Katie(babs)'s Reviews > Enclave

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
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Jul 15, 2010

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Read from April 27 to May 09, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I’ve really got to hand it to Ann Aguirre for writing a fascinating post-apocalyptic YA that I was able to finish without rolling my eyes. To be honest, the amount of Dystopian YA’s being published bores me. Every one of these YA’s are being courted as the next Hunger Games just like a few years ago with every single YA with vampires, fairies or fallen emo angels was the next Twilight. Ann takes some interesting chances with Enclave, and this is not for the weak of heart. Nothing is sugar coated here. The first half of the book gave me a claustrophobic feeling while reading. Unfortunately the second half faltered because the action wasn’t as intense and Ann falls back to an all too familiar trope found in present day YA- the evolution of a love triangle that will most like appear in Outpost, the second book in this series.

Have you ever seen the movie, 12 Monkeys? Enclave (Razorland #1) is a YA version of that film. Enclave takes place sometimes after the second holocaust of the Earth. Humanity has suffered immensely from some unknown catastrophe that has occurred. (Most likely an atomic World War III). We’re introduced to this world through the eyes of Girl15 who becomes Deuce on her naming day, her birthday. Deuce lives underground and has never gone up to the above. Upon further reading, I would say Deuce lives in the former subways of New York City. Everyone has a role in the enclave and Deuce’s role is to become a Huntress. She will hunt for food in the tunnels. Deuce lives in a dark and dank world both literally and figuratively. Disease is rampant and hygiene is not the best. Some women are solely used to breed children, known as brats, while others keep their fortress strong and safe from the Freaks. Freaks are monsters who feed on the flesh of the living and even themselves. They roam the tunnels looking for their next meal. Hunting for food can be dangerous, but Deuce is strong and fast. She is partnered up with Fade, an older boy who came from the above when he was a small child. Fade is not well liked by the elders because of where he has come from and has the makings of being a troublemaker. The elders make sure the rules are followed with an iron fist. If not followed, they have no qualms in exiling those who don’t behave. Exile means certain death.

Deuce and Fade soon figure out that the Freaks are not the mindless creatures that only exist to eat that the elders think them to be. And because of that everyone is in danger. Fade is more than willing to break away from this near like prison community and move on, but Deuce is scared because the enclave is all she has known. But then Deuce something unselfish to save one of her friends, and she is exiled. Fade goes along with her and they go up to the above where a new fascinating world of danger awaits them. Deuce and Fade don’t only have to worry about the Freaks, but roaming gangs that will kill without warning and use women as their own playthings. And when Stalker, the leader of one of the gangs, targets Deuce and takes her, Fade will put his life on the line to save Deuce. They’ll try to find a place where they can be safe without the fear of starvation and targets of the flesh hungry Freaks.

Enclave has a great atmospheric feel to it. I was right alongside Deuce as she fights for her own survival. The sounds, scents and mind numbing fear are strong. Fade is a great partner for Deuce and they both bounce off of each other very well. These two are the strongest and most well rounded and dimensional characters here. That became one of my main problems while reading. Characters come and go without any real meaning of substance. Because the story is so centralized on Deuce and Fade, everyone else pales in comparison. I couldn’t connect or sympathize with anyone else because they came across very flat as the paper they were written on.

When Deuce and Face go up above, that’s where things go downhill. In the enclave, everything was wonderfully descriptive. In the above, we’re given a quick overview. Deuce and Fade spend most of their time running and finding food and shelter. That is until a gang right out of Mad Max (done YA style) finds them. They meet an abused rape victim named Tegan, who has been at the mercy of the gang run by Stalker, a nasty piece of work. But then at one point either Ann or her editor came to the conclusion, we can’t have Deuce happy with just Fade and we’ll make Stalker a bit ambiguous in his actions so he can be redeemable and a possible future love interest for Deuce. That is where I grew weary of the story. We’re told from Tegan that Stalker is a killer and most likely a possible rapist who may have raped her time and again. But then at one point Tegan changes her story and says Stalker only handed her over to the other men and never touched her. So, Stalker, who again is most likely going to be a love interest for Deuce in the next book, isn’t such a bad guy because he didn’t actually rape Tegan, but only gave her untouched to his men to share. Sorry, this doesn’t make him redeemable in anyway and I would hope Deuce will realize this and stick with Fade. Or perhaps in Outpost, Stalker will become the ultimate villain Deuce or Fade must battle. If so, I’d be very interested in seeing how that goes down and hope Ann doesn’t fall back on the classic, let’s redeem the near psycho and amoral bad boy so we can see that the world can be a wonderful place again because love from the heroine has set everyone free.

Enclave should appeal to those looking for something different with their Dystopian YA’s they’ve read. If the first half of Enclave continued that way to the very last page, then I would have considered Enclave one of the best books I read this year. Overall, it’s a solid read that could have been so much better.
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Reading Progress

05/09/2011 page 180
69.0% "Reminds me of the movie, 12 Monkeys. Very gritty and dark. Pretty solid reading so far."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Amanda Thank you! I was planning on writing a review if no one said anything about Stalker, but thankfully you're someone who touched on him!

I CANNOT STAND HIM. He was what brought this book down for me. As soon as they were like, "Hey, let's bring the gang-rapist!" I had to walk away. I decided that Deuce and Fade were smart and only using him as another fighter, nothing more, but when I began reading again, Deuce is going to warm up to him? And basically tell Tegan that she needs to get over it? And then start to respect him?

Deuce says more than once that strength means taking care of those weaker than you, but she admires the "strength" of someone who preys on those weaker than him (raping girls, intending to hunt Fade for sport)? It didn't make sense.

I was too angry at Stalker's place in the party to think of him as a villain in Outpost, but that's a really good idea, and hope fully that's what Ann Aguirre is planning to do. I think I'll have to hurl the book if she tries to redeem him through his CONSENSUAL relationship with Deuce.


Katie(babs) I found it odd that we're told upfront that Stalker is a murdering rapist, but then it's brushed under the table or fixed where it's questionable if he did these acts.

I'm hoping Stalker will be the villain of he next book instead of him becoming a part of a love triangle that's not needed to make this story more interesting.


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