I’ve got to say, it’s interesting how this book can feel both like a next step and vast departure from book 1 at the same time. In this stage of the journey for our characters, I still see what made me care about them. They hold on to their core identities as they evolve. Yet their circumstances are so very different, it changes everything. Gone are underground enclaves and mindless Eaters. Instead, we have a small town civilization with very old fashioned ideas and a threat they can’t even fathom.
In this new town, almost everything that makes Deuce who she is, is considered off limits for a girl. Not only that, she is considered a child — a tough pill to swallow, after becoming an “adult” months earlier. It’s even harder as she sees how much these adults don’t know about the realities outside their walls. When she sees how soft they are.
Deuce is deeply affected by her environment. Primarily, in how she learns to develop relationships with people. I particularly loved watching her grow into a family with her foster parents. I also loved the relationship that grew between her and the old man who rescued her at the end of the last book. But other relationships are more complicated, like those with Fade and Stalker. For all of his strengths, Fade is a really vulnerable character. He is as easily hurt emotionally as he is resilient, physically. It makes for a difficult road to happiness for this young couple. This is made even more so, by Stalker’s determination to win Deuce’s heart. And as the events of book unfold, all of that instability is taxed further by adversity.
And then there are the Eaters. Or the Muties as the townfolk call them. They are evolving– getting smarter– and posing a bigger risk than ever.
I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I did the last. Enclave was so empowering for Deuce. In so many ways, through circumstances and the ignorance of others, she loses some of that here. Fade has some solid moments, but in others, he feels like someone else. I even had a moment or two where I rooted for Stalker. WTH is up with that? The old fashioned, near-Puritanical backdrop is far less engaging than the Eater-infested, broken city of book 1.
But there are still echoes of the elements I loved in Enclave, primarily in the four characters who we ended our last story with. They’re in a very different place at the end of Outpost, but I am still invested in their future, and in this broken world they inhabit. I’m interested to see where we go on the final leg of their journey.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends