Release Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Razorland #1
Review Source: Library
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
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.
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.
Find Enclave by Ann Aguirre on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca