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[Book Review] - Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
   Author: Ann Aguirre
   Series: #1 - Razorland
   Format: Hardback
   Release Date: April 12th, 2011
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters - or Freaks - who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight - guided by Fade's long-ago memories - in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

     Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world- - facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.

My Review:

     This was a different read and while I was skeptical when I first started it, I was thrilled to find the book grow on me as the book continued on and on. I thought for sure this would be a 2.5 or a 3.0 at most prior to even opening the cover. I just hadn't heard anything about this book, and the synopsis didn't do  anything for me. I was expecting a book about two people and zombies. Oh, and the world has dwindled to a few. So when I picked the book up, I had actually been told it was worth at least looking at and to give it a chance. I have to admit, I was glad I did.

     The world starts in underground in an enclave and the people are divided into a caste or class based system, Builders, Breeders, and Hunters. The average elder age for anyone living is around 25, and that just puts it into perspective the relative state of the world they live in. To survive I am imagining you would have to get pregnant (be a Breeder first off) at a good ripe age of 15-18. However, the one odd part of the book that I found is the mothers never really care for the infants after birth. The infants are taken care of collectively at a nursery of sorts. Which I thought was unique and almost detaches all relationship from the characters.

     Duece was this angsty girl who was born and bread a fighter. At first it was hard to notice, but she almost has no relationship aside to her two other friends. It's not until she is almost raped that her emotions start to take a part in the story. She wants to feel, but doing so could get her killed, that's how she was raised to live. I wanted so more feeling out of her in the beginning, but looking and searching for that connection and the emotion from her was what pushed me on through the story.

     I want to take this time to address a comment comparison with this book, "This is the New Hunger Games." NO! Just NO. You learn that in Duece alone, forget the outside world and how much crueler and demented it is. Duece was born to fight the outside world and every danger she's faced with. She lives by the common Warrior's Code, fight to the death, there is no greater glory than to die by the hands of your enemy than to be defeated and left alive afterwards. Katniss was never trained to fight, she hunted of course, but she had no practice killing. No sparring against real people and what the games would be like ahead of time. Plus she didn't have to worry constantly growing up that she would be raped, killed, or worse on a daily basis. I find the two world just completely different and in the characters far far worse.

     Now we get to Fade, a boy who comes from outside the Enclave and ultimately from the world above theirs. The Elders are so impressed with the possibility that he knows history that they adopt him into their own. Which highlights another thing their Historian Elder, if I am correct, views history. You have to turn in every possible artifact that could possibly be history or a tie to the old world. So their obsession with Fade saves his life and turns him into one of the most ruthless Hunters they have. I was looking for the number again on how many partners he went through before Duece finally got assigned to him. I thought it was kind of funny and put just how ruthless the outside world was.

     Now when the story got going, I thought it was kind of unique.They have a mission if they want to come back, and that's to try to discover if the neighboring Enclave is doing okay and trade with them. However in the process they stumble and Duece's inner emotions blossom, and I believe I actually screamed, "FINALLY!" when it happened. The story continues as they make their return; which just lead to Duece getting setup over and over and eventually getting her and Fade get exiled from the Enclave.

     I loved when the book took a twist and went above ground, and the gangs above took precedents over everything. It wasn't just that someone could harm you either, as Duece and Fade stayed above ground, the sun would burn their skin. I normally wouldn't think of the sun as an enemy, but when spending nearly all your life underground I can only imagine what the sun would do to you in a short amount of time. The gangs were ruthless up to, leaving Duece to be raped and used as a slave if she got captured. It was just so brutal and cold that only enhanced the drama and despair that seemed to course through all the characters.

     I want to thank the person who told me to shut up and give the book a try. I enjoyed it far more than what I thought I would and even more I ended up picking up the rest of the series. I hope to finish the series sometime soon and to get the rest of the reviews on to you. I hope you all can wait for the completion of the series and a review of its entirety. Thank you again!
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