Published: April 2011
The sole reason I picked up "Enclave" by Ann Aguirre was because so many friends recommended it, notably Curlypow, Christinabean, and Special K (and where would any of us be without that motley crew?)
"Enclave" follows Deuce, a teenage girl whose sole ambition in life is to be a Huntress and protect the enclave. With humans living below ground in dark tunnels, those that protect the enclave from the zombie-like Freaks are held in high esteem. Hunters, along with the other two castes, Builders (engineers, fix-it's) and Breeders (umm, don't think I need to explain that one), have to survive with very little food, resources, even space. Everyone's all packed in; I'm surprised there isn't more sickness than is already mentioned. Other enclaves exist, but are further away, and not be trusted. Things are going along (somewhat) tickedy boo for Deuce, until she's paired with fellow Hunter and somewhat-of-a-loner-rebel, Fade. LOVED Fade! A brooding, mysterious, bad ass fighter who gets his name from a bottle of laundry detergent. What could be better?
I liked the characters, and found them quite believable and could relate to them. But... Perhaps because of my friends' recommendations, "Enclave" fell a bit short for me. My expectations were so high going in, perhaps anything would have been disappointing. The story never quite picked up for me; I never got to that enjoyable state of rabid flipping, just having to know what happened next.
It wasn't anything I can point to and say "Ms. Aguirre did THIS wrong," it just... didn't measure up. It didn't have the heart or edge-of-your-seat action like "Hunger Games" (which Publishers Weekly compares "Enclave" to), or the emotion or beauty of language of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth." Readers of both of those would enjoy "Enclave," don't get me wrong, but I just didn't like it as much as others.
Definitely pick "Enclave" up, it's a good read, but it's just that: good, not great. Sorry "Enclave," it's not you, it's me.
Thanks to Pither for adding yet another look to a book so many of us enjoyed.