetGalley for an advance reading copy. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed THE FALLEN! It’s well written, has a great premise, amazing world-building, and a touch of magic, although the pacing is on the slower side. The first half of the book explains life on Jai after the plague, and moves key players into position. There are a lot of characters, so the POV skips around, as does the timeline. So the story is always moving, but you’re moving in a few different directions, not always forward.
Normally, I’m not a fan of non-linear storytelling, because it pops me out of the story too often. But Outside forces distort reality, many things are a lie, including time! So a jumbled POV and timeline actually actually works well in this story.
Great neurodivergent representation, and a lot of the themes and events resonated with me on account of the past year’s protests and the present political climate.
I received a free e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Earlier this year I read The Outside, a sleeper of a novel that I just simply adore. It explored neurodivergence with care, and thematically centered it against a backdrop of conformity. I eagerly awaited the sequel and I was not disappointed. The Fallen, by Ada Hoffmann, is a solid, if shorter, sequel that continues the path of its predecessor with great character development and excellent examination of its themes.
Following the events of The Outside, the characters are in a bit of a slump. Without too many spoilers, Yasira was able to redirect the energies of the Outside on the planet Jai and create a haven for those affected by its heresies. While not entirely chaotic, it does not meet the Gods’ standards for organized living, and the planet has been sanctioned off. Yasira, along with her partner Tiv, have organized a small resistance group offering aid to the many communities cut off by the Gods and their angels. However, the task of redirecting the heretical energy has taken a toll on Yasira and Tiv is trying to keep the group together as resources and hope dwindle. Meanwhile, Akavi is lurking in the background, doing whatever they can to disrupt everyone’s plans in service of their own. What does revolution and resistance look like when you’re beset on all sides with no chance of military parity? And can it withstand questions from within?
Hoffmann roped me in with The Outside and The Fallen is no different. Hoffmann takes her time with this story, exploring the physical and psychological effects of standing against hegemonic powers. It’s a shorter book, so the slow-down feels evenly paced, giving the characters room to breathe, without feeling overwhelmed by their feelings and different ways of processing the events. Hoffmann’s focus on varying neurodivergence amongst the characters was refreshing, giving different perspectives on how to live in a changing world. There were explorations of anger, sadness, triumph and despair, and Hoffmann weaves them together nicely, having them conflict with each other within the small group of people just trying to do right. There is also a tight focused plot that guides the reader through the character exploration that feels just right.
Yasira takes a slight backseat, giving Tiv an excellent opportunity to shine here. Tiv was a small role in the first book, and she’s heavily featured as a leader in The Fallen. She’s resourceful, diligent and strong headed. She is separate from the group in that she didn’t gain some of the spectacular powers the others did, and it makes her feel she has to work harder to be worthwhile. She runs communications between different villages on the planet and makes the decisions for the group, pulling more than her own weight. She has a complex relationship with her God, since before everything she truly devoted her life to their work. Hoffmann handles the inner turmoil well, giving Tiv space to explore her own biases and reorient herself as she wants, instead of in service to Yasira.
Beyond the great character work, I love Hoffmann’s depiction of a community under siege and spread out from each other. The main characters’ attempts to keep these wildly different villages supplied and informed, while the members of those towns try to determine their own way forward is engaging. There are conflicts of interest and timing issues. Some are militant while others prefer a more peaceful form of resistance. It felt very informed by the events consistently in the news from the last year and while sad, it also felt empowering. I’m a sucker for stories like this, and I am excited to see more.
The Fallen is a great follow up to a sleeper novel. There is more variety within the characters, and solid exploration of resistance through coalition. The world is built out just a little more, but you won’t get too much beyond what already exists. The length is just right for the story told, opening up for a larger conflict later. I’m impressed by Hoffmann’s writing and will be diligently awaiting more.
Rating: The Fallen 8.5/10
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