By Ann AguirreHardcover, 262 pages
Feiwel & Friends, April 12, 2011
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
Aguirre paints a grim yet realistic landscape of a possible future brought on by an apocalypse. Although the blurb on the book suggests "fans of Hunger Games" would like it, the story reminds me less of Hunger Games and more along the lines of William Golding's Lord of the Flies or Nancy Farmer's House of the Scorpions and a little bit of Neal Shusterman's Downsiders (okay, maybe it reminds me a lot of Downsiders...)
The story revolves around Deuce who lives underground in the tunnels, raised as a huntress to protect her people from the Freaks (zombies) that roam the dark. As she partners with Fade, her adventures lead her to self-discovery and the illusion of the world around her.
While the story wasn't really a read-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of a book and even though the pacing was a bit slow to me, I enjoyed it. It's more of a thought-provoking story of what could happen if our society faced mass destruction: how would society change and adapt? What would the world look like? How would our upbringing change our view of the world?
Aguirre's writing is well-done and the highlight of the book. Several months later and I still have the image of the tunnels in my mind. I could really empathize with the character's feelings--especially Deuce, who is raised in such a different environment than the one we know.
My only disappointment was that I wish there was spoiler (more of a romance between Deuce and Fade). What can I say, I'm a romantic...but hopefully we'll see more in the subsequent books?
Content Advisory: I read this in August 2011 so my memory's not as clear. The story is somewhat graphic and violent, and there is a suggestion of a rape.
Rated: 4 zombie bites.
Outpost (Book 2 in the Razorland Series) is expected to be published September 4, 2012.