After her ceremony, Deuce spends time with her two friends, Thimble (a female Builder) and Stone (a male Breeder). The next day, Deuce learns that her partner will be Fade, a young man who came as a brat (youngster, before group designation) to the enclave from Outside. The Elders had voted to allow the almost feral child to stay, given that he managed to survive alone for a period of time. On their first mission—to determine what may be sending the Freaks (zombie-like creatures who eat any flesh they can get) closer to the Enclave—Fade and Deuce leave their specified route when they hear noises and discover a blind child sent by Nassau, the enclave nearest to College and their trading partner, to warn of Freak encroachment and to ask for help.
The Elders of College enclave want to quash the news, and as punishment for their transgression of going off course and as a warning to keep their mouths shut, Deuce and Fade get assigned the task of going all the way to Nassau on their own to learn the truth. Along the way, the duo form a bond, find some unlikely allies, and learn some scary truths regarding Nassau and the Freaks.
Aguirre’s fascinating and brutal world accomplishes what the best post-apocalyptic fiction sets out to do—making us feel as though the circumstances could indeed occur while adding in elements just fantastical enough to prevent us from staying awake at night worrying about it. Though told from Deuce’s point of view, the secondary characters all get a chance to give the reader a sense of their personalities and even their motivations. Deuce’s growing disillusionment with the rules and governance of her enclave feels realistic, as does her often blind adherence prior to her doubts developing. This excellent novel should appeal to adults as well as young adults, and this reviewer can hardly wait to begin book two in the series, Outpost.
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312551371
- ISBN-13: 978-0312551377