Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland, #1
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Imprint of Macmillan)
Date Published: April 12th, 2011
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
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.
If you’ve ever watched the tv show Life After People on the History Channel, then you’ll pretty much understand the setting of Enclave. If you haven’t ever watched it, I highly recommend you do. Not only because Ann Aguirre states in her author’s note that she drew inspiration for the setting from that show, but also because it’s a very cool and fascinating look into how nature will take over when we’re gone and really how we effect nature while we’re here.
So right off the bat my favorite thing about Enclave is the setting. I’ve always been kind of fascinated with the idea of nature taking over after our society has collapsed. It’s interesting to see from different books and movies how people react and how our baser instincts take over when our society no longer looks as organized and “civilized” as it does now.
In Enclave, people have taken to living underground after a mysterious apocalypse has occurred. Throughout the book we discover with Deuce little tidbits here and there giving us clues as to what really happened to “destroy” the world. Most people in this society really have no clue. It’s been awhile — although we’re not told how long — so the world as we know it is much different. Aside from living underground, there are many other differences as well.
Deuce lives in what’s called an enclave. This is basically a community of people who all contribute to the life at the enclave as a whole. There are Breeders, Builders, Wordkeepers, Hunters, and pretty much everything else needed to keep a group of people alive and thriving. Deuce falls into the Hunters category and her life is flipped upside down (in more ways than one) when she’s partnered with the outcast of the Hunters, Fade.
Enclave, while slow going at times, I found to be pretty fascinating. It’s interesting to see how people in this world have essentially lost all the knowledge and understanding that we as humans have gained over hundreds, even thousands of years. Without giving too much away, the people in this world are not stupid by any means, but the knowledge and the understanding that is normally passed down from generation to generation (including reading) is no longer anywhere to be seen.
Because people live underground they do not live as long. The oldest person Deuce has ever seen was about twenty-five. I thought this was pretty interesting because although we have so many reasons to protect ourselves from the sun, it’s still so very important to our health. While I don’t know if we’d really only live to about twenty-five without any sun exposure at all, I still found it pretty fascinating that this played a role in the book because people don’t think of it as something that is absolutely necessary to staying alive.
Aside from the dynamics of the world, we have the characters and the relationships. For me, this is sort of where the book lacked. While we do get a bit of a background on the main characters, I still felt like we could’ve used more. This book in a way reads like little snapshots at a time. It’s sort of hard to explain, but it felt like kind of a stop-motion movie where pieces were cut out or something. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was a little bit of a strange writing style that at times left me feeling disconnected from the characters and their feelings.
But overall I enjoyed Enclave. It was slow at times and I think the character building was lacking. The relationship dynamics between the characters were done pretty well and I’m curious to see where those will go in the next books. As for the ending. Well, it was definitely a cliffhanger in some ways, but even so you still kind of feel the sense of accomplishment from this book so it wasn’t too unnerving. I’ll definitely be reading on, but I’m curious to see how the next books will keep me entertained when the thing that entertained me the most in this book was the discovery of the world around them, and obviously that’s already happened.
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