Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Outpost

OUTPOST (Razorland #2)
Ann Aguirre
Young Adult/Dystopian
336 pages
Feiwel & Friends
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 THOUGHTS
Picking up several weeks after the abrupt conclusion of Enclave, Outpost eases us back into a dark and gritty post-apocalyptic world as Deuce struggles to find a place among people so different from those she’s lived with her entire life, surprising and intriguing us yet again with the depiction of a society both so distinct from our own as well as from what we saw in book one. While Enclave introduced us to a group of individuals with a completely new and utterly foreign governing structure and way of survival, Outpost gives us something a bit more familiar in terms of how people live, but we view that which is familiar through Deuce’s eyes, thus casting it in an extraordinarily unique light that has us smiling and sympathizing with her daily plight to belong.

Deuce is a breath of fresh air as a young adult heroine, possessing a captivating combination of strength and innocence as she stumbles across new terrain. She’s unbelievably skilled in hand to hand combat and blade work, but in the town of Salvation she finds herself an outcast, unfamiliar with their rules and their views on a woman’s role in society, so while we’re gleefully aware she could protect herself physically from anyone seeking to do her harm, we can't help but feel a desperate need to fortify the walls of her heart so as to prevent a well aimed verbal barb from piercing true. She’s a young woman who’s utterly guileless; unprepared for some of the judgment, prejudice, and cruel machinations of the citizens of Salvation given her nature – she is who she is and knows exactly what job she’d like to perform, with no interest in much beyond protecting those she cares for from the Freaks.

Her wide-eyed innocence when it comes to human interaction Topside extends into her romantic relationship with Fade, something we find endearing even as we wish she would break her silence and finally ask the questions she most wants answered. Any miscommunications with Fade are the result of naivety and inexperience rather than a desire to play games or create drama, and we read on knowing that any hurt she causes him is never deliberate in nature, thus providing us a layer of comfort we don’t always find in the angst-filled worlds of young adult literature. Their connection progresses slowly but beautifully as the story continues, their friendship and commitment to protecting one another with their very lives evolving into something deeper, stronger and more nuanced as Deuce begins to shed the cooler, harder façade of a huntress and embrace some of the warmth and softness of a young woman. She manages to juggle both sides of herself adeptly, and to our delight Fade never once asks more of one side than she’s willing to give, instead accepting her as a whole he loves entirely rather than individual parts he can list in order of preference.

As with Enclave, the journey we’re on with Deuce and Fade is abruptly truncated, leaving us a bit shocked when we turn the last page and find ourselves face to face with the acknowledgements instead of a new chapter. We’re forced to leave our protagonists in not only a dire physical situation, but an emotionally tense one as well, the challenges for Deuce and Fade as a couple after certain events rattle the foundation they've built proving to be larger in number than we might have thought possible midway through this second installment, and we can only hope that Deuce’s strength and determination to love Fade will prove a life boat for them both in the middle of a sea of Freaks.

Rating: 4.5/5

45 comments:

  1. Awwww!!! Well, this is one of those series where I liked the first book but somehow forgot about the second... Not that I do not know it's here but ... I felt my interest in this one slippping..

    But.. my friend... it was that good hu??? There seems to be a lot going on also in terms of emotional tension, which is something I also love...
    Hm! Must rethink my decision to not read it..

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    1. I liked this one better than the first - the relationship with Fade progressed but also got more challenging, and I loved it. I just loved that Deuce isn't one of those girls to play games...she says what she means and never tries to hurt Fade if he's hurt her. She just is:)

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  2. Oh, excellent. Glad you loved this one! Although Enclave has never been one that I have seriously considered reading (not sure why...), knowing that the sequel is so well done is a major motivator to read the series. Possibly back-to-back if the cliffhanger is really that bad! I think I would definitely like Deuce, so long as her innocence doesn't cross over into naivety too often. Thanks for the excellent review, Jenny!

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    1. Yes, I would read these two together. Both books just sort of stop mid-story. Like she had the entire multi-book story written and just picked a place for there to be a break:) Still, I loved this one!

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  3. Amazing review! I havent even started this series, but i've heard GREAT things!! I think it's nice to have an innocent character like Deuce! Thanks for sharing!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. I really enjoy this series Farah! It's dark and different and I adore Deuce. It's fun to watch her try and make a place for herself in this world:)

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  4. I've heard of Enclave and been wanting to read it but never actually got the chance to! I'm really glad that the sequel is as good as the first book. I NEED TO READ THE FIRST BOOK ASAP! The covers of this series are also really intriguing!

    Awesome review, Jenny! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. I think this is a great series Celine, highly recommend:) Really fantastic characters!

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  5. So another abrupt ending---DANG IT! I am glad to hear that she took it is more the innocence of Duece instead of angst that Anne approaches her relationship with Fade with! I will be reading this one but I think I will wait till there is at least a release date on book 3 first. Ann is notoriously slow with writing.

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    1. Yes, definitely abrupt. It cuts off right before the good stuff which is frustrating, but I sort of guessed it would be coming so it didn't bother me too much. I'm hoping we don't have more than a year to wait for book 3!

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  6. Well, with the abrupt ending I think I'm better off reading this series when all of the books are out! Especially if those cliffhangers are cruel. I think I'll like Duece as a character and I'm anxious to meet Fade!

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    1. They're not the type of cliffhangers that make you go "WHAT?", it's more the story just stops and you know it will start right up again in that spot in the next book.

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  7. I absolutely adore Deuce. She is everything a YA heroine should aspire to be. She isn't perfect but as you said her mistakes come from a place of honesty and just not knowing how to act yet.

    A few people have mentioned the abrupt endings and I see what you mean but I've never felt that way for some reason. I guess I see each book as a separate chapter - or act.

    I can't wait for Horde. Deuce is going to be AWESOME!

    Great review Jenny!

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    1. SO EXCITED FOR HORDE!!!! Deuce is one of my very favorite YA heroines:)

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  8. As if I didn't already want to read the hell out of this book...Thanks, Jenny! :) I am really nervous about the romantic progression. SO NERVOUS, I tell you!

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    1. Things are challenging for Deuce and Fade in this installment, but I have faith in them:)

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  9. I still haven't read Enclave yet though I really want to ..Deuce sounds like a great heroine so I look forward to meeting her. I really have to buy a copy of the first book and see how I like it =)
    Thanks for the amazing review Jenny!

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    1. Deuce is awesome:) I liked her even better in this book than I did in the first one, she just grows and learns so much with each book.

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  10. This book sounds super amazing! Really! But, know now that I must get the first two books at the same time. :)

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    1. Probably a good idea to read them close together:)

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  11. Jenny! Holy crap the ending of the book totally stab me in the heart! AHHH! I need the next book ASAP! Thanks for writing a great review :)

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    1. RIGHT?! I got to the last page and was all "please let more magically appear!" So good:)

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  12. AHHHH, cliffhanger books??? Oh no... I'm not sure I can start this series. Okay, it's Ann Aguirre, everyone is talking up this series, including all the blogs I respect... Hmmm... I CAN do it! Going to go get Enclave now...

    Great review!!!!

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    1. They're not epic cliffhangers, I promise. It's more the story just sort of stops, not necessarily at a crazy intense moment, but just sort of in the middle of things. Then the next book picks up where the previous one left off:)

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  13. Thanks for the warning about the ending!

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  14. Oh, yay. Another cliffhanger. I am so, so excited. (Can you feel the sarcasm?)

    I would really, really like to get my hands on Outpost, though. Need more Fade. And Deuce, too, I guess. ;)

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    1. I loved this book so much Amanda! And the ending is not awful, you just really don't want things to stop because good stuff is about to happen:)

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  15. JENNY!!!!!! I LOVE THIS REVIEW! (yes caps locks were totally necessary! lol) Everyone has been telling me to pick an Ann Aguirre book up, but your review makes me want to start Enclave and this book right away. My reading has been all over the place lately, with me finding favourites in genres I would never have considered this year, so I will definitely be giving this a try soon! :)

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    1. YAY!!!! Please, please pick up one of her books! This series is fabulous, and I love her Sirantha Jaz series as well. She writes great, memorable characters:)

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  16. What is up with these abrupt endings?! I always feel like my ARC is missing pages or something then.

    Enclave is one of those books that I can't seem to make myself be interested in reading - it's possible that's because it's a dystopian that I've heard isn't exactly fast-paced - but I like the sound of the romance and the way Deuce seems to be growing. And as always, I love your reviews :)

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  17. Damn it! Another abrupt open ending! That was my biggest complaint about Enclave...the ending was like a big slap in the face. I love that Fade and Deuce continue to grow together and I didn't read anything in this review about the development of a love triangle...it seemed that there was a chance at one at the end if Enclave. I loved Deuce in Enclave and I have already gotten my copy of this, now just to find the time to get it into the schedule

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  18. Jenny, you always manage to make me super excited for my upcoming reads. :) I loved the first one and can't wait to be reunited with Face and Deuce soon! I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about this ending though... Beautifully reviewed as always! :)

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  19. Oops! I meant FADE. No idea who Face is. ;)

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  20. Okay... I wasn't happy with the romance in the last book, but I really did like the adventure. I'm glad the romance was more comfortable and seemed to flow better. I'm just not happy at those endings!! ARGH! I was itching for this one, but maybe I'll wait until the next comes out. I hate those type of endings even more than cliffies. At least you know you have a cliff instead of being flung off into the abyss suddenly. :P

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  21. Jenny, how do you do this to me? You make me want to run out to the bookstore EVERY TIME I read your blog! ;) I haven't read Enclave yet, but Outpost sounds like an AMAZING sequel! I feel like everyone has enjoyed this, although some with more reservations, but it overall seems to be such a good series. I definitely need to get started ASAP! Yet another absolutely fantastic review, dear! :)

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  22. I haven't read the first one yet. I really should! Sounds intense.

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  23. I haven't read the first one yet either, but I think I might want to!

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  24. I haven't read this series but it seems like you've liked this one all the way through (though maybe not the ending of the last one?). It's a little grittier than I'm used to I think, but it seems like one that's done very well. I have the first novel. I'll get to it one day and know it's worthy of continuing.

    Heather

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  25. Oh yay! This is my next read, I think. So you've renewed my interest a bit. I'm happy to hear you actually liked it a bit more. Thanks for the great review!

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  26. WOW! I really should read book #1 .It's just sitting there on my shelf :)

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  27. Ok, yep, definitely stoked to read this!! I mean, I was before, but you've sold me way way more than before! ;)

    Great review!

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

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  28. Must read book 1! I have been thinking of hinting to the library that they should get it

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  29. I'm not going to read this review because I haven't read the first book and I really want to. Your 4.5 stars has me encouraged though because so often the 2nd books in series suffer "second book syndrome" with much of it filler. :)

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  30. Hi Jenny! *waves* Missed you!

    I CAN'T WAIT to read this one. I felt so bad for Deuce at the end of ENCLAVE. She didn't know anything about "women's roles", considering everything was completely equal (sex-wise anyway). There's so much that can go wrong... eep!

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