Released: September 4, 2012
Hardcover: 336 pages
Genre: YA Dystopian
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 mind has been blown. How do you review a book that completely blew you away, without sounding like some rabid fangirl?
Deuce and Fade are breaking my heart in so many different ways. Together, I've found them to be one of the strongest YA couples I've encountered thus far. Alone, they are equally as strong--and perhaps even stronger at certain points (like when Deuce goes on her search later in the book)--but you can feel the void where the other is supposed to be. I love this as a reader, and cannot get enough of it.
I cried over the two more times than I can count, and what happens to Fade by the end shredded me emotionally. I literally sat, slumped in my chair, for a good hour or so after I finished OUTPOST, unable to do anything. I wasn't kidding when I called Ann evil on Twitter while I read this. OUTPOST messes with your mind, but all in a good, yet evil, sort of way.
Stalker grew on me as a character, too. He isn't some heartless teen trying to simply survive--even at the expense of others. He's evolved while in a "civilized" village, despite his reluctance to do so. The conflict between his (and Deuce's) desire to maintain his skills and the village's beliefs was one that added another dimension to both Stalker's character, and the story overall. I connected with him on an emotional level, and I think I can see why some readers cheered for him as Deuce's love interest this time around. I hope that he eventually finds someone to be with, and maybe even by the end of this series. Maybe, if we're lucky, there will be a spinoff series with him?
The Freaks have become even freakier, too. Think about the scariest zombie movie you've ever watched, and that really got under your skin and scared you half to death as you watched it. Now imagine being thrown into that world, but the zombies are slowly evolving into an even bigger threat than you initially thought, in ways that you never imagined possible. That's how the Freaks are in OUTPOST. My heart raced with every scene that they appeared in, and I never fully relaxed after they left, because Ann always kept them creeping in the background.
One scene by the end makes me bawl like a little baby, and I never expected myself to have such an emotional reaction over this character, either. I think that this only reinforces the fact that Ann is such a skilled writer, because without even realizing it, readers will grow fond of the secondary characters.
I think my only problem with this story (and a minimal one at that), is the fact that Fade was a little bit emo in the beginning of this novel. Emo enough that he didn't come off as badass as I remembered him to be in ENCLAVE. I suppose it is understandable, since he did not grow up the way Deuce and Stalker did--and we are shown that multiple times through Deuce and Stalker's conversations as Stalker tries to win her affections. I also wished, though I understand why she was unable to do so, that Deuce expressed her emotions a bit better. She came off a bit stiff at times, but like I said, I understand because she grew up as a Huntress, so it's difficult to turn that side of her off.
OUTPOST is a strong sequel, and did not leave me disappointed. It did not have the same feel as ENCLAVE, which I thought was going to disappoint me since ENCLAVE was a masterpiece, but Ann handled the story and characters so well that I honestly did not care. I almost feel like OUTPOST is in its own world (which it kind of is), and should be regarded on an entirely different level.
Should you read it? You should buy five copies: two for yourself (one that you can reread, and the other to immortalize in an Ann Aguirre Razorland shrine), one to lend to friends, and two more as (un)birthday presents for your two closest friends. Hell, maybe you should buy a few more copies to give away to strangers.
1. Enclave (Tori's Review)
3. Horde (coming soon)