What a disappointing series! First of all, super cliche! It was effectively a love story (between teenagers) set in space, and repeated over and over again throughout the series. Also, I found it quite distracting when the story kept switching POVs back and forth between both main characters. It really took me out of the story. Those little poems or whatever, at the start of every chapter, were so unnecessary as well (felt more like fillers, really). I finished the first book, took a break from the series for a couple of months (after I realized that the second book had a different set of main characters, which was annoying) but ended up enjoying the second book the most, out of the entire series, and seriously struggling to finish the final book. Personally, I’d say skip the Starbound Trilogy.
Come for the apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love.
Phew! I finally finished reading And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host and I say finally because it really was a struggle! The first part was alright. In fact, it started off pretty strong! However, after the halfway mark (when the Blue’s “Super Powers” started to manifest) I found myself quickly losing interest because the author was focusing way too much on the mechanics of the “Super Powers” (in grave – and quite frankly, boring – detail). I only purchased this on my Kindle Paperwhite because it was found in the recommended list (Readers Also Enjoyed sidebar) on goodreads when I was searching for something similar to The Razorland Trilogy (reviewed here). Plus, the picture on the cover looked intriguing… and with a tagline like that, how could I resist?
In 2008, DARLAH which was written by Norwegian author Johan Harstad was published. In 2012 (incidentally, also the same year the story takes place), DARLAH was translated into English and that’s how we got 172 Hours On the Moon.
As I said before (in this post Book Club) after reading The Razorland Trilogy I was inspired to start a “Book Club” series on my blog, where I’d review books and you guys could provide your input in the comments section and we could hopefully start a dialogue, or at the very least, you guys can enjoy reading the review and possibly even go out and purchase your own copy of the book in question. The first book I actually reviewed on this blog was The Long Walk by Stephen King (reviewed – here). Now, on to my review of The Razorland Trilogy (Enclave, Outpost, Horde) by Anne Aguire.
The story takes place in the future. A long time ago, something horrible had happened above-ground, forcing people to live below-ground, in enclaves. We are introduced to a group of survivors, a community of sorts, who live in such a place. Their living conditions and their chance of survival is so terrible that they aren’t even given a name before they reach the age of fifteen. Until then, their names are their gender and and an exclusive number (for example, Girl15) or collectively referred to as “brats”. Nobody lives to see forty. In fact the oldest person living in the enclave with a withered face and shaky hands is only twenty-five years old. They do have a “healer” whose crackpot ways does more harm than good. If a brat manages to make it to fifteen years of age, they go through a ceremony of sorts and are not only given a name, but also a assigned a job, of which there are three; Breeder, Builder, Hunter (and get the matching number of scars signifying which group they belong to). Hunters seem to be held in the highest esteem (which is understandable since they not only provide food but are also expected to protect the Enclave with their life) whereas Breeders seem to command the lowest respect even though people with any birth defects and such were not allowed to become Breeders (lest they pass on their less than stellar genes to the next generation) and finally Builders are somewhere in between the two as they provide everything from medicinal salves to weaponry for the rest of the Enclave. That said, a Hunter/Huntress or a Builder can always be demoted to a Breeder for disobeying the rules.
The story is told through the eyes of Girl15 who has wanted to be a Huntress ever since she could remember. She is named Deuce (based on the “artifact” which was a playing card her blood had dripped over when she was cut as part of the naming ceremony) and luckily assigned to the job she wanted. As a Huntress, her job is to leave the enclave, go into the dangerous tunnels, and bring back meat to feed the group. Anything found in the tunnels (artifacts or remnants of the world “before”) should immediately be given to one of the elders upon arrival back to the enclave, otherwise the Hunter or Huntress risks being accused of “hoarding” which is unforgivable. Simple enough except there’s a dangerous threat known as “Freaks” lurking in those tunnels and she has to evade them. We’re not really told what freaks are, but we know that they are mindless beings who eat human flesh, and they vaguely resemble humans. Not hard to suss it out, is it?
Deuce was a good little soldier, all about honor, duty, purpose, all that. She was all about following the rules… unquestioningly, until she meets Fade, a mysterious Hunter (I know you guys are rolling your eyes). Deuce can’t quite understand Fade but she admires the way he fights. Then he says some stuff to her and at first she thinks he’s crazy but little by little, even though she fights it at first, she begins to understand what he’s been trying to tell her.
I have never been outside the enclave, of course. This space compromised the only world I’d ever known, cast in darkness and curling smoke.
Basically, Deuce has been conditioned to blindly serve and obey whereas Fade is so “woke”. The reason why I found Enclave so intriguing was because it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. The premise alone is endlessly fascinating! Generations and generations of people who have never been above ground, can you imagine? They’ve never breathed fresh air. They’ve never experienced the weather topside (wind, rain, snow). They’ve never even seen the sun! They eat, they sleep, they work (or in the case of the brats, they learn, until they are fifteen years old), that’s it. That is their lives.
People in the world before seem obsessed with objects that existed simply to look pretty.
Their reactions and even their thought process comes across as people truly living in a post-apocalyptic future who are genuinely baffled by the remnants of a more advanced past. You really get the sense that these people have no clue about the world that came before them. At times it can be quite sobering but at other times it can come across as somewhat comical (albeit dark). When Deuce comes across items from the world before she can’t even begin to comprehend the fact that they serve no practical purpose (other than looking aesthetically appealing) which kinda’ remind me of the show Kyle XY.
Another reason why I was so enthralled by this story was because of the overwhelming sense of urgency. Death was always looking over their shoulders. The only thing separating these people’s home from the freaks lurking outside in the tunnels was a makeshift barrier. A minimal injury you wouldn’t even blink at in today’s world, can easily lead to death (once the infection sets in) in their world. Lack of proper hygiene can lead to sickness and eventually death. Lack of food can lead to hunger and eventually death. Lack of water can lead to dehydration and eventually death. Even if a person managed to survive through all of that, they’d still end up sorta’ withered and wilted and die at a young age from the horrible living conditions (lack of sunlight, proper nutrition, smoke inhalation, etc…), such a bleak existence.
If anyone disobeyed the rules, they’d be banished by the elders, which out in those freak-infested tunnels was pretty much a death sentence. Fade wasn’t born in the enclave as he just sorta’ showed up one day (many years ago) and would have been sent right back out into the tunnels (even though he was effectively a child) but he had impressed the elders enough with his aptitude for fighting (they figured he’d be useful) so they let him stay and he received a name, a profession (Hunter), the scars, all that, once he turned fifteen. Somehow Deuce ends up getting banished from the enclave and Fade decides to leave with her. With no sense of purpose anymore Deuce feels lost but Fade has an idea of where they should go next.
<!–Warning Spoiler Alert Warning Enclave, Outpost and Horde reviewed here. Warning Spoiler Alert Warning–>