Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Enclave # 2
Genres: Dystopian, Romance(ish), Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Fiewel and Friends
Released: 4 September 2012
Summary: courtesy of goodreads.com 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.
My Review: Okay, so I never wrote a formal review for Enclave. I read it around Christmas time last year and I remember being pretty “meh” about it. I didn’t really care about Duece or her world, which was pretty darn messed up btw. What kept me going with Enclave were the all-too-creepy action sequences Down Below. Just when I would get ready to set it down for good, zombies (mutants?) would come out of no where and be all: “I’m going to chomp on you fool!” and I would be all: “holy crap, they’re gonna get chomped, WHAT HAPPENS?!?!” and keep going. When Endurance came out I didn’t care one way or another what happened to Thimble and/or Stone so I decided to forgo it for some other novellas and full-length novels. What I’m trying to say is: a lack of feeling towards the book one way or another kept me from reviewing Enclave and reading Endurance.
So . . . along comes Outpost, and I’m thinking: fall is here (not really) Halloween is on the way (sort of) why not pick up a good zombie chomping novel? And let me just say, all of the issues that I had in Enclave (Down Below really freaked me out, Deuce was pretty stunted as a leading protagonist, and the love triangle between Fade and Stalker was annoying at best.) went away. Salvation is the exact polar opposite of Down Below (not in how it is run necessarily, but in their belief systems, routines, and how they handle adverse situations.) The town of Salvation is based (if I remember the author’s note correctly) on and Amish-type of religion (though not specifically Amish). However, what I really loved about Outpost was this: Deuce finally stops acting like a robot and has really awesome, amazing grown up thoughts and perceptions. Really, the way that Deuce is able to accurately analyze and perceive the world of Salvation (look for the birthday scene) was almost chilling. I loved her thought process in this novel. She didn’t revert back to a type of “babyish” learning in Salvation, she comes across as a smart girl who is trying to understand how the world works, how humans interact. She questions the initial belief system, and she’s pretty logical in her assumptions.
And, let me just say: the two free chapters of Outpost are completely misleading. Aguirre sets up the success of a Deuce/Fade relationship right off the bat (probably the very beginning of chapter three, no joke). And watching these too develop is fun, and interesting. Mainly because Fade keeps having to remind Deuce (and she keeps having to remind herself) that they aren’t Down Below any more, and that it’s okay to love each other. Watching Deuce grow into a three dimensional, thoughtful, smart (she was always smart when it came to hunting zombies, etc. But I mean legitimately smart in a lot of areas) strong (again not just physically, but mentally and emotionally) and well rounded character is really what made this book for me. I haven’t read a book where the main character goes on this much of an internal and external journey in a really long time, and that was what made this refreshing. The only thing I didn't really appreciate was that the author seems to glaze over some really important issues (Fade and his "foster father" how the men at the outpost treat Deuce etc.) with a type of indifference. I understand that this novel is dysopian, but I feel like these are things that kids right here, right now go through, and the indifference kind of bothered me. (Though admittedly it wasn't necessarily a deal breaker - and I didn't think about it much when I was reading, just later when I started to think about it more.)
Don’t worry, there are still zombie/mutant chomping bits, and it leaves you with a nice little cliffhanger. Needless to say: I probably won’t be as complacent and “meh” when Book 3 comes out.