Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (April 12, 2011)
Description: WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
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 she 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.
My Thoughts: In Part I of this novel we meet a young girl - Brat 15 - who has reached the age of fifteen and is finally given a name and a job. She becomes Deuce and a Huntress. Hunters patrol the territory, kill Freaks, and bring back meat. She has trained to be a Hunter for 7 years. She is partnered with another Hunter named Fade. He is sort of an outcast because he wasn't raised in the enclave. He was kept when he showed up because he was useful to the group. Deuce begins the story completely loyal to the enclave and very obedient but some actions she sees the governors of the enclave take disillusion her. At the end of Part I she and Fade are exiled from the enclave on some trumped up charges and are forced to go Topside.
In Part 2 Deuce and Fade decided to travel north to look for more people. Fade's father used to tell him stories about a safe place north. But before they can go north they have to avoid the gangs who have taken over neighborhoods in the city. The gangs make the citizens of the enclave seem benevolent. Girls are only Breeders for the gangs. Deuce and Fade beat off an attack by a gang but Deuce is captured. Another young woman helps her escape but when the gang finds them again, they are all attacked by Freaks. They need to work together to survive. After the fight only the gang leader, Fade, Deuce and .... manage to survive.
This was an interesting dystopia. Aguirre says that she was inspired by the events of Katrina in New Orleans when those who were able evacuated and others were forced to stay. Those who left were the well-to-do and those who stayed were the poor. This dystopia ends on a hopeful note which is more satisfying to me than those that end less positively. I will be eager to find out what happens next for Deuce, Fade and their friends.
Recommended for fans of dystopias.
"They're going to kill him," he said hoarsely.I received this book for review for Feiwel and Friends. It is available at Amazon in hardcover or ebook.
And how I wished I didn't know that -- or care. As a Huntress, I wasn't supposed to. I should care about the greater welfare of the enclave. My job existed to keep our citizen's safe. Protection didn't extend to brats we found in the tunnels, unless they were like Fade, strong enough to survive on their own. We couldn't afford to feed and care for weaklings.