Saturday, July 16, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: April 12, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259/Hardcover
Razorland #1 
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge     
Source: bought


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.

Review: Enclave was one of those books that I was really excited about. It sounded awesome and people were saying good things about it, but ultimately it wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be.

I loved Deuce. She was the constant in this book that I simply adored. She was one tough chick who knew how to survive. She was tough and willing to fight, but when needed she could be compassionate and vulnerable. She was a great protagonist and, really, she was the star of the book (in my eyes).

I liked the first part of the book much better than the second, although the first part was not the best (don't worry I'll explain). In part one there just seemed to be so much that was touched upon but then never given an explanation. It was clear that the people of the enclave were familiar with blind obedience, but I never saw the characters really rallying against their leaders. Many of them claimed to be part of a "resistance" but never really did anything.

When Deuce and Fade finally make it to the Topside I was even more thrown off. It seemed like they were going to be a couple. Then they weren't. Then they kind of were. But then something happened (and I still have no idea what) that made Fade become moody and depressed and by the end we were in triangle territory. I'm a fan of love triangles but not in this instance. It was weird because I never got to know the characters besides Deuce and they didn't seem like they wanted that kind of relationship with her. 

Enclave's world building left much to be desired, but as the first in a YA series I'm holding out hope for the next installment. I didn't get to know the characters and their choice of relationships confused me, but I'm happy nonetheless that I read Enclave

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