May 27, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Release Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259
Series: Razorland #1
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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.

My Thoughts:
When I was reading this book I kept thinking: ‘This is like The Hunger Games meets Divergent meets The Maze Runner meets The Dark and Hollow Places’. I don’t think the book quite lives up to the quality of those novels, but a lot of the aspects were quite similar. I have a few problems with the book, which I’ll get to in a minute, but basically I want to say that this is well worth a read. It’s not that long of a book, but it’s incredibly action-packed. I really couldn’t put it down, I was just so involved in the story and trying to figure out what would happen next.

Where the book goes a bit wrong, I thought, is world development. As readers we’re just supposed to accept what happens in the book and how the world was built, but I had a lot of questions. It seemed a bit unrealistic that no one had questioned the authority of the Enclave successfully or that no one had escaped to ground level before, considering how relatively easily it occurred. I didn’t understand why the Enclave had all these oppressive policies, or why the communities were so enclosed. I also would have liked a better explanation for the Freaks: what they were, where they came from, etc. There’s only so much you can explain away through your character’s ignorance of the world around them. The fire scene that led to the ending of the book was also quite unbelievable, I thought. I won’t comment further, because it would wreck the ending, but of everything that was the one thing I had the hardest time accepting.

What I want to point out is that despite all these flaws I thought ‘Enclave’ was an incredibly interesting read. Deuce was likable enough, and Fade was quite a lovely character as well. Maybe I was just looking for a good entertaining story when I read this one, but I really liked it. I think when you can make a story enjoyable enough to suspend disbelief over all those elements I listed above, you’re doing a good job. Is this book as good as the books I mentioned in the first paragraph? No, definitely not. But is it a fun read-alike? Absolutely. If you’re looking for more dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories after reading all the most popular titles, this is well worth checking out.


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  1. I really want to read this! It looks so good!
    Thanks for the awesome review!

  2. I agree about the part where nobody really questioned the Enclave, but there were Rebels inside the enclave. I think what really got me was the fact that Stone and Thimble quickly turned on Deuce. but there is a possibility that they still might be alive idk.It definitely is worth a read, i really enjoyed it.

  3. Glad this was a worthwhile read for you. I'm still hooked on dystopians and want to read this one at some point. I've noticed the reviews are all over the place for this one, but it seems worth a try.

  4. I love the premise of this one, but I have to admit that world building, or the lack thereof, can be a huge deathtrap for books for me. I need a fully developed world, and I need it to feel real. I'm not sure this would live up to me. Fab review, Ashley :)

  5. Great review! I tend to crave really deep world building, but if the book is that action packed, I can sometimes overlook it.

  6. Dystopians are so hard, especially in the world-creation bit. It's such a tedious process where anything can go ... as long as you explain it. Sigh. But sounds like this is still worth a go!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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