Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Source: I received an ARC from MacKids in exchange for my honest opinion.
Blurb: 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.
Review: I was really looking forward to the sequel to Enclave. I really enjoyed that book and it is definitely one of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels. But before I go forward with my review of Outpost, I need to give you a little background on what I thought of Enclave back then and what I think of Enclave now.
When I first started reading YA again, Enclave became one of my favorite reads immediately. I was new on the blogging scene, and I was still finding my feet and developing my tastes in literature. It's no secret that other bloggers influence your tastes and help you develop your own. I started reading reviews of Enclave and thinking about the way Stalker was portrayed as a love interest, even though he was the former leader of a gang that raped women to propagate their numbers, and possibly did some raping of his own. And I realized how damn YUCKY that was. I'll talk about that more later in my review of Outpost, but let's just say that I still like Enclave and think the story is great, but I do believe it was a TERRIBLE decision to turn Stalker into a love interest and make the romance between Fade and Deuce into a love triangle.
This bad decision of a love triangle continues into Outpost. I can see places where the author tries to make Stalker into a good guy and prove to the reader he is a changed man, and that may very well be, but he should still NEVER be a love interest. I was literally (yes, literally) nauseous over this. It was never actually said whether he raped any of the girls himself, but I'm going to have to assume that he did since it was never stated that he didn't. I'd like to show you the big fat paragraph I wrote about the situation while reading this book.
"You can't turn a former rapist into a love interest. You just can't. I understand he has regrets. He was in a gang and they did it to keep their numbers up. For survival, which I still don't like, but whatever. But you can't just turn around and have that guy be a romantic lead. Apologetic, yes. Maybe even an anti-hero. But not a love interest. This guy should never be allowed to touch a woman in that way again. Makes me sick, honestly."
And it's true. I could easily see him being a friend, someone who fought with them, and helped them stay alive. Someone that maybe sacrifices himself for the good of the group. But not a love interest. Ick. He was like the Jacob of this series. Deuce loves Fade but she kept thinking that maybe Stalker was better for her because he was tougher and had been through more. He keeps coming back for more and she keeps turning him down. The problem is that Deuce actually thinks that Stalker is a great guy. But he's not. I don't care how he acted in the book, I can never forget where he came from. It's pretty gross. But I think I've said enough on that.
I also had issues with Deuce. She's not all that likable in this book. She was actually a snob. I don't know how many times she pissed and moaned about the townspeople and acted like she was better than them. And she wasn't. She kept calling married/committed men and women "breeders." It was remarked upon that the townspeople didn't like that she called them that, and yet she continued to do it. Learn from your mistakes. You live in a different society now and you need to adapt. Who are you to think you are better than them because they believe differently than you? I just really did not like her character very much.
This book was paced all over the place. I could have slept through the first 70 pages and not missed much at all. Nothing happened. Compared to the breakneck pacing of Enclave, most of this book was a snoozefest. So don't expect this to be as exciting as Enclave because it is not even close. Towards the middle, there are some exciting scenes with the Freaks, and then it picks up from there. But you have to muddle through a lot of set-up and infodumping to get there.
The one thing I can rave about is the writing. Ann Aguirre is a talented writer. And I love reading her words. They jump off the page and flow really well. That is clearly her strength. But her characters and the messages they are sending need work. She needs to quit with the love triangles and bad characterizations. I hate love triangles. They are old news now, and I know this series was already headed in that direction and it was impossible to change it, so perhaps I have just outgrown them. I don't mind love triangles if they are done well, but this one was terrible. I want a relationship between Fade and Deuce. Not this gimmicky Stalker crap. I'm tired of him coming between them when he shouldn't even be a consideration for a romance in the first place.
As far as the world-building goes, you don't learn much more in this book. It says in the author's note in the end that you will have to wait for book three to get the answers you are seeking. So as to how this post-apocalyptic landscape came about in the first place? You will receive NO answers. There are a couple of questions about the Freaks themselves that are answered, but that is ALL you are getting. I was disappointed in that. I think the background of a dystopian landscape is so important for believability. So the entire time I am reading, I feel like I am missing something because I don't know WHY things are the way they are.
I know it doesn't seem like I liked this book much, and maybe I didn't. I'm really invested in this series and so I was a little lenient with my ratings because I really care what happens to these characters. Well, I care about Fade and Tegan anyway. Deuce can go play in traffic for all I care. But what can you do? It just felt like a completely different book than Enclave.
I guess that's it for my review. I was disappointed. I expected more. But I will still finish out the series and read book three. Might as well now.
Buy a copy of Outpost from Amazon.com here: Buy Outpost. I am an Amazon affiliate, and I will earn a commission if you buy from my links. So please do! MWAH!