I got the chance to read Outpost as part of an ARC tour through my Batty About Books partner - Kathy of The Brain Lair. I held onto my thoughts so I could post them this week. Outpost hit the bookstores Tuesday.
So what are you waiting for? Haven't read the first book? Enclave is still (as of this posting) only 2.99 as an ebook. No excuses!
First of all... wow! Outpost ranks right up there with my favorite summer reads. I got to read a lot of amazing books this summer, and this one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until the end. It isn’t often that the second book of a series really nails it. Usually it feels more like a setup for the final book. Aguirre? She got it right. This is a story that stands by itself, and yet connects to and develops the events from the first book. Yes, it left me hanging on (and pleading) for the finale, but I still felt completely satisfied by the arc itself.
The heroine, Deuce, is a gem. In a world that seems to be bursting with books boasting that they have strong heroines, Deuce rises above. I love her power, and I love how she’s attempting to blend her warrior side with her more emotional side. She explores how she can be a friend, and experience love, without giving up her personal power to determine her destiny. Her intense drive to be herself made me want to cheer for her at each step of her journey. I also respected how she honors and respects the jobs others have in the community. She doesn’t expect everyone to be a warrior - she just expects those who have taken on that role to live up to it with courage and honor.
We could all learn so much from Deuce. She sees the enforcement of female and male roles as “wasteful” instead of just prejudice. Her view of society is one in which everyone contributes based on their specific talent set, not based on what is in their pants. What a novel idea, right?
The story doesn’t rest on Deuce alone, though. Each of the members of her own personal enclave grows and changes throughout the story. Tegan gives us a glimpse into a quieter kind of strength. Stalker strives to understand the compassion and empathy that were missing from his own early life. Fade struggles, and I ache for all that he goes through, and yet his strength lies just below the surface.
I also love the supportive adult figures Deuce has in this book. So often in YA the adults are relegated to confrontational roles. Momma Oaks makes me happy, because I’m always hoping that a strong female character will get a strong female mentor. Momma doesn’t completely fit the bill because Deuce’s mentoring is still primarily through the male characters, but it’s a step in the right direction. Longshot is flat out awesome. Favorite line? “Speak louder, girl. Don’t let them put out your spark” (37)
Those freaks? They are terrifying. I thought Enclave gave me some insights into that creepy bunch, but I was delighted to learn that many of my assumptions were incorrect. Watching the growing freak menace was chilling. This world feels like it could be just down the path for us - which is the most frightening thing of all.
My favorite kind of book is the kind that makes me want to hand it to all of my friends - insist they read it RIGHT NOW so that we can talk about it. Outpost? Yeah, it’s that kind of book. Anyone want to join me for a book club?
Come back on September 10th for a Q&A session with Ann Aguirre right here on my blog as part of the Outpost Blog Tour. There will be a giveaway! Check out the other stops on the tour as well. Check out the trailer!