Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA fiction, Literature & Fiction, Dystopian
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings.
And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
The Dame Gives Her Opinion :
That "overview" barely makes the cut in telling you about this extraordinary dystopian novel. Post-apocalyptic and chilling in scope, this story has a fearsome quality to it that reminds me of an old Stephen King novel. This isn't just your ordinary YA fiction...it's much more. It thoroughly kept me seated, I can tell you!
Some of Ms Aguirre's descriptions could make your blood run cold. I actually cringed at visions of the horrifying Freaks in their "semi-human" condition, eating their own dead! All I could see was skin falling off of them and gore landing on me...I mean, Deuce, run!!
Characterization was stellar in this book. From the main characters of Deuce, the female Hunter; her hunting companion and love interest, Fade, who had come experienced and "wild" through "the Tunnel" from the topside; to the strange Elders and keepers of the Enclave; this book was so fascinating to me. I loved the idea that the elders of the protected underground Enclave were no older than their mid-20's... Their ideas of a society, safety, food resources and reproduction of "Brats" were simplistic, but worked for them as they planned for an unknown future. Their fears; however, led them to crumble under pressure.
Absorbing book. It had me from the beginning. There was no apparent sense that the writing was catering to the too young. Ann Aguirre respects her readers and doesn't write down to them. Her work is vastly more captivating than some of the other dystopian novels for YA readers today. The subtle building of the relationship between Deuce and Fade was more engaging than a crush-and-silly- act. The coming of age and growing into responsibility of Deuce was eased into, and that much more powerful for the mechanism chosen.
This book is a great read. Interesting, harrowing, fun to read...enjoyable and thought-provoking. First book in the series. I'm ready for Book 2.
5 stars for a strong post-apocalyptic novel that adults will enjoy, as well as young adults.