“In the dusty ruins of the world, three groups exist: the Sovereign, the Fortis, and the Outliers. Within their walled city, exclusive access to the only remaining technology gives the Sovereign an advantage that seems impossible to beat. In exchange for meager scraps and free reign outside the walls, they use the brawn of the Fortis to their advantage while the Outliers struggle to survive. Living on land that has not healed from the poison of the past, and surrounded by dangers too numerous to count, the Outliers have adapted – but to the Sovereign and the Fortis, they are nothing.”
I don’t know what it was about the cover art and the synopsis of Outliers, but something drew me to this book and I knew I had to read it. From the moment I started reading I was hooked. I loved the characters and the story so much that I couldn’t put it down. The story is well written, and I could tell that Kate L. Mary put a lot of thought into each character and the cultures they come from. Most dystopian stories have the “low born” and the “high born” and sometimes you even get the “middle born”. While Outliers has that same societal structure, I think Kate L. Mary has a refreshing approach on how Indra, the main character, views her world. I was glad that I didn’t find myself thinking of similarities between this book and other dystopian novels I have read. Without giving too much away, there was one point that I did wonder if the story could have been inspired by something else I had seen, and I was pleasantly surprised when Kate L. Mary confirmed that thought in her Acknowledgments. As I said though, it was just a moment, so it wasn’t any specific detail or feeling throughout the rest of the book.
Kate L. Mary seems to really understand that what makes a person isn’t just one moment in their life, but a series of events that can break them or build them into something new. I really liked that the characters grew or changed into new people gradually instead of them becoming an extreme version of themselves suddenly. I think that is why I felt so protective over the people in the story, not like an over-protective parent, but more like a guardian that wants to encourage them to become stronger by learning from their mistakes. In too many books the main character is almost immediately the one who doesn’t want to conform or knows without a doubt that there’s something wrong with how things are being done and that something should change. I think I used the word refreshing earlier, but I’m going to use it again: I feel like Outliers is a refreshing take on the dystopian future story.
The story and characters are amazing, and I cannot wait to read the next book and more stories by Kate L. Mary. BUT, as much as I would love to give this book 5 stars, I grudgingly must give it only 4 stars. As I said, I loved the story, but the ending just left me so confused, for lack of a better term. The book didn’t seem to end in a place that made sense. After I was done, I waited a day and then read the whole book again, just to make sure that when it ended I would have the same feeling as the first time, and I did. The book is a decent length but ending the way it did made it feel too short. Once I took more time away from the book I could tell that it kind of needed to end how and where it did for the next book in the series to have a good starting place, but I still feel a little cheated.
There are a few other reasons for the grudging 4 stars. There are a few misspelled words that I wasn’t sure if they were a result of reading a digital copy or if they were missed by author and editor. I have seen it happen before and was able to compare the digital version to the physical version to confirm that it was just the digital copy but wasn’t able to do that in this case. Another reason is that at one point, the main character’s attention is caught by something, but that something is never addressed by the character out loud or in thought afterwards. I made a note of the event wondering if maybe it would become relevant later in the story, but it never came up. That could be one of the reasons I felt like it was too short, because in my head I had this idea that the tidbit I had caught onto was going to lead to something that aided the character in some way.
Despite how I felt about the ending, Outliers is an amazing book and I would suggest that anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, add this to your list of “must reads” and I hope you fall in love with it as much as I did.
Outliers is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and is due for release on the 6th March.
Addendum: Kate L Mary has advised that the copy provided for review had not been through the final stages of edits and was therefore not fully checked for spellings/grammatical errors at the time of submission to us.