The epic conclusion to Ann Aguirre's USA Today best-selling trilogy.
The horde is coming. Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born.
She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.
Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them. This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in Mexico with her family. She writes all kinds of genre fiction, but she has an eternal soft spot for a happily ever after.
this summer, the plan is to return to a bunch of YA series that i started and never finished for whatever reason. because it's important to have goals. and closure.
i have no idea why i paused for so long with this series, because i remember loving it, but pause i did. fortunately for me, unlike ilsa j. bick who makes you work to reorient yourself, aguirre does a good job gently reminding the reader who may have taken a couple of years off from the series of the key events from the earlier books. so, thanks for that.
however, when i started this final book, i was a little apprehensive. because i do NOT remember the previous books being so preoccupied with kissing. the first chapter has A LOT of kissing talk in it.
but then it ends with the line: When next I woke, the world was a blur of snarls and yellow fangs.
and i remembered why i liked this series.
thankfully, all the love triangling was left behind in book two. there's some unavoidable fallout from it that affects the events here, but this one is definitely focused on action instead of on boy-dithering. there's still romancey bits, but it's all just focused on fade, whose specific brand of damage is at least complicated and original enough for me to not roll my eyes. much.
because there's still stuff like this:
Then he sighed and rubbed his cool cheek against mine. "I should've stayed close to you. When you went under, my life ended. I don't think I breathed until you did."
"You can live without me," I said.
"I don't want to."
I feared a love like this - that made us incomplete without each other. It was beautiful but treacherous, like snow that looked white and pure and lovely from the safety of your window, but when you stepped out to touch the softness, the cold first stole your breath, and then your will to move, until you could just lay down in it and let the numbness take you. Yet I didn't want to be without him either, so I did't chide him for the statement. After all, I'd braved the horde to bring him back, even if Fade had believed he was broken beyond fixing.
which is still cause for the rolly eyes, but at least deuce recognizes that this all-consuming love is problematic, and it doesn't, for the most part, prevent her from being badass.
because the overwhelming tone of this book is of badassery. fighting, killing, bleeding badassery.
this book introduces new characters and brings back some we haven't seen since book one. and aguirre's not shy about killing some of them off.
because - freaks, muties, whatever you wanna call 'em - there are A LOT of them in this book. "horde" is no exaggeration. and these creatures have been going through some rapid evolutionary changes that have only made them harder to fight; their movements harder to predict.
deuce, the great character with the unfortunate name, adds to her skill set in this book. in the first book, she is all huntress - trained for one thing and one thing only, never expecting to live past twenty. in the second book, she was exposed an alternative way of life where family, community and love were not the weaknesses she'd been taught were breeder-concerns, and she became more human and more thoughtful; no longer just the thing that holds the knives. and in this book, everything she has learned about fighting combines with what she has learned about people and she emerges into a true leader; all skills and strategy and figuring out how best to bring more fighters to her side - understanding people means understanding what they are willing to die for.
but it's not easy. and i think that's what i liked best about this book - i mean, she's a scrawny little sixteen-year-old girl. blade-prowess or not, i think i would have been irritated if she managed to rally a giant army just by soapboxing at all the cloistered, terrified settlements. but the fact that it's a struggle, the fact that she recognizes her own weaknesses and calls upon advisors and that everything takes so much time - it's frustrating to her, but it's so rewarding to a reader. because even when you're reading something so clearly in the fantasy realm, you want it to be a little realistic. you want there to be a struggle. and you DEFINITELY want a booby-trap-in-the-forest sequence like you're in endor or sherwood forest with kevin costner.
because forest standoffs with booby traps are the best
it's a strong finale. we finally get our freak origin story, there's some character redemption, some chilling developments and unexpected heroes. we get a little flash-forwarding, which is always nice, i'm definitely glad i returned to this world, and that the third book didn't fall apart. or have too much kissing.
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Glorious. Gory. Moving. Provocative. Inspiring. I’m not describing Braveheart, I’m describing Horde, the most outstanding final book in a series I think I have ever read. And that’s high freaking praise.
I am rarely moved by books. They might touch me for a day, maybe 2 but then I’m over it. Hell, this book didn’t just move me; I was ready to pack a flag and head into battle alongside Deuce.
My first bit of advice: if you read Outpost ages ago like I did, re-read it. Or read a summary because you won’t want to put this down even if you have no idea what past event Deuce is talking about.
Second of all, grab a tissue box. No battle is a war without casualties, and Aguirre is true to that. Characters die, characters you’ve loved quietly for most of the series, or characters who you’ve just met but aren’t ready to part with. The battle scenes are bloody, gory and pretty graphic too. And Aguirre doesn’t gloss over the aftermath – the injuries, the infections, the constant death and disease of ground war. (And in case it’s not clear, I loved this about the book. Aguirre doesn’t sugar coat the truth).
Deuce. I have a serious case of hero worship for her. We’ve been with Deuce since the beginning, and I for one didn’t particularly like her. I found her naïve, somewhat backward due to her upbringing, and cold, heartless even. She has grown so so much, and I am so proud of her, fictional though she may be. Notwithstanding her growth, she is still the same old Deuce. Better with knives than words, fists than feelings.
Fade. Fade remains a slight mystery to me. He is very difficult to get to know for us readers, because Deuce isn’t very good at reading people haha. But I grew to absolutely adore him in this novel, and it sucks seeing the end of him and all the other characters.
Stalker. I’m going to cop some flack for this, but I have a huge soft spot for Stalker. He’s done some abominable things in his life in the gangs, but he has suffered enough for it. He has earned forgiveness, and god he deserved to be loved. I will not say anymore about Fade and Stalker, lest I spoil anything...
And the plot. Lots of dystopian novels unfold in a pretty linear fashion. You might not be able to guess the twists and turns, but you know how it ends. Horde unfolded like a labyrinth stuffed into a Rubix cube... Unpredictable, provocative, shocking, incredible.
I’m not going to ruin a moment of this, because the way it unfolds is just spectacular. Just, expect to cry, scream in outrage, fist pump in jubilation and yell a few war cries for good measure. This plot will put your heart through boot camp.
The romance too was perfect. Tender but realistic. I think this scene sums it up:
' “You can live without me."
"I don't want to."
I feared a love like this - that made us incomplete without each other. It was beautiful but treacherous, like snow that looked white and pure and lovely from the safety of your window, but when you stepped out to touch the softness, the cold first stole your breath, and then your will to move, until you could just lay down in it and let the numbness take you. '
I cannot recommend enough to all the dystopian and post-apocalyptic/sci readers out there to READ THIS SERIES. It is unlike anything I could ever have expected and I actually want to read it again. Right now.
To any authors trying to figure out how to end their series, I advise you to talk to Ann Aguirre because that lady knows what she’s doing. If I had to sum up my feelings in a gif, it would be this:
I imagine Horde feels similar to a satisfying run. (As I am the kind of person that goes out of her way to avoid that sort of activity, I wouldn’t know firsthand but I’ve read about it.) Your adrenaline’s up and your blood is pumping, you’re in that magic zone where everything’s a rush and you haven’t started to feel the fatigue. It has all of the best bits of the previous Razorland books (action, danger that feels real, character growth and subtle, heartwarming feels) minus the self-righteous assholes running around saying the monsters will eat you if girls wear pants.
You know, I really liked ENCLAVE. Was okay with OUTPOST. But have to say that I sadly :( could not reconnect enough to enjoy HORDE, at all.
I don't know whether I've changed since the first book was published, or whether the author's style has evolved, but this was not the book for me. I thought it was slow and boring and I didn't care one wit for what happened to Deuce and Fade. (Although everyone else will be happy with how things turned out for them.)
BACKGROUND Deuce has come a long way. From the failing community where she lived as a child, she has escaped the tunnels and survived the surface of the earth and made her way to Salvation.
In the process of this journey she has found true love with Fade, and picked up Tegan and Stalker.
At Salvation, she found a home with a terrific family. Things worked well until Fade was kidnapped by the horde of 'freaks' who are now plotting to attack the settlement. Unable to defend friends and family, the original four set off to find assistance against the new threat. .
ME Everyone will enjoy HORDE more than I did. As I indicated, for whatever reason I could not re-connect with the characters, and could not appreciate the writing. I found the tone of the prose to be more formal and less active first-person, and ironically... more middle-gradish.
What I mean by this is that in less well written middle grade books that ideas tend to be over-explained, as if 13 year olds are dull creatures. And that's more or less how I perceived things to be in HORDE.
Here's an example: "No more deals with Stalker?" the author has Fade saying. And those of us who are over 12 understand what Fade means by this. But rather than just let that stand, a whole long explanation is tacked on. Deuce thinks to herself: "That told me he still cared; despite the pain, his feelings for me hadn't changed."
From Page 182: another example "Fade put down his jug; he was carrying it instead of hauling, as he was stronger than I was." [Arrrgh. Just arrgh.]
CONCLUSION Okay, all books are not for all people and this one wasn't for me. I do think though that most lovers of ENCLAVE are going to like this book.
This will forever be one of my favorite YA series. Dark, gritty, and all of the characters have my heart. I DON'T EVEN LIKE ZOMBIES!!! I took a long time to finish because I knew this book would destroy me, and in some ways it did. I know the right ship won and , but a part of still wishes it had ended differently. I never saw the twist with the Muties, and I love how the ending played out . I need to get my copies signed by Ann, I was too chicken to ask her when I saw her at a book convention in April, but after that ending I'm all emotional again. Hopefully I'll get my chance next year!
Deuce, Fade, Stalker y Tegan salieron de Salvacion para poder conseguir ayuda, pero cuando llegaron con los refuerzos la aldea se habia perdido, pero habian sobrevivientes, algunos hombres, mujeres y niños que lograron salir por el pasadillo secreto de la casa del Alcalde. Y aunque ahora se encuentran refugiados, Deuce esta decida a encontrar un lugar seguro donde su familia (los Robles) y para eso debia eliminar a todos los Mutantes que seguian hostigandolos. Asi que decidio reunir un grupo de hombres entre todas las aldeas que la acompañaran en la monumental tarea de detener a este enemigo, que cada vez se estaba volviendo mas inteligente. En el camino, no solo debera aprender destrezas militares, sino que perdera algunos amigos, se reecontrara con otros y hara unos nuevos, y aunque la lucha sea a muerte, ella y los suyos se enfrentaran a los Mutantes hasta la muerte para poder darle la oportunidad a los demas de seguir con vida.
Este libro esta lleno de accion de principio a fin, tiene un par de momentos dulces, pero basicamente es una sola escena de accion de principio a fin. Y eso fue lo que mas me atrapo de este lectura, cuando comienzas no hay manera de detenerse, quieres seguir y seguir hasta saber que esta pasando y como los protas se van a enfrentar al nuevo peligro y como van a vencerlo. Me gustaron todos los secundarios de este libro, el grupo de "tenientes" del Batallon D, me dolio mucho la muerte de cierto personaje, y me encanto el reencuentro con otros, pero lo que mas me gusto fue como la prota se definia en ciertos momentos y se confundia en otros, haciendonos recordar que solo es una joven de 17 años al mando de cientos de hombres y mujeres mucho mayores. Lo que no me gusto, o podria decirse lo que senti que le falto, fue aclarar varios puntos. Por ejemplo, que paso con los otros pueblos del este, norte y sur de Salvacion? Que paso con los Lobos? De que vivieron Deuce y Fade en el pueblo? Que paso con Gavin? y con Stone y Thimble y su bebe? En fin, la trilogia es muy entretenida y llena de accion, sus personajes interesantes, el universo diferente, hasta los "zombies" son diferentes y "maduran" en cada generacion, es seguro que lea otras sagas de este autor mas adelante.
It saddens me to say that this book disappointed me beyond my imagination. I have had such high hopes for this finale seeing that I loved Enclave and Outpost a lot, falling in love with the story and the main cast of characters. When I got my hands on Horde, I quickly consumed it without delay, and I thought with my excitement, I could probably finish it in one sitting. I finished this book days after. And it's bad when I finish a book in a span of a few days, because that means I am not as invested/interested.
My question now is...
The main reason I loved the Razorland series was because I thought it had a big potential to end in an epic, exceptional way. You cannot imagine my disappointment when I found Horde flat, boring, and just absolutely mediocre. Perhaps I have only gotten more critical, but I cannot ignore the countless times I rolled my eyes of the cheesiness (Deuce and Fade, I am GLARING at you), and skipped pages upon pages of redundant battle scenes (Action scenes are supposed to make you excited, so why the hell was I BORED to death?). Don't jump on me yet; hear me out. Here are the reasons why I am tossing this to the MEDIOCRE category:
Deuce's voice/the narrative is dull and helplessly boring. Seriously, could there not be any more boring character than her? I don't know why but the narration felt so monotonous. I couldn't feel any emotion in her words as it felt like a robot was speaking to me. I don't have the book in my hands right now so I can't really provide any samples, but it's just something you observe especially when you've read really good first-person narratives.
I also didn't like how she would assume what other characters must be feeling every time the spotlight goes to them. Case-in-point: Stalker was looking at Tegan in a particular way while she was sparring with Morrow, and the narration would describe that gaze and then say what he was feeling inside. And I am like... hold it, what? Isn't this supposed to be a first person narrative? Why is Deuce saying what Stalker was feeling? During these instances, it seemed to me that the narration was unsure whether it was first-person or a third-person omniscient, and it would piss me off so much. Every time Deuce would describe the environment or her surroundings, it was done in a similarly boring manner, too. There were too many unnecessary details that the book could have gone without. I was tempted many times to just skip the tedious paragraphs and get on with the story. Speaking of tedious, the battle scenes were awfully redundant as well. Deuce would hack, slash, and slice the enemy, and of course, the ever-graceful Fade would be fighting behind her, covering her rear - hacking, slashing, slicing, too! And there was Stalker at the distance, stabbing that Freak at the neck, and here comes Tully by the cliff, who effortlessly shot the enemy at the chest, and another one at the head! Rinse and repeat every battle... and I am always right that Fade would always be nearby to cover her rear, with added adjectives describing how awesome and beautiful he is... zZzZzzZzzzzz...
And, oh, Fade, Fade, Fade... I loved him in Enclave, was ambivalent towards him in Outpost, and utterly hated him in this installment. It was like his personality in the previous books simply vanished into thin air. Aside from fighting alongside others, he did nothing but go lovey-dovey with Deuce every time they get the chance. The romance between the two of them was tiring and the dialogue even worse... the lines were just so awfully cheesy that it was borderline unrealistic. Go on, read the scenes with the two of them again and dare tell me they're the kind of lines you'd tell your husband or boyfriend. No offense, but if they are your kind of lines, I am super judging you right now (I'm kidding, but seriously, I like cheese in my plate, not in my books.) To add insult to injury, the first half of the book was absolutely Fade-centric with Deuce putting his name every page. Fade this, Fade that... yada yada yada... God. Her constant obsession of wanting to touch him, then saying how that touch would hurt him so she wouldn't, but oh! she would give anything to touch him... nearly drove me nuts. There was a portion of the book where she would mention this every chapter, and my head kind of hurt from rolling my eyes after the nth time.
The book constantly reminds us of Boring Deuce's awesomeness. Everywhere she goes, there would be people who would be amazed of her adventures ("You're from the underground? NO FRICKING WAY AWESOMESAUCE!") and of her persona. The book pretty much made every men aside from the boys of the main cast as wussies in order to make Deuce seem stronger and better. Like seriously, everyone is blindly following a teen girl around who prefer to be called "sir"? A sixteen year old over battle veterans? Seriously? Yeah, I don't think so. I would have liked it better if say they were following an older, more experienced soldier as their leader with Deuce and Fade having influential roles. I mean, come on, a 16 year old leading a war with an army named after her! People practically kissed her feet, eventually making her the sort of character I try to avoid: the loved-by-everyone, good-at-everything, can-never-do-wrong, will-still-be-loved-even-if-she-nuked-a-city character. After the first few instances where unnecessary praise were thrown to her, I kind of just skipped the circle-jerks. Redundant shit is still redumdant shit, so there.
With that said, I am overall very disappointed. Even though there were some parts I liked, it was overall a dismaying read for me especially since I expected better than this. I cannot just simply shake off the frustration I've felt while reading this book, even though I hold the previous books close to my heart. Hopefully, Ann Aguirre will make me fall in love with her writing again when her next book comes out.
I'm giving multiple ratings for HORDE. As a whole, it was a good end to a spectacular series that totally knocked my socks off.
HORDE is separated into three parts, and it is those three parts I will be reviewing now:
PART I- 3/5 & PART II- 2.5/5
I was texting a friend, and I think something I said explained my thoughts regarding these two sections perfectly: Deuce is a girl who was, to a certain degree, brainwashed by the society she lived in. So, it is understandable that she would struggle to acclimate to a new, more "sophisticated" society totally unlike her own. It is understandable that she would struggle to grasp why Fade would get so frustrated with her (re: romance), and it is understandable why the concept of a family, of people worrying about her (re: Mama Oaks) would confound her early on. I enjoyed her struggles between Girl and Huntress in ENCLAVE and OUTPOST, but I feel those struggles, while there to a lesser degree, were muddied in HORDE.
Deuce develops throughout the series, but by the trilogy's final book, I expected more development. The Deuce in parts 1&2 appears to be the same Deuce we saw in OUTPOST. I felt there should have been more time for mourning, more time for her to really let her emotions loose. Even if that time was just a few extra pages to really let the readers experience her pain and her struggles to lead--it didn't have to be much, just a little something to let us delve deeper into her mind. She is no longer the Huntress we met in Enclave; she's no longer the Girl struggling to fit in, either. She's not naive (okay, regarding some matters, she is), and she doesn't smother her emotions like she once did, and yet... I believed a lot of scenes that could have molded Deuce further were... glossed over. They're there, they're just not fully fleshed out. Some people may disagree with that; they may say that what is there is perfect, and that's fine. This is just my opinion, after all.
I think that's how I feel about a number of the character interactions in HORDE. Things felt rushed. Something happens, they talk, and it's time to move on. And I know that HORDE is more about war, that war doesn't allow a person the luxury to fully grasp everything that is happening around him/her, but the group had their winter days too.
Her interactions with Fade in these first two parts were exhausting. They sneak off, talk for 1/4 a page, and then go back to work. I HATE to say this, but those brief moments between them felt repetitive; by the third interaction (the dialogue on Fade's end felt like it was the exact same every time), I found that I was losing interest in a romance that I have been rooting for since day 1. Now I know that Fade is suffering, and that it's hard to really get over something that traumatizing so quickly. I wasn't expecting the two to go back to how they were, but the scenes between them were so few and far and they were very, very short. Again, I wanted more of him, of them.
PART III- 5/5
This. THIS is what I was missing for the first two thirds of the book: a spark, a connection that made me click with all the characters. At first, I thought maybe my lack of complete enthrallment with the beginning and middle was my fault. I have, after all, taken a long break from reading published books due to everything sounding the exact same. But literally, upon turning the page and reading the next chapter in this new part, something shifted in my brain and I found myself unable to read the pages fast enough. I read until I passed out while reading, and when I woke up, I read even more.
Part 3 contains the exact balance of romance, suspense, and characterization that I witnessed in ENCLAVE and OUTPOST. Were there heart-racing moments for me? Well, no, not this time around, but I did enjoy the way the Freaks evolved. They are beyond the creep-factor, I think. They've transformed... well, you'll have to see for yourself.
That development of Deuce that I was sorely missing felt real. All the characters finally came alive for me, and nothing dragged. I felt every emotion. I felt Deuce's anxiety as she was searching. I felt her wariness during her encounter with an unlikely ally. And I finally felt peace by the epilogue. I closed HORDE with a sad--but satisfied--smile.
This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't started this series.
The horde is coming.
Horde is an epic and highly satisfying conclusion to one of the best, well-done post-apocalytpic series out there. Brutal, addictive, and wholly original, Horde is a fantastic finale that will have readers hanging on tightly for this wild ride to never end.
I already knew that this series is filled with tension, scandal, betrayal, and all that fun stuff, but Horde takes the circumstances to a whole new level. As the Freaks grow rapidly, Deuce must stand strong with her army against this harsh wasteland. The best - and I do mean, best - part about the Razorland trilogy is Deuce, simply put. Her character development, her kick-butt ways, her defense for the ones she loves, everything that Deuce is and stands for is phenomenal. Ann Aguirre has done a tremendous and fantastic job with developing Deuce from the moment we first see her as a Brat to becoming a hero for this crumbling world. If you love a strong, fierce protagonist to fall in love with, Deuce is the way to go.
I just have to talk about the world-building in Horde. We have got to see so many sides of this world, but it all comes down to this final moment in this electrifying conclusion. The tables have turned, and Deuce is on the run to save herself from the massive horde. Getting to see even more of this Freak filled world was great, and I loved how Aguirre managed to build even more layers upon the world in each novel. Also what's great? Each novel is better than its predecessor. The characters and world evolve more, the writing becomes more lush and brutal, and everything about these books are great. Needing a book to emerge yourself in and never want to be taken out of the world? The Razorland trilogy is fantastic in every way possible.
Though I was so sad to let this series go, I couldn't have asked for a better ending. All the loose ends (and I'm talking questions that were raised back in book one and never brought up again) were tied up so nicely, and this ending was highly satisfying. Aguirre did a brilliant job with tying everything together in Horde; if you couldn't have guessed, I loved Horde so much. Definitely the best of the trilogy!
Overall, Horde is a phenomenal, masterfully done finale that will have readers chomping at the bits, zooming through pages as fast as they can. Ann Aguirre has done it again!
Five Stars: A stunning conclusion to an amazing series!
Deuce arrives at Soldier Pond, begging for help. Her new home Salvation is under siege from the Horde. The Freaks have multiplied and banded together into an unstoppable colony. They are faster, smarter and capable of destroying what remains of humanity. Even though the threat is real, the remaining settlements aren't convinced that they should fight. Deuce takes it upon herself to try and raise an army. If she can't band the remaining settlements together against the Horde, they are all doomed. Can Deuce stop the Horde? What I Liked: *Wow! This book is a terrific finale to a heart pounding, action packed, apocalyptic series. The Razorland Triology is a series you must read if you are a fan of dystopian books. It has tremendous characters, solid world building and a plot that is fast paced and adrenaline spiking. If you are a junkie for thrilling dystopians do not hesitate read this book and series! *The characters... how I have grown to love the characters in this trilogy. At the heart of the story is Deuce who starts out as a fifteen year old, groomed in the underground enclave to be a fierce fighter, a Huntress. Throughout the series, she shows tremendous growth. She becomes a fighter and she rallies the remaining settlements to her cause. She is brave, fierce and never backs down from a fight. She is one of those kick butt chicks that we all so admire. I loved getting into her head and watching her grow and change, especially as she learned more about human emotions such as romantic love and familial bonds. Alongside her are Fade, Tegan and Stalker as well as her new adoptive family. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed these characters. Fade definitely struggles a bit, but in the end he comes through. Tegan also grows and changes so much. She goes from the frightened, abused girl to a brave fighter and a healer. Stalker especially won me over. In the first book, he is a villain and it was easy to hate him, but he turns over a new leaf and he becomes a character that I truly admire. If you are a fan of books with tremendous characters who undergo significant growth, read these books. *Finally, I was able to get the answers to many lingering questions. This book reveals the origins of the Freaks and you finally learn more as to what they really are. There is also information on the fall of the previous civilization. I loved learning more about the world and the Freaks, and I liked the explanation for how the world ended. *This book will grab you with its fierce claws and hold you hostage until the end. Set aside some time for this one because you won't want to put it down. Ms. Aguirre has a way of throwing in these little snippets of foreshadowing before a big event that will keep you reading. This book is full of action and heart stopping battle scenes. There are many sacrifices and some heartbreak, but there is also hope, and love and a surprising happy reunion. Horde will play with your emotions as you experience terror, sadness, courage, hope and love. It is truly a stunning conclusion to a terrific series. *The romance....I loved the way the romance finally worked out. Up until this book, it is a bit rocky, but it finally unfurls in all its magnificent splendor. This is a romance that is done right, it is slow and steady built on friendship and an unfailing trust. It falters and stumbles a bit, but in the end it bursts into something truly beautiful, it took my breath away. I absolutely ate it up! *The writing is stunning. I can't do it justice by trying to explain, you must experience it for yourself. Trust me, Ann Aguirre is a master story teller and an author you should be reading! And The Not So Much: *Even though I found most of the answers I wanted regarding the Freaks, I was left a bit disappointed that I didn't get to spend a bit more time understanding them after all is said and done. I would very much like to have seen Deuce go amongst them and learn more about them. I wanted to know were there life spans getting longer? Did they have familial bonds like humans? What happened to them after the battle? *There is a wonderful Epilogue at the end that satiated me and yet left me hungry, too. I wanted more. What happened with Tegan and Morrow? What happened with Rex and Spence and Gavin? What happened with the Freaks?
Horde is an absolute must read book, especially if you are a fan of the series. This book is a roller coaster of emotions. It will suck you in and keep you hostage until the final pages. Expect heart pounding battle scenes, loss, heartbreak, hope and happiness. I loved that amidst all the turmoil and death, there is also love and romance. Ms. Aguirre has written a top notch YA dystopian series that shouldn't be missed. I cannot wait to read more of her books!
Favorite Quotations: "Because I love you." It was easy to say it this time now that I understood what it meant. Then I quoted his own words back to him. "Not just when it's easy. All the time." "No history is ever unbiased." "When people stop writing down their stories, the soul of the world is lost." "I feared a love like this---that made us incomplete without each other. It was beautiful but treacherous, like snow that looked white and pure and lovely from the safety of your window, but when you stepped out to touch the softness, the cold first tole your breath, and then your will to move, until you could just lay down in it and let the numbness take you." "This is a story written in the bones, and that homage will continue as long as the world turns, until it loses its ragged edge, and new heroes arise. But those are other stories."
I reviewed a copy of this book as part of Around the World Tours. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own. Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.
Welp, that's it. It's over, folks. Let me start off by saying that this last book was a little disappointing. I still enjoyed the book somewhat; it's just that this third installment comes nowhere near the other two.
THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME
1. Pacing. The pacing was so slow until the last part of the book. Even then, I skimmed the last few pages because there was so much junk. The majority of the book was running around and killing Freaks, with only a shadow of a plan. This bored me nearly to death, and it took me a while to get back into the book.
2. Characters/Characterization. This part made me angry the most. Back in Enclave and Outpost the characters and their growth were what kept me going. I was so drawn to these characters that I finished those books within a day from when I purchased them. This book? Not even close.
I hated everyone in this book with the exception of Stalker. Nobody was the same anymore. Nobody had grown anymore. If they had, it was negatively. I hated Fade and his clingy tendencies. I hated Deuce, for being flat and uninteresting. I hated Tegan, because she honestly annoyed me. I'm all for strong women, but she was seriously boring. Which is sad, because these characters had so much potential, and at one time I liked them. Not anymore, though. Outside of those characters, everyone else I didn't really care about. Pointless characters, with the exception of Morrow. Whom Aguirre had to pair off with Tegan.
Can we just talk about that for a second? Everyone "important" being paired off annoyed the hell out of me. Why? A character doesn't have to be in a relationship to be happy. Why some authors do this, I will never know. Is it because they lack the capability? Which brings me to my next point. (Well... side-point.)
KILLING OFF CHARACTERS UNNECESSARILY. (Brace for it guys, I'm about to unleash it here for all of Goodreads to see.) As I'm sure you all know by now, Stalker is and will forever be my favorite character in this series. He had so much potential to be an amazing and stand-out character, but Aguirre killed him. Why? WHY? You want to know why? Because Stalker wasn't going to have anybody to be in a relationship with, so BAM. Nope. Gone. His death scene was so crappily written too. It felt so poor and hastily written. Ugh. I'll talk more about the writing later, but I felt that Stalker was so quickly shoved out of the picture. He was only one in the group (I think; I may have been too angry to remember) that died, too. No, the inexperienced fighters didn't die, but the strongest fighter did? What kind of logic is that? Deuce's eulogy for him was sh*tty at best, too. Oh he wasn't always a good person, but a fierce warrior, eh? HE APOLOGIZED TO HER FOR WHAT HE DID IN THE PAST, AND EVEN FELT THAT WHATEVER HE DID WASN'T ENOUGH TO ACHIEVE FORGIVENESS. EVEN TO THE POINT WHERE HE DIED FOR HER, AND HE DIED SAYING THAT IT WAS DOING THE WORLD GOOD THAT TEAGAN LIVES INSTEAD OF HIM. Yeah, he wasn't always a good person, BUT IN THE END HE WAS. HE WAS A GOOD FRIEND, AND DEUCE JUST COULDN'T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT, HUH? God, I'm surprised they even dug a grave for him.
I loved Stalker. He was BY far the most interesting character in the entire series. Forget Deuce. Screw Fade. Stalker was a bad person in the beginning. To see him gradually change and grow as a character was wonderful, and he is now literally one of my favorite male characters in all of the books I've read. He was so complex and well-developed, yet he wasn't given much spotlight. I so desperately wish he had lived. I would've loved to see what he had done with the rest of his life. I don't think he would be the type to get into a relationship, and that is what makes him one of my favorite characters today. He was his own character, not bound to any partner and pathetically useless without the other. I think Aguirre killed him also, because I think she wanted us to think that his death made up for what he had done in the past. NO, NO NO NO NO. A person can change and live a very fulfilling, positive life. They can get a second chance. Do you know what that second chance does? It proves that there IS some good in the world, and that ONE person changed for the better is worth it in the end. If we can change one person, there IS hope. Forgiveness begets forgiveness. Isn't that sort of a theme in here too? Peace can only be achieved if one side puts down their blades... or something like that? Why couldn't Stalker be some sort of a symbol of that? Well, I guess he kind of was/is. Whatever. Moving on.
Tully, Zach Bigwater, Harry Carter, and a bunch of other supporting characters died as well. *eyeroll* But of course Deuce's pwecious Fade and Rex and family didn't die. OF COURSE, BECAUSE THAT WOULD JUST BE TOO MUCH PAIN AND SUPER SPESHUL DEUCE CAN'T LOSE ANYBODY SHE LOVES. EVEN IF IT'S ILLOGICAL! But those other characters didn't make it to a happy ending because, bleh... Aguirre got lazy. Jesus Christ.
3. Writing. Oh Jesus, here we go. The writing was pretty poor compared to the other two novels in the series. Every fight scene was lacking feeling and description. The same old hack and slash for Deuce, grace for Fade, and effectiveness for Stalker. Stalker's death scene was so poorly written, that I felt no sympathy for Deuce or the other idiots. His death was meaningless and out of no where, for no real reason other than to shove him out of the picture. The whole scene just felt... bad. I can't explain it. The scenes where Deuce and Fade were being sappy as f*ck were magically super descriptive and long, though. Go figure.
THINGS THAT I LIKED
1. Plot. The plot has always intrigued me from the beginning. It even scared me a little bit, and I loved it. I greedily gulped down whatever was revealed about the past world and how everything came to be and what would happen in the future. That was what drew me so strongly to these books. I find this stuff fascinating. The pacing and unnecessary events mostly ruined this in this last book, though. The amount of romance scenes spent with freakin' Fade destroyed almost all of the urgency and wonder the plot initially had founded. I skipped every scene that was remotely mushy (trust me, there was a crap ton of them in there too). The only one I did fully read was when they had sex. *eyeroll* Fade and Deuce make me want to throw up whenever I hear their names together. They are so pathetic without one another, too. Ugh. Just UGH. Anyway, I did enjoy what little plot made it into here, though. The majority of my questions were answered, and I was content, I suppose, with the ending. I only have a few questions. One is about the rest of the world. And also, are there no more Freaks throughout the country (I'm assuming nobody made it as far as out of a few states maybe from where they lived)? What about Fade's real name? It was only mentioned like, twice.
2. Stalker. You already know why. *sigh* I wish I could just hug him.
Well, that's all I have to say. This book had some serious flaws, but in the end, I still mildly enjoyed it. I'm finally done with this series. Time to move on to another one!
"When people stop writing down their stories, the soul of the world is lost."
—Morrow, Horde, P. 149
Temporary safety in the town of Salvation is only a memory as Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan hit the road in search of a settlement that might be willing to send reinforcements to stave off the Freaks when they attack. Salvation is at the mercy of thousands of these mutants until enough towns send men to help fight the enemy, and Deuce's convoy has little time to make that happen. As Salvation's leaders feared, nearby strongholds don't take Deuce seriously, and their refusal to help is the death knell for Salvation, where Deuce's adopted parents and brother live. The town and most of its population are massacred by the Freak horde, a lucky few escaping with their lives and nothing else. Quarter for the refugees is reluctantly offered at a fortress called Soldier's Pond, but Deuce and her warrior friends are no happier here than at Salvation. They won't wait for the horde to track them down and torch the place they live a second time; the situation calls for immediate action led by a commander who isn't afraid to die, and that's Deuce. With the weight of the future world on her shoulders she departs Soldier's Pond with a small group of friends and military men to beseech neighboring settlements to throw in their lot against the Freaks, but convincing them to cooperate is an arduous undertaking.
"But wishes were empty thoughts, cast down a dark hole. They didn't come true unless you worked for them. I'd learned that about the world, if nothing more."
—Horde, P. 65
Deuce envisioned making rousing speeches to crowds who'd be ready to put their lives on the line to defend their homes against the Freaks, but what she finds is a lot more fear than bravado. Maybe the Freaks will tire of pillaging and go away if they aren't antagonized, people say; hoping for that is better than instigating war with an army of vastly superior numbers, isn't it? Deuce's skill is with knives, not words, and the results of her recruitment tour are abysmal. Even her loyal followers are beginning to doubt, until she gets back to basics by annexing a portion of forest land to defend to the death against Freak invaders. Slaying the monsters that violate this no-Freak zone lifts the soldiers' morale and gives them combat practice, but Deuce isn't sure whether to be worried or heartened when a lone Freak wanders into camp and speaks to her. Unlike the feral beasts that all Freaks recently were, this creature is capable of coherent speech. He proposes a nonaggression pact: the Freaks won't trespass on the patch of land that Deuce and her compatriots are defending, as long as the humans don't try to hunt them down. Deuce knows she'll have to abandon the place when winter comes anyway, and this treaty is something to build on.
Fade's psychological recovery from the brutalization he suffered at the Freaks' hands in the previous book, Outpost, is going slowly if at all. He cringes when touched, even by Deuce. She wonders if he'll ever welcome her closeness again, and his self-prognosis isn't encouraging. Yet she vows to wait however long it takes Fade to piece himself together; no other suitor will suffice. Stalker is frustrated by Deuce's consistent "No" to a relationship, but he carries his weight on the team by captaining the scouts, and the mission would have been sunk many times if not for his expertise. As legends spread of their vigorous land defense against the Freaks, Company D—as they're now known—is treated with respect in the region, and Deuce is seen by town elders as more than an impudent girl with deadly combat skills. Soldiers who ignored her recruiting calls are now eager to take up arms and join the war, swelling her infantry to a few hundred people. That's far less than the thousands of biting, clawing, raging Freaks that will inevitably descend on the remaining towns, but Deuce's army is the only chance humans have to not be wiped out. The battle is coming, and it's a virtual guarantee that most of Deuce's soldiers will perish even if they miraculously defeat the Freaks. Who will Deuce say goodbye to for the last time in this struggle for humanity's soul? In light of her personal losses, will she care anymore which side emerges victorious?
"Sometimes it felt as if all happiness came at a price. You could never, ever, have perfection. Life gave you beauty so you could bear the pain."
—Horde, P. 410
Horde doesn't feel any different from Enclave or Outpost. The action seems distant, the threat from the Freaks remote, and there aren't many surprises to speak of. The series isn't like other dystopian novels, which usually depend on heart-stopping action and raw emotional turmoil. Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, Neal Shusterman's Unwind, and James Dashner's The Maze Runner make readers feel as though the story is happening to them, as though their own lives are in jeopardy. The Razorland books don't offer dystopian thrills so much as a surprisingly quiet story about relationships. The fear that beloved characters might die is ever-present, but most of the drama comes from emotional peril. That's what Ann Aguirre seems to write best, and it rescues the series from mediocrity. There's sound social commentary here, too, built into the narrative's dystopian aspects. People revile Freaks for the atrocities they've committed, but they're not all monsters. Memories of horrors perpetrated by their kind aren't easily dislodged, but the new breed of Freak is prepared to engage in civil dialogue with the humans. Will they consent, or is their hatred of Freaks overwhelming? The scenario bears implications for the real world, where people groups are often blamed for the depravity of a few among them. When society refuses to draw those distinctions, resentment and conflict go on and on with no ending unless one side or the other is exterminated. The only avenue to peace is for people to make the effort to not hold the many accountable for the actions of an irresponsible few.
"(I)t takes more courage to heal the world's hurts than to inflict them."
—Horde, P. 394
Death is a constant companion as Deuce and her soldiers work toward the ultimate showdown with the Freaks. Indispensable members of Company D are lost even before the big day, and the heartache takes a toll on Deuce, already weary from building her forces for the last stand. But forgetting her comrades who have died would be worse, as she realizes when she thinks on one close friend who's passed away. "My heart hurt when I remembered him, but the alternative was forgetting, and that was the final kind of death—when nobody told your story anymore." Grief plagues an exhausted heart and mind, but not paying the respect of remembrance is unthinkable. It's better to remember and be in pain than to feel at ease because you're not acknowledging the loss of an irreplaceable loved one. Deuce has many discoveries to make about friendship and love; though Fade keeps her at arm's length, he can't live with the thought of Deuce dying, but he's faced with the possibility every day in the forest, and Deuce has the same concern for him. What will they do if their luck runs out and a Freak kills one of them? The dread is unrelenting, as Deuce observes. "I feared a love like this—that made us incomplete without each other. It was beautiful but treacherous, like snow that looked white and pure and lovely from the safety of your window, but when you stepped out to touch the softness, the cold first stole your breath, and then your will to move, until you could just lay down in it and let the numbness take you." Loving anyone that much is scary, but worth it for those who've had a taste of such intimacy of spirit. It's a devastating risk, but one that Deuce doesn't think twice about taking. We see her commitment when Fade asks why she promises to wait however long it takes him to beat his psychological demons so they can be close again. "Because I love you...Not just when it's easy. All the time." Much of the time it won't be easy, but you don't discard a blessing like love because it's high-maintenance. When you find the right person, nothing matters more, but will Deuce and Fade live to enjoy love for the best years of their lives?
This series isn't as great as some dystopians, but Horde won me over as Enclave and Outpost couldn't quite manage to do. Maybe it's the extra length (the first two books average out at less than three hundred pages each, and Horde is four hundred twenty-two), allowing a conclusion that doesn't feel rushed in the slightest. The emotion of those wrap-up pages is significant, a nice reward for Razorland fans. Because of all that, I'm rounding my two-and-a-half star rating up to three, and I'm sure it's the right choice. There's a fourth book, Vanguard, that continues the narrative from a new perspective, and I'm excited about it. I appreciate everything you imparted to me through Deuce's odyssey, Ann Aguirre. I'll reflect on the story, its lessons, and characters with fondness, and that's a fine way for any series to be remembered.
“Because I love you.' It was easy to say it this time now that I understood what it meant. Then I quoted his own words back to him. 'Not just when it's easy. All the time.”
For a minute there I think my heart stopped.
I’ve had my bad share of series-finale books. Some got left me sad, some left me disappointed, and some even left me incredibly ticked off. So I was wary while reading Horde. I was wishfully thinking this would not blow up in my face. Thankfully, Ann Aguirre did not fail me. Oh! Thank you, Ms. Aguirre for such a wonderful ending!
I hadn’t put a lot of thought to this series when I first started off with Enclave. To me, it felt like another one of those zombie stories, blah, blah and blah. But then when I met Deuce and Fade, they poked my interest over what kind of story these characters would be going through. And so I fell in love with these two, and over time, as I watch them grow I couldn’t bear to think of these two apart.
Deuce has always been a strong character from the start. But it was humbling to see a sensitive side of her. The more she grew to learn things about life and love that has been deemed unfit for a Huntress during her days in the enclave, the more lovable Deuce became. She has truly grown so much over the course of her journey. She truly lived up as the heroine I always believed her to be.
Fade may have been the quiet one from the start, but there is no denying the aura of strength he seems to embody. Needless to say, I couldn’t get enough of Fade! He was just prefect, never mind that he was a little broken after the events of Outpost, time helped him heal, and I was so glad that Deuce was there to support him all throughout.
“I didn't ask if he meant his rescue or the deal with Stalker that involved kissing. I couldn't resist pushing, just a little. "So it won't bother you if I find someone else?"
His jaw clenched, and I saw the muscle move before he got it under control. "I thought you said you'd fight for me."
"And you said it's too late." I offered him a faint smile along with his watch. "So it's a good thing I don't intend to listen to you.”
It was unfortunate to see Stalker’s fate, but it seemed fitting. In some way, he was able to redeem himself of his mistakes.
I love that this was equal parts action, adventure, and romance, it didn’t stray far out from its prose – unlike some books (yes, I’m bitter about a specific finale, take a wild guess. LOL).
Horde was a fitting ending to the Razorland Trilogy. It really gave me the kind of closure I needed for this story.
With the Horde camped all around Salvation and everyone Deuce has come to care about once again in danger she has set out with Fade, Tegan and Stalker to try and get help from the nearest settlements. The number of Freaks they're up against leave them facing almost impossible odds but Deuce and her friends are determined and as they gradually gain the respect of other settlements their army starts to grow. They're going to need a miracle if they have any chance of winning though and the assistance they badly need comes from a very unexpected quarter.
This book was fantastic, it's fast paced, full of action and pretty bloody and brutal. I think it's probably the darkest book in the series but there were moments of lightness that stopped it being too dark. I love that Ann Aguirre doesn't try to sugarcoat things though, this is a war, the stakes are high and every victory they have is going to cost them. Sometimes the price is almost too much to bear but giving in isn't an option so Deuce just has to find a way to keep pushing on. She's come such a long way since the first book and now she's such a wonderful young woman, she's not perfect and she makes mistakes but she has the heart of a lion and she is determined to make a positive difference with her life. The relationship between her and Fade has been great, they've been through so much together and Fade is in a bad place at the start of this book but Deuce never gives up on him and they fight to find their way back to each other.
Horde had some brilliant twists to it and there were a few shock moments that I definitely wasn't expecting. In fact one thing upset me far more than I would have expected it to. We're introduced to some great new characters along the way and there are a few familiar faces from Deuce's past that I was really happy to see. It was interesting to see how each different settlement lived and how they went about protecting themselves in this new world. Travel between the settlements was treacherous so each group had to be pretty self sufficient but some of the towns and villages they came across were more dangerous than others.
I know Horde was originally meant to be the final book in this trilogy and as such it's actually a pretty great ending that ties up all the major threads that have been running through the series. I'm glad that Ann Aguirre decided to give fans another story set in this world though, I love Tegan and am looking forward to spending more time with her but more than anything I'm curious to see how the world goes about rebuilding after the major battle in this book.
Of all the trilogies I've read, Horde yields the most significant amount of maturity in the final installment. By both the main character and the author's writing.
Considering I waffled (mmm...waffles sound great) with finishing this trilogy after reading books one and two, the final book rounded off with a full four stars, honestly surprising me. The cringey love triangle was nowhere to be seen, and the scope of the main character's maturity broadened greatly.
The most interesting part of the character, for me, was how the character grew with every widening of her world, starting underground with a tiny, barbaric enclave, moving above ground to meeting several new people, joining a small settlement, and finally traveling the length and breadth of the territories.
The psych nurse in me liked the author's realistic approach to the time required for healing from trauma/PTSD. Love doesn't just ride in and conquer all. There's a process even with support.
I'd rate this a PG-13 for mild swearing, gore and violence, and discrete sexual encounters.
Well, that was a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy I've loved from the very beginning. It came full-circle, wrapped up loose ends, answered questions that have plagued the reader for the duration of the series...yes, very satisfying indeed.
I'm going to keep this short for fear that anything I say will spoil things along the way. Also, I hate series finales. I usually put off reading the final book in a series until I just can't stand it anymore because I don't want to say goodbye to the world and the characters I've come to love. But with the Razorland trilogy, I knew the author wouldn't do me wrong. I just had a gut feeling...because of the path Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan have already taken and because of previous interviews the author has done, I knew she loved these characters as much as I did, and she wanted to give them the ending they deserved.
And though I'm not happy about some of the turns their story took, namely I am really happy with the end result. Especially when it comes to how the conflict with the Muties/Freaks is resolved and the explanation for their existence. I think I read an interview with the author after Outpost stating that these creatures were never zombies, though I think that's what most readers -- including myself -- had inferred from the beginning, but after reading Foundation, I knew the truth was much worse. I'm so glad to finally understand this world and those who inhabit it.
I really loved the emphasis placed on human nature and how it affects the world around us, too. Whether it was Deuce recruiting for her army or the actions of a small child years ago, human nature played a vital role in deciding the future of this civilization, and at times, it looked like a lack of true human compassion could see things ending badly for all involved.
Deuce's journey was a harrowing tale, and a truly emotional one at that. This series started out about "zombies" and doing whatever was necessary to survive. But it's become so much more over the course of the books. It's about a young girl finding her way in a new and strange world, finding love and friendship and family along the way. It's about the terrors of war and human nature. And above all it's about fighting for what you believe in, no matter the cost. I'm not usually a fan of epilogues, but I can appreciate the one at the end of Deuce's story, .
I love this story and everything it symbolizes, and I can't wait to see what else Ann Aguirre has in store for her readers. By the by, she also wrote a short story featured in 'Til the World Ends, also about a post-apocalyptic world but featuring a different set of characters, though no less heroic. I haven't read the Sirantha Jax books yet, but they are on the shortlist. I am positive I will enjoy anything this author writes.
Thanks to Macmillan & Christina Reads YA for the ARC for review!
You know those books you read when you where younger? Those books that made you fall in love with reading? This book reminded me of that. However I'm not going to call it a YA book as I don't believe it should be classified as such-the themes and actions and reactions that occurred were more mature than most any YA books I've read, closer to adult fiction. If I had to pick one word for this novel, it would be: fantastic. The progression of plot, the original writing (even when dictating happenings slightly similar to other books), the different characters' emotional growth and mental strength, the beautiful romance that deepens and solidifies, the way Deuce's voice remained true even while she changed...it was all fantastic. Be smart and don't start this book if you don't have the time to finish it. Trust me, I have finals in two days and look at that-the day has whittled away. Although I can't say I'm entirely sorry ;)
I can appreciate the author for making the heroine's journey to unify humans and become a leader being a tough one, but I really don't like (1) how the grave crisis is solved in the end so very easily, (2) a main character died and it's so damn predictable, looks like his death is being used as tear-jerker.
This is a review for both Outpost and Horde. There are some spoilers, so read at your own risk.
I loved Enclave, the first book in the Razorland series, because it was an interesting and fresh take at the post-apocalyptic world with a very strong female protagonist and interesting supporting characters. So I really wanted to like the next two books in the series, I really did. Unfortunately, those books proved to be a huge disappointment, at least for me. Oh, the world-building is excellent. Ann Aguirre does a wonderful job describing the different settlements and the different ways people chose to survive after the world we knew suddenly ended. The problem is that, at least in my opinion, she stopped listening to her characters somewhere along the way. While they still behave somewhat in character in the beginning of Outpost, most of them are blatantly out of character during Horde. It’s like the author decided to stick to the plan she had formulated way at the beginning of the series and didn’t take into account that her characters changed in the process. She just clobbered them into submission and made them dance to her tune. Well, they danced poorly, that’s all I can say.
SPOILERS ALERT!!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
My biggest disappointment is the evolution of Fade. He was such a strong character in Enclave! I can’t believe that someone who managed to survive in the tunnels on his own for a few months when he was eight years old, and someone who was the best hunter in the Enclave, would just break and fall into pieces after he gets captured. Yes, what he went through was horrible. Yes, he was beaten. Yes, he saw horrible things. But he got out, he survived. Hell, he even managed to walk out of there on his own steam, so he wasn’t beaten that hard. Yet he suddenly transforms into a brooding, self-hating weakling. Even worse, he lashes out on people closest to him because of what happened. Excuse me? This is not the Fade described in such loving details in the previous book and a half. It almost feels like the real Fade died in the Freak camp, and Deuce freed a doppelganger. My second problem is Deuce’s reaction to Fade’s change. The Deuce I got to know through the first book would not have stood for his endless brooding and would not have excused his constant hostility and lashing out. She would have giving him a good trashing and told him to get his act together. What does this new Deuce do instead? Blame herself and excuse his downright nasty attitude by “Oh poor baby, he got caught, they broke him.” The whole love story between Deuce and Fade is mishandled in my opinion. Any time Deuce thinks about Fade, she transforms from a tough, rational woman into a doe-eyed simpleton. I get it that she loves him, but fawning over his every move and acting like her brain gets short-circuited every time he is around is so very out of character that it’s not even funny. More than that, this love story turns into a typical YA cliché. This is sad, because it could have been so much more intense and interesting, had Ann Aguirre just listened to her characters instead of imposing her own vision on them. Thirdly, I am getting really tired of the whole love triangle theme in YA books. It’s been done and overdone. And this love triangle serves to illustrate my point about the author imposing her will on characters. Stalker changes a lot through the books, and for the better. He is still as ruthless, but his develops a conscience, he becomes a decent strong man. In other words, exactly the kind of man that Deuce would fall for if she was acting in character, especially considering the way Fade is behaving… But that doesn’t happen. My final complaint about this series is that Deuce basically becomes a Mary Sue in Horde. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that a 17 year old girl would be better suited to lead a whole army than a seasoned warrior. No matter how much she had seen and how many Freaks she had killed before. She is a good fighter yes, a good leader of men she is not. Yet, somehow that’s what happens in book three. A young girl leads them all to victory. Sorry, I don’t believe it.
And that’s how a series that showed so much promised ended up in such disappointment.
I should trust Ann Aguirre more. Her books fascinate and thrill me, but I feel like holding a little back, fearful of investing too much emotion into her characters. It never works, of course, because I am sucked right back into the vortex of thrill, fear, dispair, and hope. But in the end, she never disappoints. This book is stirring, shocking, tender, and in the end, very, very hopeful.
The world is dark, dank, and dirty. The Freaks are amassing into a horde and looking to destroy what remains of humanity in this dystopia. At the center, it is about the power of one. Deuce is hard core, hard headed, and hard to defeat. She simply will not give up. The Horde is building a massive army and she is taking the fight to the Freaks. As she states at the beginning of the first battle, "The enemy is sleeping, men. Bring the pain." (My favorite line in the book)
Ann Aguirre specializes in impossible situations, and yet, she manages to find the smallest sliver of hope during these circumstances. I couldn't think of a more dire situation than the one facing Deuce, Fade and the rest of humanity. It is positively crushing. As a reader, I am immersed in despair and Deuce's overwhelming responsibility to do SOMETHING. I feel a part of Deuce's journey that takes the both of us to unexpected places and situations. The victories are sweet and the losses are painful. Deuce's ability to make a difference doesn't only rely on her prowess as a Huntress, but also by what she learns about herself and how she grows her character. This makes the ultimate difference.
I couldn't have asked for a better ending to this trilogy. After reading Outpost, I wondered how Ms. Aguirre was going to bring this story to its conclusion. All I can say is that I am completely and wholly satisfied. (And by the way, I finally find out why this series is called Razorland.)
IN A NUTSHELL: I think this series is one of Ann Aguirre's best work - bringing the dark into light and making us believe in the power of one person's ability to make a difference and change the world. If you haven't started it, you need to pick it up, and start at the beginning. You don't want to miss the whole journey.
Sweet lord, this was amazing. The best one for sure. I laughed, I cried, and I smiled. This book delivered ALL of the feels.
I felt like I was watching a war movie and it was incredible. With good reason because I read about how much research the author put into this book in the author's notes. Truly, I'm impressed. Ann Aguirre won me over as a fan for life, so now I'm going to try and sort out my emotions.