Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication Date: October 29, 2013 (Macmillan Children’s – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Synopsis: 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.
☆: 5/5 stars – The best possible ending to a series I’m really going to miss.
Review: This trilogy, you guys. I’ve been keeping score since book one, and the way that Aguirre has grown in her writing for YA has grown in such measure that I can’t even. Really. Seriously. This book is the best possible ending, and yet, the most the most painful, as I’ve really grown to love Deuce and the boys. In this final book in the “Razorland” trilogy, we see a major tribute paid to the US Civil War, almost re-enacted, and prairie life come back to life in a hell of a future created by humanity itself. If there’s a final book in a trilogy you’ve got to read this year, or better yet, start, it has to be “Horde”.
I feel like Aguirre really finally filled out the entire world of “Razorland” – in this future populated by “muties” and humans, both fighting to survive. It finally feels like a very real, very full, very rich world where everyone and everything, even down to the smallest detail and the smallest character, feel 3D. It’s taken two books for Aguirre to do that, and though she improved greatly with book two, it’s nothing close to how she’s improved in all technical areas for book three. Comparing a pond to a sea, basically, is how I’d compare the technical details of books two and three. She’s done a lot of research for this book on the US Civil War and has re-enacted it for us (though in which way, I won’t say because that’d be a huge spoiler) in such a vivid way that there were times (especially post-battle) where I had to put the book down and breathe, because the details were so gruesome, and yet so true to what we know in the US had happened at the time of our Civil War.
Prairie/frontier life is also re-enacted with brave humans trying to create outposts (the title of the previous book really starts to have meaning in this one), trying to survive in this vicious world filled with the muties, those that we originally thought were just zombies, but in fact are something else entirely. By bringing in all of this actual historical research into this futuristic world, I feel like the worldbuilding for this series just kind of exploded (and in a good way). It felt so lush, so real, and at times, so horrific in the sensory arena of things that I knew that Aguirre had really done her job, and had done it well. We get a lot of backstory as well – what led to the creation of the muties, as well as a rough sketch of how much time has passed since that happened. I was asking for that rough sketch of time since the end of book one, and though I kind of wish we’d gotten it in book two, I’m glad we got it at all.
The characters: we finally get that nasty love triangle with Deuce, Fade, and Stalker more or less resolved for good here, though it’s extremely painful to read, as I’ve gotten pretty attached to all of these characters and their feels (though not the love triangle itself). We also get more time with Tegan (yay!) and she really becomes part of the main cast, at last, in this final book. I love how these characters, true to life, are living in horrid conditions, but just refuse to give up. They make decisions that show that this not only is a coming of age trilogy, but also shows them willing to sacrifice everything in order for the rest of humanity to live. They really kind of become adults here, through the most brutal ways possible, but also the most satisfying ways. If humanity has been thrown back to mid 19th century technology and living conditions in this book, then the way that Aguirre carried out how she was going to execute (pardon the pun) the rest of this book was extremely appropriate when it came to the characters and how/when they were considered adults as well.
Just a warning: if you’ve been reading the trilogy like I have, you will cry. Maja from the Nocturnal Library said I’d cry in her shelf description on GR. And I was like “Nope. Not gonna happen, self.” But I did. And it was ugly crying too, not gonna lie.
Final verdict? An absolutely amazing finish to a fun series, and one that will definitely leave a mark on you long after you’ve finished the final page. “Horde” is out October 29, 2013 from Macmillan Children’s in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance! Definitely makes the best of 2013 list. And be sure to check back on the blog in October for a guest post from Aguirre on the blog tour!