Thursday, November 29, 2012

Same Book, Second Look - Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Published: April 2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 259
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Godoreads



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.

Wow.  I can't believe I waited so long to read this title.  Curlypow wrote an excellent review over the summer and I'm going to piggyback on it and make my comments.

First off, I have to say I LOVED this book.  I really haven't heard much about it, so I was going in blind, so to speak, but I love the cover and the blurb hooked me from the get-go.  Enclave is not a book that starts slowly and builds up to the action - just the opposite in fact.  It starts with bang, albeit a small one, and the excitement never lets up. It is a story of survival, the breakdown of society and the fact that no matter how bad the odds are, humans will fight to live, in whatever way they can.

I also LOVED this book.  I too did not know what the fuss was or even review the plot before I dived in.  In a time when survival is key, it is interesting that humans would do anything to keep some semblance of order and balance.  What I found interesting was how the Enclave below ground was run compared to above ground societies.

' There were different kinds of strength.  I knew that now.  It didn't always come from a knife or a willingness to fight.  Sometimes it came from endurance, where the well ran deep and quiet. Sometimes it came from compassion and forgiveness.' (page 244)

There really are no weak characters in the story. Deuce has incredible willpower and skills as a hunter. Fade is a true hunter with a soft core that he keeps well hidden from everyone.  Stalker, well he's just fierce, but you can see that he just does what has to be done to survive. Tegan, weak on the outside but with an incredible inner strength.  They are brought together through a bizarre set of circumstances and their journey is a continual fight to live.

Deuce was bred to be a hunter and it was ingrained in her down to the core.  As the story progressed though, you see glimpses of her emotions come through and her lack of understanding.  She experiences feelings such as envy and jealousy but does not have words for them.  Stalker was just as interesting as he begins to share tidbits of his prior life before heading underground.  I would love to learn more about him and his experience.  Imagine being barely a teen and needing to survive on your own!  I had mixed feelings about Tegan.  She did keep a lot in but she had reasons for doing such.  (We do learn more about her in Book #2)

The bad guys, well they are a sort of mutant scavenger/cannibal type, that are slightly reminiscent of zombies, but they are not dead. Strange, deadly and very, very frightening.  There are lots of dark tunnels and ruins and strange noises, and lots of nasty fights full of blood and gore. Lots of fun, right? I read Enclave pretty much in one sitting and really enjoyed it.  It's one of those books where I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  Is there a love interest?  Well, perhaps the beginnings of one.  I must admit I am really pleased to see that there will be more books to follow this one.  Apparently Enclave is 'Razorland #1' and I personally can't wait to see what happens next to this intrepid band of adventurers.

I pictured the bad guys to be similar to zombies.  Ms. Aguirre's description painted ghastly images in my mind.  Smelly, putrid beings intent on gnawing on whatever appendage you may have left for them.  Deuce mentioned that in the Enclave, if someone died, they left the bodies outside of the Enclave for the Freaks to devour.  This was slightly disturbing to me.  Aguirre paints such a dismal environment but thrown in are sparks of humanity and hope.  As I read about the different groups living in this dystopian-type environment, I started to grade them using different levels of humanity.  Actions taken and rules established determined where I would position each group.  

After reading Enclave, I sat back and thought about Deuce and why I felt so involved in her life as a reader.  She is rough and tough but has an innocence about her.  Her job as a Huntress has trained her to be hardened as a person yet meeting Stalker brings out a softness in her and identifies how she is quite naive in some ways.  

Anyone who enjoyed Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Incarceron, Rot and Ruin etc will love this one I'm sure, so run out and get yourself a copy and sit back and get lost in the story.

Like Curlypow, I found it hard to put Enclave down.  It was so good that I bought Outpost (Book #2) right away.  Keep your eyes peeled for my review!  

Dystopian fans, this is totally for you.  I think Deuce would probably be BFFs with Tris (from Divergent)... or Saba from Blood Red Road....


  1. I also loved this book! It was a powerful story! Haven't read Outpost yet, but it is sitting on my shelf!

  2. Oh, this has been on my list, but now I think I'm going to have to move it up. Great!