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.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com
This is the first foray into the YA genre for author Ann Aguirre and it’s a great start! I loved his book even more than I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
We are introduced to Deuce a 15 year old girl living in a post-apocalyptic where the people live under the ground and where she is forced to become a woman far too soon. In her society people rarely live longer than 25. She is a Huntress. The enclave she belongs to depends on her to bring food to feed the brats (children) and the others. As well as protecting the Enclave from beings that are almost human like called Freaks.
Soon after her naming ceremony when she turns 15 she is paired up with an older hunter named Fade. He doesn’t belong and she finds herself growing attached to him. She grows used to his silent nature and he eventually accepts her as more than just a “new blood”.
Through a series of dramatic events, Deuce finds that the things she once thought were true were actually lies perpetrated by the “Elders” of the Enclave. Standing up for her friend she and Fade are exiled and find themselves forced topside. Fade is from topside but Deuce is afraid. The tunnels down below are all she’s ever known.
As the two strike out on their own they face some trouble and end up picking up a person or two along the way. However, safety is as fleeting topside as it is below. The Freaks are following them and they have to choose to stick together or abandon those who’ve fallen.
This is one of my top 15 books that I’ve read this year. Perhaps my hiatus from reading YA novels has paid off. I really enjoyed Aguirre’s careful world building and character building. She put a lot of detail in to have things make sense but not to many that it seems like she’s droned on and on. I loved the thrills in this book and I love how it kept me guessing as to what would come next. I loved how strong of a character Deuce was and I enjoyed watching her and the rest of the characters grow and open up.
To me this is like a mixture of The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead mixed together. What a mixture it is! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series which is tentatively set for release next year. I would recommend this YA novel to anyone. If possible I would give this a hundred stars but I shall give it the 5 stars. GO READ THIS BOOK PEOPLE.