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–guided by Fade’s long-ago memories–in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.
Ann Aguirre’s thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world–facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
I would buy this book based on cover and title alone. I am glad I don’t read the Goodreads summaries (usually the blurbs on the backs of books) before I read a book. I don’t like having that much information about the book. Ok, so I figured that this would be a typical YA dystopian book with tyrannical government, strong female lead that ends up bucking the system, an unexpected love interest, followed by a love triangle, a trilogy…. And it was all of those things. BUT I loved it. Although it is similar to many of the dystopian books out there, it isn’t an exact copy, and it is unique enough to set it apart.
The book moves at a quick pace, and is hard to put down. I really liked the subway system setting where the characters live in their home enclave (College.) It was extremely interesting to read about how they lived without ever going Topside (above ground) and how little they know about our world today.
Deuce is the main character, and she has wanted to be a Huntress all of her life (not a weak Breeder.) She gets her wish, but is partnered with the outsider of the enclave, Fade. His last partner was killed, and because Fade is the only witness, no one is sure what exactly happened. Their job is to leave the enclave and search the tunnels for food from the traps they have set, and also defend the enclave from the terrifying Freaks (mutant humans) that are roaming the tunnels.
When she starts to bond with Fade, and really open her eyes to the way the enclave is run, I’m glad she didn’t just immediately believe him, and change her mind instantly. I think it was much more realistic for it to take some convincing. No one is going to change everything they’ve believed for their entire life in one conversation.
When they are finally Topside, I thought the setting was great. I like how Deuce became overwhelmed by the sky, and the openness, because she has lived in a tunnel her entire life. I like how Fade teaches her what things are, but in a few instances I didn’t understand how she would know some of the things she did. In one place she doesn’t know what stars are, but then imagines people living up their with feathery wings and starry hair… that didn’t make sense to me. I obviously didn’t like Stalker when they meet him, and eventually team up with him and Teagan, but I didn’t like her either, because I felt like she was going to mess things up with Deuce and Fade.
Overall this book was great and I recommend it to anyone who like a good dystopian book. On to book 2…