OUTPOST (Razorland #2)
Feiwel & Friends
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
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.