08 December 2012

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

Published: 12 April 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 259 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Post-apocalyptic

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis

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 Deuce 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

I'd been looking forward to reading Enclave for a long time.   Post-apocalyptic survivors living in tunnels whilst fighting off the zombiesque Freaks sounded exactly like the kind of book I'd love.  Throw in a heroine who is trained to fight and hunt for the survival of her 'enclave' and I was immediately sold.

Deuce is an interesting character in that she is completely dedicated to her nominated vocation.   Right from the beginning she takes her role as hunter and protector of the group very seriously, despite the fact she is partnered with an outsider - a boy that was found on the edge of death after living the majority of his life topside.  But as well as being a fighter, she has a seemingly strong sense of right and wrong and until the second part of book I liked her despite her hard exterior.  

In the second half, there is a pretty confronting situation that Deuce seemingly glosses over and very quickly forgives - and this is where she becomes far more complicated as a character and for me a little less likable, and a little hypocritical.  Whilst in the Enclave she has a strong sense of right and wrong, which actually leads to the reason that she leaves the safety of her group, however when confronted with another person who has been used and abused, there's no huge cry of outrage.  It's all just a little odd, and doesn't really match with the character portrayed in the first half of the story, but in a way I can imagine what the author was trying to do with this - Deuce's upbringing was very harsh, and there is a huge focus on survival despite hardships, and perhaps the idea was that survival is Deuce's main priority, rather than making moral judgement about the assumed actions of others.

Deuce's partner, and eventual crush, Fade, is an interesting character and I liked him far more than the other part of the love-ish triangle that inevitable popped up the second half of the book.  His past for the most part is shrouded in mystery, and I like that the author revealed it gradually as the story progressed, rather than having an information vomit at a particularly intense moment.  Their relationship is a little insta-lovey, not to the stage of eye-rolling but definitely at the stage where I thought I had missed something.

The world building is above average, although there's only a few sparse hints about what happened to the world to drive people underground and where the freaks came from, but I'm hoping this will be revealed in future books.  The tunnels themselves were infinitely creepy, but once things moved away from the enclave a few more holes appeared - there's a huge amount of food that just pops up randomly, such as catering sized cans of corn in a school kitchen - which considering that survivors aren't that few and far between I was quite surprised that they had made it through un-scavenged.

The fight scenes were one of my favourite parts of Enclave - I liked the use of weapons and the moves that all of the characters pulled off amid the Freak attacks, and that they worked together as a team.

It might come across that I'm quite negative about Enclave, but I'm not really.  It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, and the inconsistencies were disappointing but it was certainly a fun, fast and addictive read.  I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series, not so much for the characters but because I want to find out what happened to the world.

5 comments:

  1. Well, this does sound interesting. Although I really hate it when I don't connect with the main character. I love dystopian reads, although I have read a few. This one looks like my cup of tea, and I hope I will like it.
    GREAT review, Kat!
    As always!
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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  2. I could NOT stand this book, for the negative reasons that you mentioned. It started out so strong but once they left the caves it lost all of its spark for me. I'm happy you could look past it and enjoy this one much more than I did.

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  3. Ah!!!! Dang it! I haven't read this yet and we have such similar taste. I'm afraid I'm not going to like it as much as I want to. :(

    Great review though, Kat!

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  4. I'm glad you liked this one, but I also deducted for the reasons you have stated. I was VERY disappointed with what happened to Deuce's character and how the whole situation with Tegan was handled. I am sorry to say that I found Outpost to be even more disappointing than this book. But I am interested to see what you think of it just the same. Great review, Kat.

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  5. Oh man, I LOVED this when I read it a few years ago, but I need to reread it, because I don't think I would like it nearly as much. The more reading I do, the better I'm able to judge books. I've read so many more dystopian novels now and have a much better idea what to look out for. :/

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