Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Vanguard by Ann Aguirre [Review]

 Vanguard by Ann Aguirre
Vanguard (Razorland #4) by Ann Aguirre
Format: ebook
Source: provided through Netgalley
Date read: August 1, 2017

Razorland
0.5. Foundation
1. Enclave
1.5. Endurance
2. Outpost
3. Horde
4. VanguardHardcover | Kindle

Ann Aguirre
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Synopsis (Goodreads):
The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship's doctor, she can't wait. It's past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.

Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to their number. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Uroch vanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange and beautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn't allow him close, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormy seas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.
Thoughts on Vanguard: Holy wow, this book rocked my socks off. I ADORED the slow relationship Tegan and Szarok built over the course of their journey. They go from tolerating one another to forming bonds of friendship to something more. It was lovely and sweet and perfect. Their every interaction made me want more for them. They're both guarded and prickly and watching them lower their walls around one another made a very happy reader.

Tegan and Szarok aren't the only two who grow, either. James is smitten with Tegan whereas she loves him, but as a friend. It takes a while and a lot of heartache before James can come to terms with that. Millie is the kindest, sunniest girl any of them have ever met and she steps in and picks up the slack when things take a bad turn for the group. They all grow into themselves in different ways on this journey and it's pretty fantastic.

Speaking of being smitten (we were speaking of being smitten in there somewhere, weren't we?), I am SO IN LOVE with the bits and pieces of the old world the group comes across at various points. I'm a sucker for the idea of a new world rising up from the ashes of the old and this was executed perfectly. The cities and technology might have died when things went bad, but there are still remnants to be found and that makes me weirdly giddy.

Bottom line: We're given a story of dangerous adventure, love, and finding yourself when things seem to be at their worst set against the backdrop of a world that's been devastated by loss and survival of the fittest. At it's core, this is a love story between two people who overcome some pretty big odds to find happiness and I absolutely LOVED it.

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