Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

Synopsis (Goodreads):
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 she 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.
My Thoughts:  The biggest thing I can say about this book is that if you like any sort of dystopian/post apocalyptic settings, whether in adult or young adult novels, you need to read this book.  It is PHENOMENAL.  I'm simply in awe of the world that has been built and the characters that Ann Aguirre has created to populate it.

Both Deuce and Fade came alive for me in different ways.  Deuce's was probably the more poignant of the two as she finally realizes that the laws she's grown up with can be left behind.  It was wonderful watching her mature into herself as she cast off the blanket excuse of "it's the way it is" and began to take responsibility for her actions.  Or lack thereof.

Fade was harder to get a handle on.  For me, his moment came from Deuce's observation that for him all fights were life or death.  His years on his own had driven it into him that when you fight, you fight to survive.  Deuce could see him trying to bring himself back under control and mentally convince himself that the sparring competition he'd just participated in wasn't a true attack.  It was one of those moments that gave you such a clear glimpse of the pressure he must have been under when he was alone in the world.

Gritty, heartbreaking, chilling and brutal, Enclave presents us with a frightening world where the strong survive by force of will and the truth has been twisted so many times that no one remembers where the lies begin.  Gorgeous writing and strong, resiliant characters will keep you hooked from beginning to end and you'll be dying to know what's in store next for Deuce and Fade.

More books by Ann Aguirre

Reading challenges: The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The YA Reading Challenge, The Zombies! Challenge

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