Outpost By Ann Aguirre
Read by Emily Bauer
If you have not read the first book in this series, but you are planning to and don’t want spoilers then stop here. Book two will spoil the ending of book one.
Summary from Goodreads:
Deuce’s whole world has changed.
Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.
This series continues to amaze me in its ability to make you think about societies norms and how we treat people who are different from us.
Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan have been rescued from the wilderness only to find themselves in a restrictive society that doesn’t understand them. They have been divided up among families in Salvation that have taken them in and have agreed to foster them. They now have a roof over their heads and can live in relative peace and safety. But, except for Tegan, they mostly feel trapped. Salvation is the complete opposite of their lives before. It is somewhat religious and men do men’s work and women do women’s work. Most don’t know what to make of Deuce. They don’t understand her need to fight and protect the ones she loves. The family she is placed with accept her for who she is as they get to know her. They are the ones who encourage her to follow her own path, even though that might mean they lose her.
Deuce continues to grow as a character. She spends most of her time trying to figure out how she will fit into this new world. Her need to be a warrior is often at odds for her need to fit in and to be a girl of fifteen. Her friendship with Longshot, the man who rescues them at the end of book one, is her salvation. Longshot is willing to let her fight with the men as long as she can prove herself, which of course she does. She proves her worth over and over again to the people of Salvation, but even then some people don’t accept her. Her relationship with Fade changes as well. They have issues at first, mostly Fade being jealous of Stalker. But they do figure it all out, only to have it change once again near the end of the book.
Stalker is perhaps the one to show the most growth in this book. He is definitely a study in nature versus nurture. When we first meet him in book one he is a ruthless leader of a gang, who will did anything to survive. He did some horrible things, but he did not know any different, mostly because that is what he was taught by the adults around him. Once he is out of that environment however, he is able to change and grow into a leader that is strong but caring about those around him. His attraction to Deuce is understandable and he doesn’t accept her rejections of his affections at first. But he reluctantly does eventually, but I still think he harbors a hope that she will eventually come around to him.
Salvation is an interesting society, similar to religious societies today. It is hard to say how big the settlement is, small enough that everyone knows everyone, but large enough that not everyone is necessarily friends with each other. I found their need to keeping men and women in the traditional roles as frustrating as Deuce did, but I could at least understand their need to keep their society intact. Their slow reaction to the changes in the muties is a little harder to understand. I guess most people are slow to understand what they don’t want to
The freaks, called muties by the townsfolk, are changing as well. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is interesting to see what is happening with them and scary as well. Things do not look good for humanity.
Emily Bauer continues to do a stellar job with the narration. She gives a homey, old timey voice to many of the adults in the Sanctuary. Her voice is also changing a little with Deuce as well, sounding more grownup and at times more emotional than the first book.
An excellent second book in this series. It is a little slower paced perhaps, but it will still keep you reading or listening far into the night.