Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ARC Review: Outpost

Ann Aguirre
Young Adult/Dystopian
Razorland Trilogy/Book 2
Feiwel & Friends/September 4, 2012

*Spoilers for Book 1


Deuce’s whole world has changed. Now living topside in a community called Salvation, she has a whole new set of problems. Down below, she was considered an adult, and she contributed to the whole. Now, topside, the people of Salvation think she’s a brat in need of training. She hates school, and she doesn’t fit in with the other girls. They’ve spent their lives learning to cook and sew–suitable woman’s work. Deuce only knows how to fight. To make matters worse, Fade keeps her at a distance, and the band of four has broken into fragments.

Stalker presses for a closer relationship, but Deuce sees him as a training partner, and she’s busy trying to find her place in Salvation. She refuses to accept that she’s wrong for being who she is, but tensions rise as she struggles against the status quo. 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.

Once she’s free from school for the year, Deuce pursues a chance to serve in the summer patrols–those responsible for making sure the growers and planters can work the fields without danger of Freak attack. It should have been routine, little fighting, but things have been changing on surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks are smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it will take a girl like Deuce to turn the tide.

Ann Aguirre's second book in her Razorland trilogy starts out slow but picks up the pace as the increasing danger from the Freaks escalates.  Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan are all adjusting to life in Salvation, some better than others.  For Deuce, it's a world trying to change her identity, and while Deuce tries to fit, in she realizes she can't give up who she really is. 

Salvation is a world unlike anything Deuce has experienced before.  She is out of her element, forced to wear dresses and suppress her hunter instincts.  She tries to do as she told but fitting in doesn't come to her, instead she remain on the periphery of the community, maintaining her outsider status.  It's not long before Deuce finds a way to put her skills to work.  Deuce's struggle is easy to identify with.  We've all felt at one time and outsider.  Out of our element.  Even with Deuce's fierce survival skills, she must learn new skills to survive in Salvation.  I enjoyed Deuce's point of view on what the citizens of Salvation placed importance on and Deuce's lack of understanding how some skills could possibly translate to survival.  It's a stark contrast to the world she comes from where survival is the only thing of importance.

The  group of four who made it out of the ruins and into Salvation have split up, trying to move on with their lives in Salvation.  It's Deuce and Stalker that have the most trouble fitting in, neither wanting to give up their fighting skills but instead want to continue fighting the Freaks.  The people of Salvation believe the wall will keep them safe and their trust in that wall shows how very different their lives have been compared to Deuce and her friends.  Again, Aguirre does well in showing the contrast of beliefs based on the experiences of the characters.  As the Freaks aggression and cunning increases, Deuce's skills become even more valued but she still must deal with prejudices from the community. 

Where Enclave (Book 1), grabbed me from the get-go, Outpost had a much slower start, making it difficult to become consumed by the story from the start.  This is a new setting so even though it is the second book in the series, the world building must start from nearly the ground up.  After the elements have been established the plot begins to take off,  picking up the pace and the intensity, and giving the reader more to look forward to in this dystopian world.   

Rating:  B

Razorland Trilogy



  1. I have the 1st one but just haven't been motivated to pick it up. Idk I think I'm losing my verve for YA. :(

  2. Awww, that's too bad this one wasn't as good as the first book. You're good for reading so many YA dystopian, Les! Hoping that Horde will be better. Is it coming out next year?

  3. Christine ~ My YA reading has been tapering off too. I think it's a case of a little too much of the same story line.

    Nath ~ No word on when Horde comes out but my guess would be a year from now give or take.