Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide. – Goodreads description
Outpost picks up more or less where Enclave left off. Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan have found a new home in Salvation and are doing their best to fit in. But it isn’t easy. Deuce chafes within the strict gender role forced on females and struggles to keep up in school. Stalker isn’t shy about pressing Deuce for more than friendship. Tegan is learning to heal others and finding friends – but still struggling with the psychological wounds her time with the gang left. And Fade has shut Deuce out, turning cold and distant.
But, as always, the four friends find unity in adversity. As the Freak attacks on the town become more frequent and fearless and crops are destroyed, the town must create an outpost to guard the crops from attack. Deuce is able to reprise the more comfortable role of Huntress as she, Stalker and Fade battle for the safety of their new home against the Freaks and witness chilling portents of worse to come.
There were elements of this book that didn’t work for me, of course. Some examples: Why were the fields outside the walls and exposed when the town depends on yearly crops for survival? Why didn’t Aguirre provide more detailed descriptions of setting – in particular the size and population of the town and relative size and placement of said fields? Why aren’t all (or at least all male, since that’s their sexist thing) townsfolk taught to fight? And then there are some agricultural issues, like describing planting fields and leaving them until plants had begun to grow. This wouldn’t work – you would need to set up an irrigation system or water them daily, they’d need fences to guard against deer and other herbivorous creatures and the plants would need regular weeding and tending. All unaccounted for given the distance and frequency of visits by growers as described.
But despite these minor issues, I loved this book. It had everything I look for in a YA suspense: excellent plot arc, engaging and believable characters, adventure and action, good writing – even some swoony romance. I had to force myself to go to sleep at night when all I really wanted to do was stay up and binge-read. And I love the character of Deuce. She’s tough but learns to open up and love those around her. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. And damn, that girl is a badass. Sort of like a cross between:
She can kill you where you stand without even flinching.
By the end of the book I was totally satisfied. (Though totally ready to pick up Horde and find out what happens next!) Still recommending this to anyone who’s a fan of The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead, because it’s pretty much a cross between the two. And damn, is it good!
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #2
Published By: Square Fish
Released: October 29, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Adventure, Young Adult