My Review: I absolutely and completely loved this. It’s funny because I read 3 dystopian novels in a row and this one took the cake. It was perfect in every way. I have not one complaint or critique. I know right, me and my big mouth have nothing to say? Gasp! Seriously though, this took the slot for my favorite book this year thus far. Just like I applauded Julia Karr for her amazing world building skills, Ann Aguirre does an equally marvelous job. While Karr was all futuristic technology and corrupt government, Aguirre was devastating apocalypse. Not that I’m comparing the two (because frankly I loved them both) but Aguirre really took it to new levels of dark.
The underground world that Deuce lives in is dark and gruesome where everyone has to fight to survive. Deuce’s enclave is relatively prosperous and strong. Her naming day marks her transition into adulthood and into her occupation. The six cuts on her arms mark her as a Huntress, one of the brave who hunt for food and protect the enclave from the Freaks that roam the tunnels. However, her life as a Huntress isn’t at all what she expected. When she is paired up with Fade, the enclave’s outcast, everything she once knew is turned on its head.
When word reaches Deuce’s enclave that a neighboring settlement has been surrounded by Freaks, she and Fade are sent to scout out the situation. The three day trek is grueling and dangerous and there is the constant danger of Freaks around every corner. When they finally return to the enclave and tell them that the Freaks are getting smarter they are ignored. The Elder’s refuse to believe in the shift of Freaks behavior, and threaten Deuce to keep quiet. Just like all governments, the rules that are in place are said to be for everyone’s good, but as Deuce discovers, they are really meant to keep everyone in the dark. When she takes the blame for a friend who was framed, she and Fade are banished to Topside.
I know you’re all wondering what the heck Freaks are. Think of I am Legend, but with sickly skin, claws, and razor sharp teeth. They even get smarter like in I am Legend! Think of the smell of rotting meat and then you’ve pretty much got it. They were horrible and terrifying and just kept coming! Obviously their carnivorous and they’d love to get their claws on Deuce and her Enclave. What was even scarier was the fact that if one of their own was killed they’d fall into a feeding frenzy and eat it instead. Just *shudder*. Creepy as hell. They definitely kept you on your toes and feeling terrified.
The societal structures that Aguirre builds are fantastic, both underground and above. The enclaves rules are harsh and often unjust but they keep their small civilization from collapsing. The gangs above have no rules at all and are more terrifying than the Freaks in certain ways. Whatever happened to cause the end of the world as we know it, we don’t find out, but I’ll tell you I’m dying to find out. Deuce’s cut-throat attitude and her mantra of “only the strong survive” keeps her going through everything she faces. Though as the novel progresses she discovers that having a soft heart does not make her weak. Deuce was a wonderful MC and I thoroughly enjoyed her narrative. Her relationship that develops with Fade is equally wonderful. It really was a perfect balance. A few intimate scenes but it didn’t overwhelm the plot. It was firmly about the story and the little amounts of romance simply added to it.
Needless to say I’m in love with this book. I’d even say it rivals the Hunger Games. It was wonderfully written and had everything I loved in a story. It was dark and edgy and I’m sure that everyone who reads it will adore it. It was simply one amazing thing after another, and of course I always love a kick-ass heroine who can hold her own. I’ll definitely be purchasing this. I need to have it on my bookshelf and soon. Utterly fabulous. Now heed my advice and go buy it! Now! : )