Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review - Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave is the first in Ann Aguirre's young adult Razorland trilogy.  The second installment, Outpost, is scheduled for a Fall 2012 release.

Blurb from her site:
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
I LOVED this book!  Deuce, the main character, instantly pulled me into the story.  She is very proud of her community and her place within as a protector of her people, a huntress.  However, Deuce is hiding a "flaw", her sense of compassion and desire to question authority.  Both are traits Fade values and personifies himself.  Throughout the course of the novel, Deuce begins to discover that maybe the controlling enclave hasn't been completely honest with its populace and the dangers they face.

The action is top notch.  There are fighting scenes beyond every page flip both externally with the freaks and rival gangs and internally as the veil over Deuce's eyes begins to lift.  It was eye opening to see the world topside through each of Deuce's new revelations.  I was reminded of simple everyday items we take for granted in this life.

Aguirre did a phenomenal job on world building.  Each scene completely enraptured me and the contrast between the top side and underground worlds was beautifully orchestrated.  Within Enclave, the world became as important and tangible as the main characters.

Speaking of characters, even minor ones were well done.  Deuce as I mentioned prior, is very easy to relate and bond with.  Fade was harder to get a handle on in the beginning, but as Deuce grew to like and trust him, I did as well.  Tegan and Stalker worked well as additional characters; though I do hope to see more of them in future installments.  I think both characters have more to tell.

Overall, Enclave is an action packed, emotionally charged post apocalyptic thriller.  I loved the addition of zombies to the dystopia genre.  This novel proves to be an addictive start to a promising series!  If you are a fan of the recent dystopian fiction wave, make sure to add Enclave to your list.  For a sneak peek, the first two chapters can be found here.  Enjoy!

Rating: 5/5



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