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Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre

Horde - Ann Aguirre

The epic conclusion to the USA Today bestselling trilogy.

The horde is coming.

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.

________________

 

To any authors trying to figure out how to end their series, I advise you to talk to Ann Aguirre because that lady knows what she’s doing. If I had to sum up my feelings in a gif, it would be this:

 

Thumbs Up

 

 

I imagine Horde feels similar to a satisfying run. (As I am the kind of person that goes out of her way to avoid that sort of activity, I wouldn’t know firsthand but I’ve read about it.) Your adrenaline’s up and your blood is pumping, you’re in that magic zone where everything’s a rush and you haven’t started to feel the fatigue. It has all of the best bits of the previous Razorland books (action, danger that feels real, character growth and subtle, heartwarming feels) minus the self-righteous assholes running around saying the monsters will eat you if girls wear pants.

 

Deuce continues to be, hands down, one of my favorite YA Heroines. She is the most kickass of the kickass females and my number one draft pick for my zombiepocalypse team. (To hell with fantasy football, can we make fantasy apocalypse teams a thing?)

 

She is the definition of never gives up, whether it’s a fight or a personal problem. She’s not perfect, she fails from time to time, but she never stays down for long before she’s up and trying a different approach. She never lets other people influence how she feels about anything. The way she calls everything exactly how she (sensibly) sees it is an incredibly welcome breath of fresh air.

 

Applause

 

One of the lovely things about Horde, and really the Razorland trilogy, is how little time Ann Aguirre wastes on pointless drama. This isn’t to say there isn’t any, that would be unrealistic, but what drama there is she wraps up in a timely fashion. The characters don’t need invented personal problems when they are constantly running and/or fighting for their lives and I like that they are, for the most part, rational enough to realize this.

 

Besides, why waste time on personal drama when there’s fights to the death to be had? If you’ve made it this far in the Razorland trilogy, then you know violence and gore are a major part of this world. It is a dangerous, unforgiving future this cast has found itself in, very much the strong survive and each book has amplified that conflict a little bit more. Ann Aguirre does not skimp on the action-packed fight sequences. Maybe this comes from being raised on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with an appreciation for martial arts, but I do so love a good fight scene and this book delivers in spades. I picture Deuce and Fade fighting back to back and imagine poetry in motion, a kind of capoeta-like dance I wish I could see in real life.

 

Speaking of Deuce and Fade,

I ship it

I ship it. 

 

Their relationship is a thing of beauty. Their mutual respect and trust warms my heart. When they fight, they fight about things that matter and do so with the understanding that they’ll work it out and be stronger for it. If you guys haven’t picked up on this yet, I HATE petty personal drama, especially in survival scenarios.

 

As amazing and satisfying as Horde is, it is not a perfect book. There’s a lot of going in circles as the characters prepare for the final conflict and it dragged a bit in the middle. The much-appreciated straightforwardness sometimes crosses the line into blunt and awkward. That said, these qualms are relatively minor and didn’t get in the way of my overall enjoyment.

 

This trilogy isn’t for everyone, the world Ann Aguirre has created is harsh and uncompromising and, especially in earlier books, the characters don’t always make good choices. One of the things I like so much is how Aguirre builds on that. She seems to be saying that we can be more than we’re taught to be, everyone makes mistakes and can grow and change beyond them. Our faults and limitations don’t have to define us and we can all become better people if we care to.

 

If you haven’t read Enclave or Outpost and are looking for a new series, I highly recommend this one. It’s grim and dark in a way dystopian zombie futures should be contrasted by bright moments of hope and love. It’s exciting, action-packed while still being thought-provoking. The romance is beautiful and realistic without ever overshadowing the plot. I can sit here all day and list enticing adjectives,

 

long list

 

But that’s going to get old after awhile so just trust me and check it out.

 

This review also appears on Cuddlebuggery.

Source: http://cuddlebuggery.com/blog/2013/11/06/review-horde-by-ann-aguirre