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.
What Left Me Wanting More:
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.
The Final Verdict:
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.