Rachel Fisher's Reviews > Outpost

Outpost by Ann Aguirre
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Sep 06, 12

Read in September, 2012

Title: Outpost (Book 2 in the Razorland Trilogy)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amazon Summary: 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

This may be my last review for quite a while. I have too much on my plate and may even have to cut back on writing for a while, but definitely can't keep reading and reviewing like I'd like to. That's ok, though, because this is a great "last gasp" before I take a break.

I really loved the first book in this trilogy, Enclave. If you haven't read it, go DO it! (But be warned it is a zombie book, but more on this later.) It features a kick-butt female MC, a ton of zombie-butt-kicking action, and a nice romance to boot.

Outpost picks up where Enclave left off. Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan have arrived at a safe haven aboveground: a settlement named Salvation. For a short time, they get to settle into the relative safety of others' protection. Except, that "settling" isn't really in any of their natures anymore, least of all Deuce.

She finds herself completely out of place in a society that is a conservative religious throwback. They want her to wear skirts and be quiet and listen to men and know her place. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. That's not really going to work out for a Huntress. Being a Huntress is all Deuce knows and her daggers, worn strapped to her thighs (like Sara's), are as much a part of her as her own hands. She feels naked without them. In fact, you find out later that she sometimes wears her own clothes and daggers beneath her skirts (there is a funny tie to my WIP on this actually, couldn't believe it when I read it). She struggles to fit in and feels distanced from the other three in her little "group," well, except for Stalker.

I know a lot of people didn't like Stalker, and I don't blame them, but I did. I think I saw where Aguirre was going with him. When Deuce teaches him to read (though she's not that good at it herself) in Enclave, you see the broken boy who grew up fighting to survive amongst slavering wolves. Was he a completely reprehensible human being who allowed Tegan (and others) to be raped and beaten? Yes. Was that the world that he knew and Tegan's ultimate fate whether it was his gang or another? Yes. The world that they all live in is horribly broken and any semblance of humanity is stripped away.

That is why Deuce and Stalker feel so out of place in Salvation. They've never known kindness. They've never known family. Even Fade (whose situation in Salvation is complicated), has had a better life at some point. He remembers having loving parents, as does Tegan. So fitting back into a society with families is a little more comfortable for them. All Deuce and Stalker know how to do is be incredibly frightening.

Fade - Sigh. Fade, Fade, Fade. He's a weird combination of strong and weak. He allows himself to really feel his emotions in ways that Stalker and Deuce kind of...don't. And so he's something of a wreck a lot of the time. He's in love with Deuce still, but believes her to be in love with Stalker (or at least hooking up with him, which she's not despite Stalker's love for her). Deuce thinks he likes Tegan, but she's wrong. He doesn't come to her and straighten it out because he's an IDIOT! (Sorry, mad at Fade there for a minute. Deuce is always honest and all he had to do was ask, but Noooooooooo, he got all mooney and wouldn't talk to her and wouldn't explain himself.)

Of course, it gets straightened out. Sort of. The love triangle (and it is a bit of a triangle) got a little bit tiring in this one. Just a tad. That's one reason why I didn't give 5 stars. There came a point when I was like, oh for goodness' sakes...work it out already. It mostly is worked out in Outpost. Mostly.

Salvation - This is one of the only reasons I didn't give 5 stars as well. I mostly "got" Salvation, but I think I didn't really understand the seriousness of their conservatism. Aguirre says in the end that they're descended from the Amish, but I didn't get THAT old-fashioned a vibe from them for some odd reason. I guess because the whole world is destroyed and everyone has no electricity or communication, and has to farm and hunt...I guess I just saw them as pretty conservative and survivalists, but I didn't really get that they were THAT restrictive. Not sure why I didn't totally get that because you do see the conservatism, particularly in relationship to women. I just thought it was kind of that attitude because so much of the world now required physical strength...like people just fell back into old roles in that way. Men are strong, women keep the house and raise the kids. I mean, without the society we have with white-collar jobs, there would be some of this natural parsing again anyway. Men do the strong stuff, women do other stuff. It's not until the end that I REALLY understood that this was a FAITH, not sort of a cultural thing.

The MUTIES! - The people of Salvation do not call the zombies "Freaks" as Deuce does, they call them MUTIES, which is foreshadowing that Aguirre tells you more about at the end of the book. I think she's parsing hairs on this one (zombies vs. mutants), but that's ok with me. They are SO much more frightening in this book. They've evolved at levels and in ways that Deuce could never have imagined and there is a moment at the end (no spoiler) when you'll just about drop the book (or your phone in my case) in surprise. I like the tension building as you grow increasingly frightened of them. If you thought Deuce and her compatriots were safe and sound inside Salvation, you have another think coming.

Deuce - I LOVE her. I just love her. She upsets every apple cart she can get her hands on without even meaning to...she's just being herself. The society believes that women shouldn't be like her at all and though she tries to fit in a bit, ultimately she knows she's better at defending Salvation from the Muties than most of the men (and a million times braver too). She pushes them to let her fight, pushes them to fight themselves, and eventually, pushes them all too far. Fortunately for the people of Salvation, over time she's come to let down her guard and develop deep and meaningful relationships with some of them, and she doesn't want to see them be overrun and killed. So she fights like mad, puts herself in danger over and over again, and ultimately accepts a mission that will determine the entire fate of Salvation in the end.

Outpost has twists and turns, deepening of the key characters, and a ton of great action. I've been waiting excitedly for it and I wasn't disappointed. I am really jazzed up to read the next one.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket) interesting. I wasn't crazy about enclave-I had a review written but I guess I never got around to publishing it. It was too "We must do this to further the plot, logic be damned." I might give the next book a chance if it's deeper than the first like you said.

Rachel Fisher D.M. wrote: "interesting. I wasn't crazy about enclave-I had a review written but I guess I never got around to publishing it. It was too "We must do this to further the plot, logic be damned." I might give the..."

I'm not sure how critical I was...it's hard to write reviews without spoilers! But I feel like I have to when it's a brand new book. I think that I enjoy Deuce's POV so much that I may allow for some points in which the plot or moment is not ultra sophisticated. You know what? Deuce really grows up a lot in this one. She was so unworldly, only knowing her tiny little enclave. She'd never had a family, never had a relationship. She grows up a lot. The love triangle can get annoying at times but I didn't find the plot lacking in plausibility (given the story) and I enjoyed it a lot.

Jean Great review! I feel exactly the same about Stalker, I don't waste my time thinking that he should have known better. I love Fade but at the end he was pissing me off! I understand why the story needed that conflict but I just wanted him to be proud of his huntress for saving him. By the way did you love the way Stalker called Deuce "dove", I thought it was sweet. I also loved when Deuce called Fade "my boy" :)

Rachel Fisher Jean wrote: "Great review! I feel exactly the same about Stalker, I don't waste my time thinking that he should have known better. I love Fade but at the end he was pissing me off! I understand why the story ..."

Loved both endearments, but "dove" always gets me. She's so far from being a dove, but to him, she is...love it.

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