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.
Review: 3 Stars - Dystopian title Enclave by Ann Aguirre was interesting on many levels, from the characters to the world underground to the scary truth of topside. It’s was a compelling start to a trilogy giving readers a different take on a popular and ever growing genre.
Living underground is the only option for main character Deuce and the various enclaves trying to make a life, to survive within the tunnels that run under what used to be a bussling city. Sadly, most who live underground don’t know of life above ground, or what life used to be like before they were forced down, deep into the earth. The elders tell the histories and the people live by them and never question anything. Deuce has survived 15 years of being a “brat” without a name and a true purpose. When she finally gets a name, she’s able to put her training to use as Hunter for her people. With scars that tell all what she is, she’s paired up with a partner and sent out into the tunnels for food for the people and protection against the monsters that roam the tunnels – “freaks”.
When Deuce finds herself partnered with Fade, she questions if this pairing is a good thing of a bad thing and why of all people it had to be her. Fade is different from others, he was born away from the enclave and has more knowledge of the tunnels and the world above than anyone knows. He tends to keep to himself and really no one wants to end up working with the strange loner. Deuce is a strong character that has questions she wants and needs answers to but is scared to ask for fear of the ultimate punishment – banishment from her home, but Fade is able to help Deuce more than she would ever know.
Fade made the story for me, which tends to happen somewhat often when a good male character enters into the mix of any good story. He really helped to shed not only light too many of Deuce’s questions, but also continued to further strengthen her as a character, helping her to grow as a person. From their first encounter in the book you could see her changing because of Fade, the questions she had and finding answers she was looking for. They each have their own set of issues that they had to deal with and work through and it’s about to get worse when things go drastically wrong for the two.
This might have been a very different type of dystopian story, but it wasn’t my favorite. I applaud Aguirre for writing something with a different take on the popular genre. It wasn’t bad; but for me it was just a tad lacking. I felt it was slightly flat and maybe that had to do with the drastic difference in the story and characters from underground to topside that kind of threw me. It almost felt like the story peaked a little too quickly however; it’s far from the point where I won’t be interested in reading the next book in the trilogy – Outpost.
All in all, while Enclave fell a little bit flat for me it was still interesting and the action held my interest. With the next book in the trilogy just around the corner, I’m eager to find out more about Deuce, Fade and the rebellion… and what Aguirre has planned for everyone, readers and characters alike next. If you are a fan of dystopian stories and are looking for something new, something far from the norm, then be sure to give this one a try soon.
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5 Stars - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! 4 Stars - I Really liked/Loved it. 3 Stars - I liked it/Was pretty good. 2 Stars - It was, eh okay. 1 Star - It just wasn't for me.