Giselle's Reviews > Enclave

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
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Aug 30, 12

bookshelves: arc, own, dystopia-or-post-apocalyptic, zombies
Read from August 26 to 27, 2012

This book, you love it, or you hate it. And then there's me.

Enclave starts out as a very captivating, very exciting read. The world building is terrifying; we've got society living underground, talk of barren wastelands and acid rain "Topside", beasts are roaming the tunnels which, let's face it, are zombies. These "Freaks" eat human flesh, they smell and look like death, and they are taking over! I was lost and absorbed by this dreary desolation. Though what makes it the most compelling is the plausibility of this post-apocalyptic world. Society would separate, and there are apparently already people living in the underground NYC tunnels (as per the author's notes). These types of post-apocalyptic settings are my favorites, the possibility makes it horrifying, and you all know by now that I'm a masochist. In the big picture, the world is brilliantly imagined, sharply described, and I loved it. I also loved the slow telling of its history. We don't know what happened to bring about this future from page one, we learn it as our characters do. When you look at the world closer, however, mostly in regards to the underground living, I was a bit less convinced. How have they been getting drinkable running water for a century? Or I guess the best question to ask would be: How exactly have they survived? If you tell me you lived under the earth for over a century, you will need to give me the full lowdown to make me believe it. I wanted it to be more fleshed out.

The transition from underground to Topside is also a part I wish would have been done differently. Someone who has never been exposed to the sun would not so easily adapt to it. Sunglasses, conveniently found might I add, would not nearly be enough protection. I was expecting a bigger reaction overall, not just physically, but mentally as well. Nonetheless, I will say that the world we do get Topside is very well described in all its ravaged glory. The planet is destroyed and the author depicts its bleak nature very vividly.

On to the most controversial aspect of the novel. The characters in Enclave are very particular. They have an extremely different upbringing; Deuce was brought up as a fighter, a warrior, with "the strong survive" as her biggest value, so she lacks social skills including, and especially, empathy. The way she reacts to situations and other people's distress is a source of complaint from many other reviewers and I can easily understand these reactions. Personally, I was able to do away with my own values to understand a culture that is completely unlike my own, but it does bring about harsh topics, such as rapes, that could very well leave a bad taste in your mouth. What I certainly could not stomach was when the arrow started pointing at an nauseating future love triangle - which I was confirmed does come about in the sequel. It's not the triangle that I have the problem with, but the love interest involved in it. This is a guy who let his people gang-rape a girl continually, and who most probably raped girls himself even though it's not specifically mentioned. He is a sick, vile man. While I understand the reasoning behind wanting him on board to help them survive until they reach their intended destination, I do not see myself garner anything but disgust in the possibility of a romance between our protagonist and this dirty, rotten fella. I just can't. Will I still read the sequel knowing this? Certainly. The world building and overall premise is very enticing and I was thoroughly entertained from page 1. But it will also likely annoy and disgust me. I guess we can't win em all.

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An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Wood How is it so far?


message 2: by Catelin (new) - added it

Catelin Wilde Excited for your review! I requested this one in the library, orginially I was 1 of 1 holds. I think because I tried to check out 10 more books they put me into 2 of 2 >.> Also interested on how it is going!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Loved this book. It is intense hope you like it!


Giselle I'm really liking it so far. Close to halfway.


Rhiannon Frater I really, really didn't like the love triangle aspect. That creepy rapist guy freaked me out.


Giselle Yeah I had a huge discussion with Jenni about it and before I did I would have given it a 4 stars. But she did bring things to light that I kind of overlooked on the characters. I didn't agree with her on everything, but I agree on how creepy this guy is. I also didn't really get the romance vibe as much as she did but I know it's coming and I like this book a bit less just for that fact. It wasn't perfect but overall I still really liked it and if I could I'd give it a 3.5


Rhiannon Frater I felt like it wasn't a fully formed love triangle. That second/rapey guy felt like he was tossed in to just cause trouble between the two leads. I understood their youth and naivete, but I really disliked his presence in every way. It was the only thing I didn't like about the book. In fact, I keep forgetting about that part and only concentrate on the good stuff when reflecting on it.


Giselle No it wasn't a triangle yet but I hear there is one in book 2. I didn't even get a triangle vibe at all in this one since it was mostly one sided and she didn't seem interested. But there were other small stuff too, like how someone who never saw the sun would most likely go blind and burn within minutes and 100yo sunglasses would be no help. And how the heck did they get running water underground for so long? That was drinkable! After a plague no less. I just wish their enclave was more explained. I didn't even realize they were underground until like 100 pages in I swear.


Rhiannon Frater Giselle wrote: "No it wasn't a triangle yet but I hear there is one in book 2. I didn't even get a triangle vibe at all in this one since it was mostly one sided and she didn't seem interested. But there were othe..."

UGH! I'm bummed out about book 2 having a love triangle. UGH! *headdesk*

I agree with you. I kinda wished they had spent more time in the underground enclave for the sake of world-building. That was my favorite part.


message 10: by Giselle (last edited Aug 27, 2012 08:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Giselle Me too! And yeah I hear lots of disappointment on book 2. Maybe I'll close my eyes during the triangle parts.


Anagha Oh I loved Enclave. Fingers crossed Outpost can live up to its awesomeness!


drowningmermaid This is pretty similar to what I felt. It really, really fell apart at the 67% mark. When I read that there was a rapist love interest, I still wanted to give the book a chance. I guess I consider myself pretty ok with a lot of (really unrealistic) rape in fiction, but the addition of Ronald McChildRapist really harpooned the story for me. It's not just that he's a rapist. It's that he's a rapist and EVERYONE IS OK WITH THIS, and the victim is told to get over herself. It's that IN ADDITION to heading a gang of rapists, he is ALSO a shitty leader who cares NOTHING about the people under his command. He was trying to kill them all three pages before being welcomed with open arms into their party. He SUCCEEDED in getting one of them killed. And still he's the new love interest? He doesn't do ANYTHING that Fade doesn't do better.


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