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Outpost – Ann Aguirre

03 Sep

Outpost coverOutpost
By Ann Aguirre
Razorland – Book 2
Available Sept 2012

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.

This Blonde’s Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was looking forward to reading more of Deuce’s story.

Deuce was trained to be a Huntress, she knows how to fight and how to survive. What she doesn’t know how to do is be a proper young girl. She didn’t know such a thing existed until she moved to Salvation.

Deuce struggles to maintain who she is without disgracing Mama Oaks. She is tormented by the other supposedly good people of Salvation and is not interested in learning their ways. She knows what she’s seen and knows that the walls of Salvation can’t hold the freaks out forever. When she’s able to prove her worth and get on the crew to protect the growers, Deuce will finally have a chance to do what she knows best.

I loved Deuce in Enclave, the first book in this series. She was strong and unwilling to step back and let others take care of her. She had a mind of her own and would do what she felt was right, no matter how dangerous it could be for her. You can take Deuce from her world but you can’t take her courage or her heart.

The differences between the worlds that Deuce and her friends were raised in and Salvation are immense. The longer they’re there the more the differences in their upbringings become clear to them. Deuce and each of her friends must face those differences and determine for themselves whether they want to hold on to the way they were raised or accept the new things they’re being taught.

I’ve enjoyed Deuce so much. She isn’t perfect but she recognizes that she isn’t and refuses to let it hurt her. She tries not to shame the family who took her in and starts to care for them in her own way. She’s insensitive and says callous sounding things at times, simply because she doesn’t know better. Yet despite her rough edges, she’s willing to stay away from someone who matters to her simple because it’s best for the other person. She’ll risk her life for people who don’t understand the gift she’s given to them. She’s a fighter down to her soul and that’s what I love about her.

If you’ve read the first book then you know that the freaks were changing and that it worried Deuce and her friends. She knows that it won’t be long before the people of Salvation notice the changes as well. When there’s an unexpected attack followed by more proof that the Freaks are becoming smarter, the people of Salvation need Deuce, Fade, & Stalker more than they realize. It was bound to come to that, just as it was bound to get worse for Deuce when that became apparent.

I’m not a fan of the love triangle that was set up with Deuce, Fade, and Stalker. It was always clear who Deuce cared for so it seems that the triangle was set up to emphasize how little Deuce understood male/female relationships than it was to a real love triangle. I suppose it had the added benefit of making Stalker want to be something better than he was since he hoped to win Deuce’s regard.

I can see how some wouldn’t care for Deuce since she kept referring to women who marry and have children as breeders, something that was clearly offensive. Yet if you remember reading the first book and where she came from, I don’t know how anyone would have expected her to understand and make peace with it so quickly. She would do her best not to talk about them a certain way in front of people, but that didn’t mean she could change the way she thought of things. Not until she could understand for herself.

I found the concept of this series to be interesting. It does have a zombie feel for those looking for that type of book, but it really isn’t about zombies. These aren’t people who were killed and came back to life as zombies. These are people who were mutated in some unknown way. Then we see the way different groups of people try to survive. Some turn brutal and harsh, stamping out anything that could weaken them. Others turned to religion and the belief that if they were better than others they’d be safe. Those options are so true of human nature that I kept waiting to see how Ann Aguirre would build the world more and whether it would stay true to what humans are capable of or if she’d take it somewhere else.

It’s a battle of good vs evil, but is it ever as simple as it seems? Deuce and the boys make discoveries that can make us wonder if the Freaks are the true evil, or if it’s really the things people do to survive.

This isn’t a zombie book, but it has a similar feel so if you enjoy the idea of our society being taken over and destroyed by mutants set on eating you, then you’ll enjoy the Razorland series.

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