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Monday, April 18, 2011

Enclave Entertains in All Its Gritty, Grimy Glory

(Image from Indiebound)

When a deadly virus sweeps through the country, killing nearly everyone in its path, the survivors seek refuge underground. In the tunnels that once formed New York City's subway system, they cluster in remote enclaves, where they hunt for food, mate solely to prolong the species, and fight to keep their communities free from looters, bandits and the zombie-like creatures they call Freaks. It's a rough, grimy existence. The only one 15-year-old Deuce has ever known.

In this tough-as-steel world, the only thing that matters is what you can contribute to the enclave. Deuce's goal has always been to become a Huntress, to take her place among the strongest, most fearsome members of her world. After receiving her ceremonial scars, she's finally made it, finally transformed from a nameless rat into a lean, powerful hunter, one of the best the enclave's ever seen. She still has to prove herself, though, which is why she's paired with the mysterious Fade, a Hunter who claims to have come from the ruined lands above. Everyone knows that's impossible, since humans don't live Topside. Not anymore. Still, the success of Deuce's hunting expeditions, not to mention her survival in the dangerous underground tunnels, depend on trusting her partner. It's only as she gets to know him that she begins to wonder if Fade could possibly be telling the truth - about where he came from, about what he's doing in the enclave, and about the secrets he swears their community's leaders are hiding.

When said leadership ignores Deuce's warning about an alarming massacre in a neighboring enclave, Deuce knows something's terribly wrong in her underground community. Questioning her superiors gets her nothing but exile. Now, Deuce and Fade are on the run, clawing their way Topside, trying to make it in a harsh, new world where humanity barely exists. If they can outrun violent gangs, outfight rabid Freaks, and outlast their own hunger, then maybe, maybe they can find the safe place Fade's father always talked about. If such a place is real, which is seeming less likely with every passing second ...

Enclave, the first book in a new YA dystopian series by Ann Aguirre, is a raw, riveting story about one girl's fight for survival in a hostile new world. Combining classic dystopian elements with a dash of horror gives the tale plenty of conflict, while complex, cunning characters make it more than just a fast-paced adventure tale. While Enclave's not terribly original, it's still gripping in all its gritty, grimy glory. It's not my favorite dystopian story, but I'm definitely interested to see where it's heading. I might even be holding my breath - just a little - for the sequel. Fall 2012, come quick, wouldja?

(Readalikes: Reminded me of Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, a little of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and a bit of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for violence and brief references to rape

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Enclave from the generous folks at Feiwel and Friends (an imprint of Macmillan). Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good! Dang! Another book I'll have to add to my TBR list.


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