on 16 October 2013
Enclave & Outpost (Razorland #1 & 2) - Ann Aguirre
So, I didn't really know how to write this review.There have been many bad reviews about this series, saying it takes the idea of rape and...doesn't deal with it well, I guess. Well I liked it. I don't know if I am just better able to get into the idea of a new world or rape doesn't have the same meaning for me that it does to other people, but I felt it was in keeping with the story of the world.
Anyways...I really liked this series. Some people didn't like the name Deuce. But I love it. The weirder the name, the better, I say. It really helps me remember the series. Now, when I think of Deuce, I think of Stewie from Family Guy saying 'What the Deuce?'; I think of Deuce from Shake it Up; and I think of the Razorland trilogy. There is no chance that I will easily forget this book. And thats a good thing. More books need to be like this.
I also liked the development in both the books. Fade goes from being a graceful, quiet, strong man to flinching everytime Deuce touched him and Stalker goes from being the gang leader of rapists to almost being friends with one of the girls he let his gang rape. Deuce goes from pretty unfeeling - like when she knew that blind boy was going to die and she still let them take him away - to...mildly feeling, I guess, she does start to care about Tegan as a friend and she starts to like Stalker. Tegan...turns into a pretty strong character, I remember when she was dying, I was just like, 'Don't die, I beg of you!' Yeah, I really liked her, basically. :P
The plot lines of both books were really good because there was a couple of continuing themes, but new things also happened. Like with the Freaks. They stayed pretty constant throughout both books, but the central idea of what was happening stayed the same. I feel like I'm not exaplaining this very well...
This also brings me to another thought: the fact that this dystopian world isn't ruled by one over-all dictator. It's cool when the book is about that, I like those books, but it's also cool when the book is about something else entirely. And this one was. Kudos for Ann Aguirre ;)
That ending wasn't very satisfying, but I guess that's good for a book 2. Still...
What else...I wanted to say something else, but I honestly can't remember what. Maybe I'll update this later on. But, when reading, do remember to get completely into the mindset of this book. It'll help with some issues, like the rape thing.
And before anybody says anything, I am not at all condoning rape. It is a horrible act that should never happen.
So, basically, I can't wait for the next one ;P
I loved "Enclave" and can safely say it was one of my favourite young adult reads of 2012 (and I've read a fair few so that's saying something). I can't compliment Ann Aguirre enough because of that so it was only to be expected that I'd be anxious to see what was in store for Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan now that they've reached the seemingly perfect safe haven of "Salvation".
With such a great start it's always worrying to begin reading the second installment - don't you just find yourself crossing everything you can that it's going to be even half as good as the first book? Well don't bother. It is. Without question. No crossing required! "Outpost" starts some ways into Deuce's time in Salvation with the gang healed and trying to fit in; each living with a designated foster family. Deuce appears to have the best deal with the absolutely adorable Momma Oaks and her husband Edmund. Their story alone is wonderful to read. Tegan has taken on the role of the healers apprentice and appears to be fitting in just fine, but despite Deuce's luck the people of Salvation just don't seem to like her.
Salvation seems to be based on what I can only relate to a traditional Amish community - essentially they're happy to live a simple life, working the land and following a set of rules to maintain harmony. I really liked this. It's hard to imagine what the almost total destruction of humanity must be like and how the people must cope so this was a really thoughtful insight I felt.
BUT, don't think that that means "Outpost" is a peaceful story. Anything but. Infact, the Freaks (you know those ugly, flesh-eating things) appear to be changing. In the last book we saw that the Freaks, known as Muties by the folk of Salvation, were adapting to their environment and appeared to be THINKING. The further we read into this story, the more we learn about the Freaks and their almost human-like mentality now. I don't want to say more for fear of giving things away but the Freaks have significantly changed to not only be able to kill, skin and eat you whole (As if that wasn't enough right?!) now they appear to be able to strategise. Which makes for an incredibly gripping read!
The relationship between Deuce and her friends is given a lot more thought and depth than in the previous book. I especially liked Stalker's determination to prove to Deuce he was good enough for her even with her obvious devotion to Fade. I have to admit though, I found Fade's ever-changing mood to be a little frustrating but I loved him all the same and I understood the relevance of it. The love triangle though is absolutely delicious, look out for that!
Overall, I can't fault it. The plot definitely thickened, the relationships became even more tangled and the Freaks become a powerful villian to be reckoned with. I can't wait for the next installment and will devour it whole the moment it hits the shelves. If you read one dystopian this year, make sure it's Ann Aguirre's.
on 9 January 2013
Outpost picks up some months where Enclave finished. Deuce and her gang have all found homes within the town known as Salvation, but life for Deuce has changed considerably since leaving her enclave and even though she is safe and has food, shelter and warmth Deuce is not a happy girl. Once considered an adult Deuce is now treated as a child. Once known as a Huntress she now has to act as a girl meaning wearing skirts and definitely no hunting or fighting. Not only that Deuce has to attend school where the other children ridicule her for her reading abilities. Fade hasn't spoken with her since arriving and Tegan doesn't want to associate with the tomboy Deuce because she wants to fit in with the other girls. So that leaves Stalker as Deuce's only friend. Trying to find a way out from her unhappy existence Deuce offers her assistance to join the summer patrol to protect the growing farmers growing food for the winter. But the freaks or mutants are evolving and developing some kind of intelligence and it is up to Deuce to help Salvation by leading and encouraging her fellow townspeople to fight the freaks.
Once again Ann Aguirre writes a compelling story. I wasn't sure how the story was going to pan out now that Deuce had left her enclave but Ms Aguirre doesn't disappoint us with the direction she is taking the story. What really came across for me in this book was how adult and mature Deuce was in some ways then she would show us her innocent child naivety when it came to how Fade and Stalker felt about her and remind us that this is in fact a YA story. Apart from post apocalyptic stories I don't read YA and I do question how suitable these books are for younger readers because Outpost is pretty graphic and scary.
The world building is amazing and Ms Aguirre covers such tiny details that we don't even contemplate in this new existence We do have some questions answered and we find out a bit more of the history of this new world. We also learn more about life as it is now and peoples silly superstitions. Outpost is a fantastic read and I recommend and encourage you to try this series if you haven't done so already. I can't wait for the next book Horde to come out later in the year and I am going to give Outpost 5 stars.
on 1 December 2012
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's characterisation. She gets so confused at times. Normally overly innocent or naive characters wouldn't be my thing, but her lack of understanding comes from her upbringing--or in her case, a distinct lack thereof. She plainly doesn't understand many things about regular relationships or male/female interactions in particular. When someone is displaying what to us are quite obvious signs of hurt and jealousy, she's totally clueless. She has no frame of reference for dealing with it. And I also like that she acknowledges this lack and rather than jumping wildly to conclusions all TSTL style, she queries it. She just says look, I don't understand all this stuff so unless you talk to me--actually say the words out loud--I am never going to guess what the problem is, 'kay? (Those were not her exact words but you get the general idea).
(How many times can I use the word lack in a paragraph...?)
The main four characters that entered the town of Salvation at the end of the last book: Deuce, Fade, Tegan and Stalker, are all there but have all been separated out into different "foster" homes. Some with more success than others. Fade isn't talking to Deuce and she has no clue why. Tegan is also avoiding her but she thinks she might have figured out the reason for that one. And Stalker...is just Stalker, and nothing seems to phase him and no town's rules will ever truly determine his actions. I've never really said what I think of Stalker. I am a bit conflicted on him, to be honest. His past actions are horrendous to me, but much like Deuce he's a product of his upbringing. He lived wild with his "wolves," more like animals than people, so I'm trying to keep that in mind and not be too hard on him. If Deuce can understand this about him, I should be able to too.
The town is pretty insistent that the new arrivals conform to their rules. Rules which would dictate that Deuce is now back in the "child" category even though in her former life she was an adult, and also that girls are suppose to wear dresses, sew, be pretty, bake, look nice, clean, be demure and polite. All things which Deuce is not and doesn't want to do, of course. She a Huntress, and as it turns out, the town might just need a Huntress a helluva lot more than it needs another pretty girl in a pretty dress.
I found some parts of this book a little slower than book one, if I'm honest, but the ending was excellent and quite moving. I'll definitely be picking up the next one to see how that all progresses from here.
Recommended to all fans of Post-Apoc YA
4 Stars ★★★★
on 10 October 2012
My friend and I had been waiting for this book for months! Ms. Aguirre did not let us down.
I found the relationship between all the characters heartwarming and at times heart wrenching. But they have been through such a lot at a young age that I could understand why they were acting the way they were as none of them were above the age of 18, yet they had seen and done a lot more than the people at Salvation.
It's worth every penny I spent on it!
Looking forward to Horde! I know it will be totally different than I imagine but will still be amazing!
I have and will keep promoting this series to everyone I know :)