Review: Horde

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HordeHorde by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 29, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Horror, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-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.

When I finished reading Enclave, I sat it aside, waiting to see how the rest of the series would go before putting it back on my shelves. Space in my collection is somewhat limited at the moment, unless I buy another bookshelf and I wasn’t sure whether I would want to revisit this series. Horde has earned the series a right to stay on my shelves. The Razorland trilogy is one of those rare instances where the series steadily improves over time, beginning pretty well and ending incredibly strongly.

The plot goes in a really good direction and the series ends up delivering a really healthy message about tolerance and evolution. Though I saw this coming as a possibility, I wasn’t positive if this was where Aguirre was driving the series or not, since it’s not necessarily a popular post-apocalyptic ending scenario. The series ends up being all about making hard choices and overcoming prejudice. It’s pretty brilliant and open-minded.

Razorland has always been dark and full of violence, but with Horde Aguirre really brings the pain. There’s so much war and death and sacrifice within its pages. She kills off some main characters and no one gets out of the book without scarring, generally both physical and emotional. The way that Stalker’s arc went, in particular was perfect: View Spoiler » While I never got particularly emotionally tied to the series, I still really appreciate the emotional arcs granted to the main characters AND the secondary characters. Aguirre takes the time to develop much of the cast, and it makes for a well-rounded, realistic read.

The romance in the series has always remained pretty well on the backburner. Where so much post-apocalyptic fiction is overrun by the romance, Aguirre keeps it in the background for the quiet moments between battles. What I love is that Fade and Deuce, much as they love each other, always put their present survival first. They’re not making stupid mistakes in the middle of battles because they’re too busy watching the other one. They don’t hide away from danger to be in a little shell of happiness. Basically, they do not lose their brains to lust. Throughout the series, though both grow and change through love of each other, their personalities and values do not change. Their relationship is very healthy and they treat each other with so much respect.

There’s only one thing I did not like about Horde, which is that it uses a really hackneyed ending convention. Aguirre does the thing where the series we’ve just read was actually written by one of the characters in the series. Now, this probably isn’t the case for everyone, but I find this trope incredibly lame and just no. Any time it happens, I roll my eyes at the pretension. Plus, it totally throws me out of the book, because, yo, I know I’m reading fiction and pretending it’s real makes everything feel even more fake.

Whether you’ve started this series yet or were on the fence about continuing, I recommend that you make with the reading. Ann Aguirre’s Razorland trilogy is among the very best YA post-apocalyptic fiction.

5 responses to “Review: Horde”

  1. Meg says:

    YAY! YOU LIKED IT! I agree, it’s so rare for a series to progress like this.

    Yes, yes, yes, loved the message, loved how Stalker was wrapped up and loved the arcs.

    What I love is that Fade and Deuce, much as they love each other, always put their present survival first. <– SO MUCH YES.

    The end was pure, melted cheese poured on toasted cheese with some corn on the side, but after the rabid zombie-liciousness of everything up to that point I was kind of like 'you know what? I'll give it a pass this time.'

    Everyone read Razorland! Then Feed. Then Croak. Now that I look at that list all together, is it kind of morbid? Oh well. READ THEM. NOW. *glares at everyone else in comments*

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yes! They so rarely get stronger all the way through, but I wish they all would. Even Feed, my love of loves, doesn’t go out on the strongest note. It’s still a strong note, but it’s forte rather than the consistent fortissimo of the rest of the series, ya know?

      Stalker kind of had to end that way which ALMOST makes me think it’s lame but not really because it needed to happen. This is basically circular reasoning but whatever.

      Bahahaha, if you think this is cheese, wait until Crash Into You, though I’ll address that more in THAT comment.

      I am SO glad you read Croak. Now to prevail upon Ellis.

      Did I give you your next marching orders yet? I forget.

  2. Molli says:

    You’ve already finished this series and I’ve yet to read the first book. *fail* I’m glad to see that AA takes risks AND keeps the romance as a side-plot and not the sole motivation for the characters doing things. The ending…that trope really just depends on the type of book for me. It happened several times in fantasy series I read and I was okay with it, but in a dystopian setting…hmm. It might aggravate me, too. We’ll see!

    And the series earning the right to stay on your bookcase is pretty awesome. 🙂
    Molli recently posted…Review: Poison Princess by Kresley ColeMy Profile

  3. Oh I feel the same way regarding that ending trope. I haven’t come across it in a while, but I’ve never really liked the idea of it, and doubt that opinion will have changed anytime soon. I’m glad you were impressed with this book overall though! I liked Enclave well enough but didn’t continue with the series in the end. It’s reassuring to know that it wraps up well – hopefully I’ll be able to add it back onto the pile sometime next year. Great review!
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: World After by Susan EeMy Profile

  4. Really happy that you loved this one, Christina. I for one didn’t really enjoy it all that much. For some reason, the last book really annoyed me to death! I ranted about it in my review, but basically, I felt Fade… fade out in the storyline and that Deuce became too bland and boring for me. Not sure why, maybe I’ve just gotten way critical LOL. The ending caught me pretty much off guard too.
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Review and Giveaway (PH only): Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnisMy Profile

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