I was wowed by this YA dystopian. I think I liked everything about it.
|My Rating: 5 STARS!|
Summary (from Goodreads):
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
Where to start? How about the beginning. The book starts off with the dramatic living situation of the people living 'down under' (and that's down under the earth...not Australia). It's dark. It's dank. It's crowded. No one lives past 25. There are strict rules. No loving, no learning (except what's absolutely needed), no real living. Just doing your job that you've been assigned, listening to the elders, and not breaking the rules.
It doesn't take Deuce long to break the rules. Breaking the rules tests her friendships, tests her strength, and tests her humanity. In the end, she finds all three.
The characters are terrific. They have depth and layers, you understand what drives them, you even understand the blind (albeit ignorant) following of the elders, even as they fail when they refuse to listen and face facts. The setting is realistic and well-drawn. The plot moves forward and forward and forward. No blind spots. No plot holes.
A gripping and gritty look at humanity both at its best and its worst.
This is a must-read for any dystopian fan.