Deuce’s whole world has changed.
Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.
My complaints from the first one remain, lots of telling, and info dumping. However, the new intricacies and developments of the Freaks make a compelling enough story to look past that . . . for the most part.
The cunning, evolution, and truly human qualities that the Freaks take on give proof to the theory that they are mutations introduced in the first book. The sheer creepiness of their behavior in this second installment though gives such an interesting focus for the story and its characters. It also provides for some moral issues that begin to surface with Deuce. As she continues to grow emotionally – learning she can be more than just a warrior – she has to start looking at the Freaks as something other than . . . well, freaks. I think we are going to see a lot more of that idea develop in the last book, but it’s interesting to start thinking about.
Beyond the developments with the Freaks, most of this book focuses on the emotional climate between Fade and Deuce. I like Fade and Deuce, and it’s cute watching both of them struggle with their personal issues to be together. Deuce is still fleshing out what it means to love someone (in both romantic and familial relationships) and how to express that; while Fade has so many trust issues and emotional scars that it’s hard for him to open himself up to anyone. They have a really complicated relationship, it’s definitely dedicated, but they are dealing with so much that they never really have a chance to figure out how to have a functional relationship.
These two main focuses of the story show both the interesting developments of the stories main conflict, and a nice dose of character development. All the four characters from the first book are learning how to learn to let others into their lives in emotional ways, and all of them are also figuring out how to be friends in the new environment of Sanctuary and its social structure. While the main faults I found with the first book maintain, the story development is enough to mark a improvement.