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 she 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.
Deuce is a strong, determined young woman. She has always known what she wanted, and once she got it, she stuck to her morals, even when it destroyed her life. During her adventures she experienced many firsts, like the sun. It was very interesting to see how many of the objects I take for granted appear to someone who has never experienced them before.
Fade was a bit of a mystery. Standoffish in the beginning, he warmed into a likable character. His treatment of Deuce, and his refusal to follow the enclave’s asinine rules made for a good counterpoint to Deuce’s blind obedience.
This was a fairly fast-paced, exciting story, but there were a lot of questions left unanswered. These questions slightly spoiled the story for me, as I spent a lot of time wondering about things I never learned. Such as where the Freaks came from? How were the enclaves created? Why did no one venture topside if it was so easy to access? There was one question that sticks with me though, what happens next?
Challenges read for:
2012 Audio Book Challenge