Ann Aguirre Enclave
259 pp. Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) 2011
Summary (From Goodreads): New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
I added Enclave to my list of books to read because Ann Aguirre is a debut author and it’s dystopian. It’s a quick read that’s dark and enjoyable. On the cover it says it’s a good choice for fans of The Hunger Games, but I honestly didn’t feel the connection between both books. Enclave reminds me more of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth and parts also reminded me of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go. I’m not a fan of Carrie Ryan’s book, so I guess it’s odd that I liked this book as much as I did.
The characters are developed well, which I always appreciate in a book that’s beginning a trilogy or series. Deuce has lived a sheltered life underground, with the desire to become a Huntress. She’s paired up with Fade, who was an outsider, but welcomed to the enclave because he was able to survive outside it. I enjoyed their interactions because Deuce is able to learn more about the world outside the enclave, which in turn uncovers some truths about her life inside the enclave. Fade is able to provide this knowledge. Fade’s definitely a leader, but he doesn’t dominate over Deuce which would have made her appear weak and fragile. This is a book with a tough female protagonist that knows how to protect herself and survive. I’m not the biggest fan of Stalker, although I am curious about his role in book two.
The Freaks are an interesting part of the book. I thought of them more like zombies than anything else. I’m not a fan of zombies (Team Unicorn all the way!), so again, I’m surprised that addition of Freaks didn’t change my feelings towards the book. Thinking about it now, this book would pair well with the movie I Am Legend. Thankfully, Ann Aguirre didn’t make the story revolve around the Freaks. Enclave is more about survival in a “new” world and self-discovery.
There’s a great balance of action and character/world building. The ending wraps up nicely and thankfully isn’t a cliffhanger. If you’re looking for a different kind of dystopian (this is apocalyptic) and connecting with strong characters, definitely pick this up. My book club chose this book and we’re discussing it on Friday. I’m looking forward to what they have to say!