In Deuce’s world, individuals become adults—and earn the right to a name—only if they survive their first fifteen years. By this point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups: breeders, builders, or hunters. As the names imply, each group has definite roles to play for the survival of the group.
As a Huntress, Deuce’s purpose is clear—to roam the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading the ferocious humanoids known as Freaks. This has been the status quo for as far back as anyone can remember; this is, the elders tell everyone, the way it has to be. With the introduction of Fade, a male hunter a couple of years older than Deuce, who had been adopted into her enclave a few years earlier, she becomes aware of the hidden realities of the Orwellian society in which she was born. Deviation from the norm is punished quickly and harshly.
As Deuce’s perception of her world shifts, guided by her complex partnership with Fade, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival in the tunnels. The Freaks, considered dangerous only due to their sheer numbers and ferocious appetite, have long been held as incapable of any level of thought. And yet, as Fade and Deuce encounter them in the tunnels while in a reconnaissance mission to the nearest enclave, the creatures’ behavior is evidently cunning, and therefore more dangerous. It is evident that the danger is imminent, and yet Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.