Monday, 25 April 2011
Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Released: April 12th, 2011
Grade rating: B+
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.
This is the first Ann Aguirre book I've read, and I'm quite sure it won't be my last. It's a post-apocalyptic dystopian-type zombie thriller with two fantastic main characters and worldbuilding that doesn't disappoint.
Deuce is a huntress in an underground Enclave, where she lives after a plague destroys civilisation and the world has drastically changed. We're introduced to her post-apocalypse, and soon become privy to the information that she has never been topside. She's spent her whole life as a brat underground, and because of this she can't read or write well, but she's a badass when it comes to hunting and protecting people from the freaks - zombie-type flesh-eaters who exist in the tunnels. They're never actually referred to as 'zombies', but that's the closest thing I can think of to describe them. They seem more intelligent than your average run of the mill walking dead, which leads me to believe that they might be an evolved species. Whatever they are, they're something to be feared and fought which, luckily, Deuce is more than capable of doing.
She gets paired with Fade, a boy in the same enclave and, in the wake of several deaths in the enclave, before she knows it her whole world is changing. She's still a huntress, yes, but nothing goes to plan. Let's just say that she and Fade end up in a very different environment, surrounded by freaks and doing their best to stay alive. Their relationship progresses - they're friends first above all else - in a slow and innocent way, due to both of their somewhat sheltered upbringings.
I enjoyed the first half of Enclave more than the second half, as it's more dystopian, with the introduction to Deuce's world being nothing short of fascinating. Once the novel shifts and reaches its second section, the whole narrative takes an unexpected turn: new, less interesting characters are introduced, there's a fresh, more mundane setting and its direction becomes less clear. I haven't got a clue where the story is going, which is quite unusual at the end of the first book in a series. It's like I read two different books featuring the same characters, and I actually wish the whole of Enclave had taken place in its first location. It was the best part of the whole book for me, though I did still enjoy the remainder of Deuce's story.
Enclave's sequel, Outpost, is due to hit shelves in Fall 2012, which seems like a heck of a long way away. I for one am really looking forward to finding out what happens to Deuce and Fade who, by the way, have the coolest names ever. I think this Razorland series is a great start to what I hope will be a long YA career for Ann Aguirre, filled with many hungry freaks, hunting knives and dark apocalypses.