Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: April 12, 2011
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Description from Goodreads:
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.
The story starts with girl 15, who gets named Deuce on her 15th birthday. It is sometime in the future and she lives in an underground world where life is hard and short. She has trained to become a huntress, and her job is to find food and fight off the "freaks", transformed people who have sharp teeth and claws and hunger for human flesh. I won't add anyspoilers, but we follow Deuce as she becomes a huntress and her life as it unfolds in the Enclave.
I love dystopian literature, and this should be considered among the best. It is fresh and original with all the elements you want in a this type of book. And although it is not long, there are no wasted words. I applaud Ann Aguirre for creating such believable worlds, both below and above ground. The Enclave was hot and creepy, I found myself becoming claustrophobic just reading about it. When Deuce moves above ground another world is created, just as interesting and dangerous as the first.
The characters are well developed. Deuce is a strong female protagonist who grows throughout the novel as she learns to trust herself and others, and even finds love along the way. The secondary characters are just as well developed.
And while there is a love interest, this is by no means a love story. It is one about survival in a world where everything that can go wrong has, and survival is measured by days not years. It is an exciting read with danger around every turn.
I loved this book. I started reading and could not put it down. And when it was over I was left breathless and wanting more. It stayed with me for several days, as I relived the journey of Deuce and her friends, and pondered survival in their world. I am so happy a sequel is planned, I cannot wait for the next installment.
Rating: Not to be missed, a great dystopian novel
Author: Ann Aguirre