For fans of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, have I got the series for you! Outpost, the sequel to Enclave, and...moreFor fans of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, have I got the series for you! Outpost, the sequel to Enclave, and the second book in the Razorland trilogy, is releasing in September, meaning the first two gripping adventures in this young adult dystopian trilogy are going to be available.
enclave 202x300 Book Review: Outpost by Ann AguirreTo bring you up to speed, in Enclave, Deuce was born an raised in an underground community on a post-apocalyptic Earth. She is a Huntress, and together with her fighting partner, Fade, she helps find food for the enclave and guards it against the Freaks – mutant humans who act more like beasts, animalistic in their eating habits (including attacking and eating humans) to survive. Life is far from perfect, but Deuce is satisfied with her place in the Enclave. Until she finds out the Elders are more manipulative than she could have ever imagined. When one of her friends is framed by the Elders to be used as a sacrificial example to the Enclave, Deuce steps forward instead. Banished from the only life and home she has ever known, Deuce is lucky that Fade exiles himself with her. Fad has not always lived underground, and so now the two travel through the dangerous tunnels, running and fighting for their lives, in an attempt to make it topside and see what the above ground world holds. But life up there is no picnic either, and as the two travel across the wasteland, they continue to have to rely on each other and their fighting skills. Picking up two more outcasts along the way, this group of four make their way toward an uncertain future, trying to reach one of the walled communities that exist in the North.
In Outpost, having made it to relative safety, Deuce, Fade, and their friends have been adopted out into the community. Forced to act in a more feminine manner – wearing dresses instead of pants, her hair in braids, forbidden to carry her knives, and made to go to school – Deuce feels lost and strains against the constraints of the apparent civilized society’s rules. Until the community realizes the outpost has Freaks of their own to fight, and what’s worse, the Freaks are no longer the mindless creatures driven by instinct. They have banded together for the first time in anyone’s memory. In order to save the outpost, its citizens will have to rely on the fighting skills Deuce and her friends have brought with them. No one is safe yet.(less)
Absolutely delightful. I don't know why it took me so long to read it, as it was on my TBR shelf from the moment I saw the title - being a fan of the...moreAbsolutely delightful. I don't know why it took me so long to read it, as it was on my TBR shelf from the moment I saw the title - being a fan of the absurdly long title, such as Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - but I will be forever grateful to my coworker Roger who finally literally pressed it upon me. Much like the content of the books that have those other titles, the content of this book lives up to its title as well. In fact, I'm having difficulty coming up with a book that has such a deliciously involved title that doesn't live up to it. Can you? Any novel with a long name really has to be strong enough (and by that I mean interesting enough) to live up to it, doesn't it?
Clearly I digress. It's difficult to explain why this book is so fantastic, and to explain why, think of The Phantom Tollbooth. I dare anyone who has read that book to sum it up concisely. There were so many times while reading this book that I thought of TPT, not because they're really all that alike in terms of story, but more that they're alike in terms of the sly way the authors used a child's fantasy novel to impart little wise asides about our daily lives. They're similar in that "out of the mouths of babes" kind of thing that you get from other books like Winnie-the-Pooh and Alice in Wonderland, too, where a childlike innocence and curiosity underscores some of our deepest thoughts and brings to light some of our most foolish actions. All without condemning us, simply pointing them out, as if they're saying, just in case you missed the fact that as adults we're sometimes selfish asses, and here's why that might be, and here's how to maybe stop. But, you know, without being too pretentious about it. Now on to what the story is actually about.
September is a little mostly-heartless girl from Omaha who is whisked away for an adventure in Fairyland by the Green Wind and his Leopard. Queen Mallow has gone missing and The Marquess has replaced her and so instead of everything in Fairyland being sugar and spice and all that's nice, the Wyvern and fairies have their wings chained and other bad things like that are happening. September doesn't really know much about the history of this, she is mostly just trying to have an adventure, but she has read fairy tales before and so recognizes a quest when she sees one. In addition to the Green Wind, along her quest September will meet a red Wyvern, a blue Marid, a Panther, a few fairies, a changeling, some witches, a woman made entirely of soap, and last but not least, a paper lantern. All play integral roles - some to hurt, some to help - as September loses a shoe but gets a new pair, is gifted a jacket and sash, collects a spoon, a wrench, and the most loyal key ever, and don't forget, sails around Fairyland on a ship of her own making (losing her heart and her shadow in the process). If all of that doesn't sound intriguing enough to make you read it, then I don't know what will.(less)
I am overwhelmed by how perfectly completed this trilogy is. One of the most brilliant things about this whole trilogy, but this third and final book...moreI am overwhelmed by how perfectly completed this trilogy is. One of the most brilliant things about this whole trilogy, but this third and final book in particular, is how seamlessly history and current events are woven together so that you're both reminded of events that took place in the previous two novels, as well as given carefully revealed tidbits of information from the history of these countries, to give context to the action happening in the present. A phenomenal ending, not only with all the loose ends tied up, but some lovely additions or plot asides (such as recognizing the bravery and sacrifice made by a 17-year-old Charynite boy in Lumatere 13 years earlier leading to child care advice for Quintana, or Quintana softening enough to play matchmaker) that balanced out all the sadness that came before. Toward the final third of the book, I found myself crying at the small moments of happiness, the expressions of love, instead of over the horrors that came before.
One of my favorite paragraphs: "And Phaedra saw her smile, with a hint of mischief in it, and she couldn't help smiling herself and then she was laughing. They both were, and the savage teeth were the most joyous sight Phaedra had seen for a long time. It was as if they were dancing. There it was. Suddenly the strangeness of Quintana of Charyn's face made sense. Because it was a face meant for laughing, but it had never been given a chance. It robbed Phaedra of her breath." (pg. 201)
That, to me, is where Melina Marchetta is truly gifted, in that she can make those sweet moments so profound because of the bitterness that is being let go because of them. She makes forgiveness and love such a powerful force throughout this entire series, but most particularly in this third and final installment of The Lumatere Chronicles, Quintana of Charyn.
I will try to describe the plot without giving too much away. At the end of book 2, Froi of the Exiles, Froi was left for dead with 8 arrows in his body, while Quintana was spirited away through underground caves to no one knows where. Froi is saved by his birth uncle, Arjuro, the gods-blessed priestling, and is reunited in Charyn with his birth father, the genius Gargarin, and his birth mother, Lirah of Serker. Meanwhile, Quintana has gotten herself to Lumatere, where she is being reluctantly taken care of by Phaedra of Alonso and the other escaped Charynite women living in the valley between Charyn and Lumatere. The women fakes their deaths to keep news of Quintana from reaching the evil Charynite soldiers-for-hire who killed the seven scholars-turned-soldiers (Rafuel's) men, in book 2. All the women are hiding out in a cave a few miles upstream from the rest of the refugees, with only Rafuel knowing their truth. It is when Quintana begins leaving the cave to hunt for food and meets Lady Beatriss's daughter Vestie, and is found by Tesadora, that the plot begins to unfold.
In Froi's adventures, he's traveling back and forth through Charyn with Gargarin and Lirah in an attempt to both find Quintana and raise an army to rescue her from whoever has her. In Quintana's adventures, as more people find out the women aren't dead and that Quintana is there, the more all the women, but most especially Quintana and the unborn little king, are in danger, for Bestiano, the horrible man who raped Quintana and was trying to take over the palace and the kingdom of Charyn, is still alive and has offered gold as a reward to any man who will bring him the little king, not Quintana, alive.
Subplots include a jealous argument between Finnikin and Isaboe that leads to Finnikin accompanying his father, Trevanion, and Perri, on a hunt for Gargarin, who they believe to be behind the attack and slaughter of Isaboe's family, during which they run into Froi, whom they haven't seen in 9 months; Lucian finding out that Phaedra is alive, struggling with his new feelings of love for her, and the two of them learning to trust each other; Isaboe and Quintana's unborn children talking to each other, to their mothers, and helping to explain what happened during the day of weeping 13 years earlier when all the women of Charyn lost the babies they were carrying and Lumatere became cursed, thus causing the last borns to be marked; and how to best avoid war and broker peace between all the kingdoms.
I am pleased to announce that despite all the political intrigue, battles fought, and messages gone astray, there is a happy ending in there for everyone who deserves it, with compassion, forgiveness, and love occurring in the most unexpected, but well-deserved, circumstances.
Definitely one of my favorite books of the year, the only downside is what on earth do I read next?t(less)