Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Enclave - Ann Aguirre

Hey, guess what?!  This is post #1000.  Pretty neat, huh.

Summary:  In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive the 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.

When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been destroyed by Freaks, who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to their warnings and exile Deuce and Fade. As the two are guided out of the dead city by Fade's long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known. (Summary from book - Image from )

My Review:   All I can say is: FINALLY.  The little ones went down for a nap at the same time.  I dropped everything on my plate, made my mental health a priority, and was finally finally finally able to disappear inside a book.  You know, really bury myself deep down inside it and roll around for a little bit.  It was awesome – the reading part and the book.

Enclave, by Ann Aguirre, is a YA dystopian novel that follows Deuce and Fade, two young Hunters scrabbling to survive in a ravaged post-apocalyptic world.  Her realistic portrayal of their society, with its strict rules, divisions, and dangers, made it easy to see the remains of our culture through their eyes. 

I love characters that can be strong, resourceful and dauntless in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  Deuce and Fade are all that and more.  Deuce trained hard to become an expert Huntress and although wary of her new partner, protects him with her life.  She doesn't back down from a fight and is loyal to a fault, once her trust has been earned.  Fade is steadfast but compassionate, despite his tortured past.  He always has Deuce’s back, lets her be who she is, and appreciates her for it – a refreshing change from some of the more dominating male characters that seem so popular.

Together, Deuce and Fade make a marvelous pair – a lethal combination of calculated savagery, camaraderie, and strength.  Their relationship starts off shaky, but develops over the course of the book into a fierce devotion.  The strict rules of the enclave prevent them from becoming romantically involved, which of course sends the sparks a-flyin’ left and right.  Thankfully, their relationship serves to complement the rest of the story without overwhelming it.     

One of my favorite YA authors, Sharon Shinn, called Enclave "spooky-cool, grimly gorgeous, tactile, tough, and terrifying," while others have recommended it to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.  Although it’s been a while since I’ve read either of those books, I can say that I felt the same urgent need to devour this book as with them.  It also felt like a grittier, amped up version of one of my favorite children’s books, The Cityof Ember

In Enclave, there is so much solid make-it-into-a-movie action, tension, and romance that the more I think about it, the more I really want to see what happens next.  Aguirre doesn’t tie everything up in a neat little bow at the end, but there was enough of a resolution that I didn’t want to die – not right away, anyway.   Of course, it helps that the sequel, Outpost, has already been released.  Now, to get my grubby hands on it.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Some fantasy violence, related to killing monsters, but also some human-to-human violence once the books setting changes.  Also some conversations elude to a rape, but they are fairly vague, and likely wouldn’t even be understood by a younger reader.  I can’t remember any profanity.    

Sum it up:  A thoroughly entertaining thrill ride.

Pssssst -- I'm in the middle of reading Endurance, an e-book companion to Enclave, that tells the story of Thimble and Stone, two of Enclave's supporting characters, after Deuce and Fade are exiled   I'm about halfway through it, but I like seeing their side of things.  Not necessary reading, but fun!


AshleaD said...

LOVED Enclave! Wait til you get to Outpost! Nail-biting stuff!!!

Unknown said...

Nice :)


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