Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide. (goodreads.com)
I had two major issues with this book and it looks like, based on re-reading my review of the first book, that I had the same, or at least similar, issues in that one too. But they’ve gotten a bit more pronounced.
Stalker. Rapist, cruel overlord of some gang of Peter Pan kids in the ruins before getting picked up by Deuce and Co. Abused the crap out of Tegan. Gets a pass because he was never taught otherwise. Former abused Tegan eventually comes around and sees things Deuce’s way about Stalker and she’s all like yeah, you’re right. He didn’t know better. I’ll start being nicer to my rapist.
No. No no no no no.
The reason is he did what he had to do in order to survive. Yeah . . . a lot of other people didn’t do anywhere near that and they survived just fine. There’s a line to be drawn between doing what needs to be done to survive and being a sadist. Stalker says he didn’t enjoy what he did. Yet he did it anyway. No. You just have to not be a psychopath to see that once you start hurting someone and that causes them pain, you stop.
Stalker didn’t have a choice. He did what he had to do in order to survive. No. He made active choices. He didn’t have to rape women in order to survive. As a leader he didn’t have to cultivate an environment of sadism and pain in order to survive. He chose that. Let’s not excuse that, shall we? I’m not above thinking that people can do some shitty things when put into certain situations. Hive mind is a thing, but most people aren’t killers for the sake of killing and even more people aren’t rapists. They weren’t on drugs. They were just themselves. Symbiotic relationships, sure. But those proclivities need to be there to begin with in order for them to manifest, especially when it comes to rapists. Stalker is a rapist. Period. And it really bothers me that Tegan was made to forgive him because he didn’t know any better. Not a fucking excuse.
And then there’s Deuce’s language. I wouldn’t otherwise have an issue with it if I wasn’t brow-beaten with the fact that there were so many words she didn’t know. She’s barely literate, can barely write, doesn’t know what hubris means, or adopted, or gas, or weeding, or irrigation. Yet she uses words like immutable, reticent, demonstrative, indolent, prepossessing, and statements like “gleaned their meaning from context.” Make up your fucking mind. Does she have the vocabulary of a college graduate or not? It was so incredibly annoying and such intense authorial insertion I wanted to throw the book. To the point where despite actually enjoying the story and character development I really don’t know if I can suffer another book with this level of inconsistency.
And one more minor thing: seems rather plot-serving to have farmland OUTSIDE of the gated community. No one thought of that? Ever? The original framers weren’t like hey, so why don’t we gate in larger swaths of land so we don’t have to deal with the flesh-eating zombies outside? And in the 100 years of its existence no one was ever like, you think we should extend these walls? It’s such an incredibly unnecessary risk I’m almost like you people kind of deserve to die for that level of stupidity. And the thing is they tried to be self-aware about that but the reasoning was so weak I just rolled my eyes at it. They never did it because it was too dangerous . . . uh . . . what? Does the town itself not exist? And you dunces have to go out there and farm every damn year for 100 years so far? Not much by the way of planners, are we?
Despite all of that, though, it’s actually a really good story. Remove Deuce’s inconsistent voice (and only in regard to that, actually) and the Stalker forgiveness, and the derps in the town, the story’s really good. The character development is really good. Deuce is so unapologetic in the way she fights, both humans and Freaks, that I love her for it. When she has to defend herself against human attackers there are no Hollywood moments of unnecessary conversation or posturing and no moments of conscience about killing and let me just really injure you and leave you here so you can serve the plot later and come back really pissed. Nope. Dude dead. And quick. No guilt, not nothing. He was a useless threat and she eliminated him. I love that about Deuce. I don’t love that she’s a rapist apologist, but you know. I guess you can’t have it all.
This is one of those series that if I came across the next book I’d probably read it just to see where it goes. Like I said, the story itself is actually really good and I think YA needs more hardcore, no bullshit characters like Deuce. But the issues I mentioned above are really pervasive and really huge where they really ruined my reading time here. And considering where OUTPOST ends and where it’s going, I’m really afraid for some Luke and Laura bullshit and I can’t take that (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about).
So I’m not going to completely cross it off my list, but I’m not going to go out of my way to read the next book either. If it happens it happens. If it doesn’t I won’t lose sleep over it.