Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

September 7, 2012 Books, Reading, Reviews 1

Outpost CoverOutpost by Ann Aguirre

Series: Book 2 in the Razorland Trilogy
Genre(s): Young Adult/Teen, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Available Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
Description: 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.

Read my review of Outpost, Book 1 of the Razorland trilogy.

This review is based on a copy received from Amazon Vine.

TDF Pamela’s Review:

This review will contain spoilers for Enclave, the first book in the Razorland trilogy, so beware if you haven’t read it yet!

When I first started reading Outpost, I was very nearly put out by the slower pace of the story. Enclave kept me clinging to each page, but Outpost moves at a more sedate pace, at least for the first half. But as I dug deeper into Deuce’s new world, I realized that the slower pace works very well, for Deuce is dealing with a completely different set of challenges in the walled town of Salvation than she had in the tunnels or on the run.

Deuce, Fade, Tegan, and Stalker reached Salvation at the end of Enclave, and Outpost starts by establishing Deuce’s sense of alienation in this very strange, traditional place. According to the author’s note at the end, Salvation is based on the idea that people in this post-apocalyptic world tried to restart civilization based on something like Amish ideals; isolation, self-reliance, and piety. Obviously, this is very different from the kill-or-be-killed existence that Deuce and her companions were used to. Tegan immediately tries to fit into her new role in Salvation, and Fade is quiet as ever. Stalker hovers at the edges, and Deuce… Deuce feels wasted having to sit in school and learn useless things about the past.

The major theme in this book is reconciliation of the old Deuce and the new Deuce; is she a Huntress, or is she a girl? The first half of the book deals with Deuce slowly realizing that there are two sides, and the second half deals with her attempts to combine those two sides into her view of herself. The self-discovery in the first half of the book works well at the slower pace, and in the second half, she’s forced to face those two aspects of her personality head-on in a fight to save Salvation from encroaching hordes of Freaks, the humanoid but mutated creatures that are slowly becoming more and more human-like to the horror of Deuce and the people of Salvation.

As Deuce gets to know and learns to love some of the people in Salvation–Longshot, the man who rescued the four of them in the wild; Mama Oaks and Edmund, her foster parents; Tegan; and most of all Fade–you grow to love them, too. When she misses Fade’s touch, I ached along with her. I wanted to bury my face in Mama Oaks’s apron and cry with Deuce. So it’s just as heartbreaking for the reader when terrible things happen to these people.

The love triangle between Deuce, Fade, and Stalker is still an element in the plot, but there are enough monkey wrenches thrown into Deuce’s life to keep things from becoming stagnant and clichéd like many teen novel love triangles. Stalker puts me on edge, so I’m definitely hoping Deuce stays on track with her feelings for the more stable but damaged Fade. (Okay, got my romantic subplot obsession out of the way.)

Like Enclave, Outpost ends on an almost-cliffhanger that will lead directly into the final novel in the trilogy, tentatively titled Horde according to Ms. Aguirre’s website. I personally can’t wait to see what happens next in this beautifully developed post-apocalyptic world.

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