Published: April 12th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends
Details: Hardcover, 259 pages
My Rating: 3/5
Great start with a tough heroine in a claustrophobic and grim dystopian world, but that fizzled out in a week plot, with a brooding male romantic interest and a forced love triangle. Be prepared for an abrupt ending. Overall, still a good read, but not as good as it could have been.
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.
My thoughts regarding this book are nearly identical to Birthmarked. It started out strong with plenty of potential, but half way through the plot simply fizzled out. And so did my interest.
In the opening chapters, we are introduced to the claustrophobic dark tunnels of Deuce’s world. She belongs to the human settlement The Enclave, deep in these tunnels, a society which follows strict rules in order to ensure the settlement’s survival. Child mortality is high and children earn their names only if they manage to survive the first 15 years. On the naming day, each one is categorized into breeders, builders or hunters. Deuce belongs to the latter category, a huntress, whose goal is to protect the settlement from all the zombie-like freaks that roam around the tunnels.
Grim world, to say the least, but very very intriguing.
Deuce is a great heroine, with similarities to Katniss, which may explain the comparisons to Hunger Games on the cover. She is a survivor and a fighter who takes matters into her own hand. Her mind is more practical than sentimental. She has a tough shell, but doubts and vulnerability exist on the inside, which just makes her that much more endearing.
Fade, the guy she is paired up with to guard the enclave, is an outcast. He was found out in the tunnels by the enclave, and it’s an enigma how he survived by himself that long. He’s quiet but strong and an excellent fighter. I immediately felt Deuce’s curiosity regarding him. In short, I was hooked!
But half way though, something unexpected happens. They leave the enclave. And that’s where it all started to go downhill for me.
They embark on a journey seemingly without plans, where each event that happened seemed rather random. Instead of focusing on the secrets of The Enclave, or why things were the way there were, the plot took a turn into typical YA territory.
Yes folks, I’m talking about that inevitable love triangle! The problem is, I would have been perfectly happy with only Deuce and Fade. The second male interest felt forced, introduced only for the sake of creating some romantic tension.
Especially since there was so much potential there in the beginning. I almost wished that Deuce had stayed with The Enclave, despite the hopelessness of that world, since the characters and potential plot was so much stronger there.
By the time it ended I was loosing interest quickly. Good thing it was only 250 pages long, or else it might have got an even lower grade. That said, the ending itself actually lowered the grade, since there was no real closure, just a cessation of words.
Despite all my qualms above, it was still overall a decent read, and I will keep an eye out for the reviews of the next book Outpost, to be released in 2012.