Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Deuce has grown up without the sun. Hidden deep within the ancient city sewers, the enclave survives on rules and fear. Though her home is stalked by the flesh-eating freaks, it is still better than the horrors that await Topside -- or so she's told. No one has ventured Topside in years. No one, except Fade. Fade was found wandering the sewers, mysterious and feral, after surviving on his own for years. Everyone in the enclave fears the bizarre boy, so when Deuce is partnered with him as a Huntress she's prepared for his eccentricity and hostility. What she doesn't expect is a devastating secret that threatens the only life she's ever known.

In Enclave, the archaic rules and rituals of Deuce's underground world create a primal atmosphere and unsettling cult-like quality that bring the stark reality of this post-apocalyptic future to life. Like her society, Deuce lives by a rigid code of "daggers and determination"* that may seem unsympathetic, but is also fascinating and realistic in the context of her dark, dank world. She has grown up in the ferocity of the sewers and she knows how to survive. She's a girl and she's fierce and she makes no apologies. She has a will to succeed and a drive to prove herself.

Though she can seem stiff, it meshes well with her militant upbringing, and it's endearing to see her thaw over the course of the novel as she rediscovers her flickering humanity. Ann Aguirre puts herself completely in Deuce's shoes, portraying her reaction to the state-of-nature Topside with impressive care and imagination. Deuce is amazed by things we take for granted, and her encounters with the Topside gangs are brutal. However, I was troubled by Deuce's attitude towards the gangs' treatment of women. In this instance, the pragmatism instilled in her by the enclave makes her seem heartless.

Aguirre is unflinching in her presentation of this bleak future, where life is empty service to the survival of the whole. Living underground, away from life and sunlight, has slowly stripped the enclave of their humanity, until individuality is a sin and independent thought a crime. The ruthless, animalistic survival instinct makes the remaining humans alarmingly similar to the zombie-like Freaks they fear -- except for Fade. Fade slowly awakens the spark of spirit that still burns far below Deuce's rough Huntress exterior. The code of honor and deep-rooted trust that is crucial to their Hunter partnership builds slowly but strongly, allowing readers to believe and triumph in the ultimate romance. Enclave is rawer, wilder and more visceral than many of the dystopians that came before, and fans of the genre will relish it.


Disclosure: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to purchase Enclave by Ann Aguirre.

Part of the 2011 Debut Author Challege.

*ARC p.210


Small Review said...

I like how you describe Deuce and her world. I thought Ann Aguirre did a really good job in her world/character building. She was really consistent and the way her characters thought made sense for their upbringings.

Lauren M said...

Enclave is in my TBR pile--glad to her you enjoyed it! Deuce sounds like a great heroine (even if she is a bit heartless at times)!
Wonderful review! I love how eloquently you portray your thoughts, Casey! <3

Bookish Brunette said...

I loved Enclave so much!!!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Ooo, so glad you enjoyed this one. :) I have it here on the shelf and can't wait to get to it. :) Thank yoU!

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

I really want to read this one!

Selina said...

This was definitely one of the better dystopian books I read recently. It was so hard to put down. Your review is spot on.

Lori said...

I really loved this book a lot more than I thought I would. I think the series will only get better! Great review!

*Melissa* said...

I am almost done with this book, I got this book from the publisher as well from goodreads and its so good and addicting!! Glad you enjoyed it my review should be up later this week if your interested in reading it.

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