It saddens me to say that this book disappointed me beyond my imagination. I have had such high hopes for this finale seeing that I loved Enclave and Outpost a lot, falling in love with the story and the main cast of characters. When I got my hands on Horde, I quickly consumed it without delay, and I thought with my excitement, I could probably finish it in one sitting. I finished this book days after. And it's bad when I finish a book in a span of a few days, because that means I am not as invested/interested.
My question now is...
The main reason I loved the Razorland series was because I thought it had a big potential to end in an epic, exceptional way. You cannot imagine my disappointment when I found Horde flat, boring, and just absolutely mediocre. Perhaps I have only gotten more critical, but I cannot ignore the countless times I rolled my eyes of the cheesiness (Deuce and Fade, I am GLARING at you), and skipped pages upon pages of redundant battle scenes (Action scenes are supposed to make you excited, so why the hell was I BORED to death?). Don't jump on me yet; hear me out. Here are the reasons why I am tossing this to the MEDIOCRE category:
Deuce's voice/the narrative is dull and helplessly boring. Seriously, could there not be any more boring character than her? I don't know why but the narration felt so monotonous. I couldn't feel any emotion in her words as it felt like a robot was speaking to me. I don't have the book in my hands right now so I can't really provide any samples, but it's just something you observe especially when you've read really good first-person narratives.
I also didn't like how she would assume what other characters must be feeling every time the spotlight goes to them. Case-in-point: Stalker was looking at Tegan in a particular way while she was sparring with Morrow, and the narration would describe that gaze and then say what he was feeling inside. And I am like... hold it, what? Isn't this supposed to be a first person narrative? Why is Deuce saying what Stalker was feeling? During these instances, it seemed to me that the narration was unsure whether it was first-person or a third-person omniscient, and it would piss me off so much.
Every time Deuce would describe the environment or her surroundings, it was done in a similarly boring manner, too. There were too many unnecessary details that the book could have gone without. I was tempted many times to just skip the tedious paragraphs and get on with the story. Speaking of tedious, the battle scenes were awfully redundant as well. Deuce would hack, slash, and slice the enemy, and of course, the ever-graceful Fade would be fighting behind her, covering her rear - hacking, slashing, slicing, too! And there was Stalker at the distance, stabbing that Freak at the neck, and here comes Tully by the cliff, who effortlessly shot the enemy at the chest, and another one at the head! Rinse and repeat every battle... and I am always right that Fade would always be nearby to cover her rear, with added adjectives describing how awesome and beautiful he is... zZzZzzZzzzzz...
And, oh, Fade, Fade, Fade... I loved him in Enclave, was ambivalent towards him in Outpost, and utterly hated him in this installment. It was like his personality in the previous books simply vanished in thin air. Aside from fighting alongside others, he did nothing but go lovey-dovey with Deuce every time they get the chance. The romance between the two of them was tiring and the dialogue even worse... the lines were just so awfully cheesy that it was borderline unrealistic. Go on, read the scenes with the two of them again and dare tell me they're the kind of lines you'd tell your husband or boyfriend. No offense, but if they are your kind of lines, I am super judging you right now (I'm kidding, but seriously, I like cheese in my plate, not in my books.) To add insult to injury, the first half of the book was absolutely Fade-centric with Deuce putting his name every page. Fade this, Fade that... yada yada yada... God. Her constant obsession of wanting to touch him, then saying how that touch would hurt him so she wouldn't, but oh! she would give anything to touch him... nearly drove me nuts. There was a portion of the book where she would mention this every chapter, and my head kind of hurt from rolling my eyes after the nth time.
The book constantly reminds us of Boring Deuce's awesomeness. Everywhere she goes, there would be people who would be amazed of her adventures ("You're from the underground? NO FRICKING WAY AWESOMESAUCE!") and of her persona. The book pretty much made every men aside from the boys of the main cast as wussies in order to make Deuce seem stronger and better. Like seriously, everyone is blindly following a teen girl around who prefer to be called "sir"? A sixteen year old over battle veterans? Seriously? Yeah, I don't think so. I would have liked it better if say they were following an older, more experienced soldier as their leader with Deuce and Fade having influential roles. I mean, come on, a 16 year old leading a war with an army named after her! People practically kissed her feet, eventually making her the sort of character I try to avoid: the loved-by-everyone, good-at-everything, can-never-do-wrong, will-still-be-loved-even-if-she-nuked-a-city character. After the first few instances where unnecessary praise were thrown to her, I kind of just skipped the circle-jerks. Redundant shit is still redudant shit, so there.
With that said, I am overall very disappointed. Even though there were some parts I liked, it was overall a dismaying read for me especially since I expected better than this. I cannot just simply shake off the frustration I've undergone while reading this book, evne though I hold the previous books close to me heart. Hopefully, Ann Aguirre will make me fall in love with her writing again when her next book comes out.
Final Verdict: 2.5