MAJOR SPOILERS for the first two books in the trilogy. Check out my reviews of Enclave & Outpost.
Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.
Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.
This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.
Towns falling, people dying, and all Deuce can do is fight on. Not truly a Huntress anymore, but something between that and just a girl, Deuce finds herself with her faithful companions battling the monsters that threaten to take everything. Things are as easy as they once were because now the monsters are evolving, growing smarter, and learning better ways to murder the humans they hunt.
After the sacking of Salvation, Deuce, Fade, Stalker, & Teagan make it to Soldiers Pond with the few survivors of their almost home. Unafraid of fighting for what she wants, Deuce tries to convince the new command that the monsters are gathering their strength for a full-on onslaught and that an army of the people, from all the towns, needs to be raised. She sets out to do just that, all while struggling with Stalker's affections, Fade's retreat into himself. & Teagan's insecurity about her abilities.
Can the girl from below who has fought so hard to get to where she is really pull off the impossible and preserve humanity?
You guys...this is how you should end a series. I will do my best to do this book justice while covering all my bases, but suffice it to say that if you've read the first two you'll enjoy this one as well and if you haven't read the other two, go do that now.
Deuce isn't a typical heroine. I know we all have our preconceived ideas of what that means, but I think she really stands out among the multitude of female protagonists in the genre. She must contend with her emotions, identity, ability, & beliefs that continually clash against one another. Her romantic notions are not as simple as one might expect, they are complex and rooted in her self-worth & self-understanding. Her struggles are the driving force behind the story & carry the narrative along.
Fade, Stalker, & Teagan are wonderful representations of what else is going on in Deuce's world. They each speak to a different part of her & support/encourage her strengths while shoring up her weaknesses. In their own rights they are a steadfast crew battling their own issues for the greater good. There is no room for idle hands and none of these characters are willing to give up what they've all worked so hard to attain.
The new characters introduced in this novel blend well with the story & setting. I found it interesting that each "spokesperson" for their respective territory were reflective of the town itself. Meaning that their personalities & behavior seemed to either stem from or contribute to the way their territories functioned. The territories were also unique because each one posed a specific problem to our intrepid heroine.
I think my favorite part of this book though was the overall tone & action. Knowing that this will be the last one, I wasn't sure whether I should expect easy street conflicts or really demanding, reaching conflicts. I am thrilled to report that Ann Aguirre doesn't let her characters off easily. They fight tooth, claw, & weapon for what they want and to ensure that they do the best they're capable of. There are no holds barred, so brace yourself for some heart-stopping moments of dread. It's not easy, but it was necessary and satisfying.
It sucks that this book doesn't come out until October, but if I can manage it I will definitely be picking up a boxed set to add to my personal library. An uplifting, if fairly gruesome tale, the Razorland saga is not to be missed!
ARC graciously provided by Around the World ARC Tours