Double Review: Enclave and Outpost (Razorland #1 and #2)by Ann Aguirre

 
Rating: ***** / 5 out of 5 (both books)
Genres: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Horror
Published April 12, 2011 and September 4, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Goodreads

From Enclave:

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

——————-

I know that I’ve put Enclave in my Top Ten Books Wishlist-ish, and I was supposed to wait until Christmas to see if there will actually be someone out there willing to buy it for me (hah, fat chance?), but being the hopeless bookworm that I am, I just couldn’t help myself. I mean, dude. Zombies. And Me. Zombies + Me = Best friends. Zombies + Me + Young Adult = Best friends fo’ life, brotha’! So it wasn’t rocket science – I bought it and started reading the first book. Then the second. In one day. And I’m still hungry for more.

It’d be too tiring for me to give each book a review, especially since I pretty much read both of them in less than 24 hours and because of that, my thoughts and feels are in a jumbled mess. I don’t wanna scare potential readers, so I’ll talk about the Razorland series as a whole.

I’m no math prodigy, and will never be (and that is why I chose International Relations as my major… never looked back), but I do know what elements and formulas are needed for a good, kick-ass, young adult story. It is as follows:

Kick-ass girl with a strong, fiery personality (with common sense) + equally awesome boys + zombies + post-apocalyptic world + no stupid characters + awesome side characters + character development + zombies + a bit of blood here and there + damn good action scenes + scary world + anarchy + no social order + zombies = Razorland

Yup, that’s basically it. That sums it all up.

If it isn’t that clear yet, the Razorland series is really, really good. It’s actually better than Amanda Hocking’s The Hollows (another YA zombie series) and almost as good as Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series (which, I fervently believe, is the BEST YA zombie series out there). It is a Post-Apocalyptic story that takes place years after a sickness engulfed the earth that killed many people, and probably transformed those who weren’t as lucky into Freaks (or zombies…), who are pretty much flesh-eating Rambo machines. The surviving human population lived either on the ground or under it, and our heroine, Deuce, was born under, in the dark tunnels with her enclave, College.

What I liked best in this series is Deuce, the main character. Man, the author really hit it bull’s eye with this one. Unlike other heroines out there, Ann Aguirre created a character who wasn’t only strong, but also very human. Even though Deuce was raised to become a cold-hearted huntress, she has a soft side that illustrated the humanity left in her. Although she made a lot of decisions she regretted, decisions she thought were good because they aligned with what her enclave taught her, she gradually changes into someone who knew more than just killing – she changed into a person who could love, hope, and dream. It felt really good and heartwarming to read her journey for truth and freedom – freedom from the darkness of the world, and from the fear of Freaks and other dangers that threatened her and her friends. Her internal narration was written excellently, too. Following her thoughts, we could see she was calculative and reflective, and that she thought before she acted. Aside from that, her innocence and naïvety of the outside world was adorable and charming, and I felt really proud for some reason whenever she learned something new. An example would be her first rain. Man, that scene was just… oh, my feels :< :< :<

Now, love triangle. Usually people hate love triangles. I’ve never understood why – I LOVE love triangles (especially if both boys are GOOD and DEVELOPED characters… I hate it when the heroine always chooses the bad boy over the good one… lol… One good example of a series with an awesome love triangle would be the Unearthly series), and while the love triangle was subtle in the first book, it develops more in the second one. I liked Fade a lot at first. He was cold and a bit mean at first, but hey, that was his character, and he was treated as an outsider by the enclave so he had to put some distance between him and them. I got used to him though and I really appreciated the fact that he matured more as the story progressed, but for some reason, his personality did a 180 turn in Outpost. He had moments where I totally wanted to smack him because he acted like such a wimp. Dude, you were the best hunter in the tunnels, probably Rambo and Bruce Lee personified, but when it came to love, you can be such a coward… ¬_¬ But no matter, I like him still. I also liked Stalker, the other love interest. He was aggressive, yes, but he wasn’t a bad boy… he just wanted instant results, wanted things to get moving, and I can totally relate to that (as I’m kinda that way, too…) For now, I’m still uncertain who I want Deuce to end up with, as both boys really truly care for her. Huhu! Even though there’s romance, Deuce doesn’t spend 90% of her time thinking about it or describing the boys’ hot looks. She has initiative, a drive, and fortunately enough, boys aren’t it. The romance was a bonus, and the story doesn’t revolve around it. Thank goodness for that!

Action-wise, it’s perfect. It can be a bit gore-y here and there, especially in the 2nd book, but they are the kind of bloody action that weren’t placed there for the heck of it or to give the “shock” factor. They moved the story, and some were probably even necessary for the characters to mature more. The zombies/freaks/muties were scary, too. They aren’t traditional, though… they… develop, too in the second book and become formidable foes. I usually don’t like smart zombies, but this book is an exception because other factors make up for it.

I think I said too much already, and that I should stop here… there are so many things to be said about this series, but hey, Book 3 is coming out next year (FRICKIN’ OCTOBER, YO. INJUSTICE!!) so we should see by then. For now, Razorland is a solid series with a good plot, good characters and good action, and I recommend it to everyone out there who love zombies, love triangles, or a well-written post apocalyptic story.

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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    • says

      Thank you very much! :D
      Please do pick up the Razorland books. They are very, very good, and the 2nd book is even so much better with so much gore and development and and… :< :< :< Just pick it!! I followed you, too, my dear :D

    • says

      I requested Enclave from Fully Booked =D Then I bought the Digital version of Outpost from Amazon… hahaha… after finishing the first one, I just couldn’t help but want to read the 2nd ASAP >_<

  1. nurmawati djuhawan says

    i like enclave..one of my fave dystopian novel…deuce is really a kick-ass girl…
    i have not reading outpost yet..so thx u for ur review :)