Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre

6 November, 2013 Reviews 13 comments

Review: Horde by Ann AguirreHorde by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #3
Published by Feiwel and Friends on October 29th 2013
Pages: 432
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

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,

 List

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

Meg Morley

Meg Morley

Co-bloggery at Cuddlebuggery
Meg is an all-around book nerd who just really wants to talk about books, preferably with other people but by herself will do. Find her on Goodreads.
Meg Morley
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13 Responses to “Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre”

  1. Manda

    I’ve been avoiding these ones because apparently the first book has rape and victim blaming in it – an rapist called Stalker is presented as a love interest. So I was put off reading them from that review. But I’d be happy to give them a go if later books resolve that – do you happen to remember if there’s any dealing with it in the second/third books? Thanks!

    • Meg Morley

      Ahh, the Stalker issue.
      1. Yes, book one touches on rape and victim-blaming.
      2. I wouldn’t call Stalker a love interest as much as a guy who expresses an interest in Deuce.
      3. It’s resolved in the sense that the characters all make peace with each other and their pasts and have grown and evolved, etc. I can’t really tell you any more without spoilers.
      4. I never, ever got the impression Aguirre was in any way pro-rape/victim-blaming, I think she was exploring the idea of what people can accept/do to one another if they’ve never been told/taught that it’s wrong. I don’t know. It doesn’t really play a part past book one beyond influencing character behavior/motivation.
      I hope that rambly-ass list answered your question.

      • Ann Aguirre

        You’re exactly right; that was my intention. And Deuce is certainly insensitive to Tegan in book one, but a 15 year old girl who was raised in a tunnel simply cannot possess modern sensibilities or the emotional tools to know how to respond as I would. Learning how backward her own thinking is is part of her emotional arc.

        So glad you enjoyed the series.

        • Meg Morley

          I really liked your approach. I recognize why many would shy away, but I thought the points you were making were interesting and well done.

          Thanks for writing such an epic series! I have Bronze Gods sitting on my shelf waiting to be read and am quite excited to dig in.

        • Anonymous

          Please make more this is the best series ever kind of like from Fade and Deuse’s kids point of view

  2. Wendy Darling
    Twitter:

    how little time Ann Aguirre wastes on pointless drama. Totally agree with this–and I appreciated your answer to the first commenter re: Stalker as love interest as well. This series is so well written and well done, I’m glad to see you’re a fan of this one, too! Great review.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Sex & Violence tour stop + giveawayMy Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Thank you!! I love this series to pieces. After I read Horde I went back and started again on Enclave because it’d been awhile and I wanted to see if I’d still like it as much (answer: yes). It feels so different from other post-apocalypse novels, Deuce is such and interesting, unique character and I love that her arc deals touchy subjects in such an unflinching way. Also, this is one of few dystopian trilogies where I actually feel the fear and danger.

  3. Kate Copeseeley

    My top 5 literary team of zombie ass kickers:
    1) R from Warm Bodies
    2) Shaun Mason from Feed
    3) Gale from Hunger Games (I’m just noticing that these are all men. hahaha)
    4) Saba from Blood Red Road
    5) Ismae from Grave Mercy
    And because I’m a weakling, I would hide in the middle of them. 🙂
    Kate Copeseeley recently posted…Being a Super Genius is Tough, but I Manage.My Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Excellent list! It has reminded me that I need to read Grave Mercy ASAP.

      1. Deuce
      2. Shaun Mason (because OBVIOUSLY)
      3. Georgia Mason (while she’s great in a crisis, I also don’t feel right having a team that includes Shaun and not her. It’d be wrong)
      4. Becks Atherton (oh look, another of my brain things has turned into a Newsflesh lovefest. I AM SO SURPRISED)
      5. Katsa from Graceling (her survival skills would come in super handy on top of her being incredibly badass)

      This is a fun game and I think everyone should play.

  4. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Now that I’ve read this and finished my review, I can finally see what you said. I’m pretty sure I will pat you on the back for being my soul sister.

    Nope, I was wrong. Running is only satisfying if it’s a brief run with a donut at the end of it. You’re crazy. CRAZY.

    FANTASY APOCALYPSE. OMG. I claim Deuce and Katniss and Michi.

    She is totes sensible. So is my whole fantasy apocalypse team. Like, romance is nice but you can’t enjoy that if you die, so how about we kill all of our enemies and make out later if there’s time.

    Bahahaha, I ship it too. It’s not an “I will go down with this ship” ship, but I totally approve of how healthy their connection is. Well, they are a bit glued at the side, but, hey, they saved the world, and they deserve to wall up in their home to sex constantly if they want. Who needs other people. And their relationship problems were totally internal. Even the Stalker thing was just a communication fail between them and not a third party problem. PRAISE JEEBUS.

    Eh, I didn’t mind the pacing or anything, but I hated that last couple of chapters. HACKNEYED. Oh well, definitely the best in the series.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Review: HordeMy Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Now, now, I didn’t say I necessarily thought it was satisfying, just that I’ve heard of this mythical runner’s high people claim to get. Personally, I don’t think I’ve moved faster than an ungainly quick shuffle since 8th grade.

      Katniss! Totally forgot Katniss! Yeah, I stick by my original five above. I’m sure Shaun would be just as handy with a bow if he put his mind to it.

      The end was super-corny, but I was kind of okay with it. It was a change of pace and I thought that was nice.

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