Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Enclave

Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: 2011 by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan
Obtained: Library
In Deuce’s world, an enclave deep underground, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed “brat” has trained to join 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 the ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Fade doesn’t like following orders. Deuce has never known a boy like him before, someone as likely to touch her gently as use his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat due to their sheer numbers, now show signs of cunning and even strategy … but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. No matter how hard she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
I kind of adored this book.
At first I was slightly put off by the knives, creepy hands, and drops of blood, that decorate the book jacket in various places. I’m not big into really creepy and gory books. However, this book was definitely more than it’s cover, and I loved it.
The whole premise is futuristic/dystopian set in a future after humans destroyed the Earth. Deuce is raised underground, which is basically subway tunnels, sewers, and the like. Her “enclave” is one of many in the ground. The enclaves trade supplies and generally just try to stay alive. As the story is told through Deuce’s perspective, it’s fascinating to piece together the items she finds from our world, and try to put the puzzle together of what she sees as old artifacts of past life, and we see as normal everyday things. Her society is no way more advanced than ours. It’s almost like a Dark Age after our thriving environment.
The Freaks are strange. They’re creepy, but not “I can’t read anymore, I’m going to freak out” creepy. When Fade and Deuce fight them, it’s not gory or gross, it’s survival and action. My only problem with these monsters is their name. I mean, “freaks"? Seriously? She couldn’t have come up with a bit of a better name for them? (Also the name for children, “brats”, was rather annoying.) Regardless, they were pretty convincing in the threat they posed.
The whole romantic angle of this book is not major. It’s definitely there, but only the romantics who care deeply about that aspect (ME!) are going to be reading mostly to find out what happens in their relationship. The book was mainly about surviving, learning to deal with corrupt leadership, and leaving behind the only world you’ve known. (Yeah, she goes “topside”.)
Every character in this book is amazing. Seriously. Whether you hate them or love them, they stay true to their personality, and stay crazy complex.
I CAN NOT WAIT for the sequel. But it’s not going to come out until 2012, which stinks.
Not sure if this review totally expressed my feelings about the book, so let me sum it up: This is an adrenaline-pumped book with amazing characters and it’s just basically awesome. So read it. :) Unless you’re SUPER squeamish and can’t handle any violence.
Ratings: 10/10
(I gotta work on my rating scale. Ugh)

Content Warnings: Kissing.
Also, females are not treated very well “topside”, so there are references to the mistreatment.

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