Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Review - Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Librarything / Goodreads
Genre: Apocalyptic Young Adult
Received for review from Macmillan US
Debut 2011 Author - Released today!
Rating: 4.5 stars
Summary: 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.
Thoughts: Some authors are just born better than others. Call it a natural selection or literary Darwinism, but I have found it to be one of those undeniable facts. They sit a cut above their piers, and make you glad to be a reader. Enclave is the third Ann Aguirre book I've read, and it confirmed what I suspected: she is one of those authors.
In case you were wondering, Enclave is a zombie apocalypse book. There are a lot of dead bodies, a few crazy!backwards!gangs, and people who will try to eat you. But that being said, it is a very different take on the whole thing. In fact, I could probably go into a whole spoiler-filled debate about whether or not Enclave should be called a zombie apocalypse book... but you'll have to read it to see what I mean.
Okay, so on to the goodness. I absolutely adored the two main characters - Deuce and Fade. For starters, both of the characters are basically adults. Life has made them grow up fast, and there's little time to sulk about it. A century ago, it was completely normal to raise children at the age of 15 - so it's only logical that we'd fall back into the habit post-apocalypse. Both Deuce and Fade have embraced their responsibilities and are all the stronger for it. Deuce rather reminds me of Rose from the Vampire Academy series (only about 15 years more mature) in the sense that she puts protecting others first. It's inspiring to read and I hope more YA authors (*cough* and adult authors *cough*) consider writing more responsible!mature!characters. As Enclave proves, they can be just as entertaining.
Even though there is some romantic tension between Deuce and Fade, there are many more important things that take precedent (like survival, and whatnot). Not to mention the fact that, despite being hardcore warriors in their own right, they are pretty innocent when it comes to the whole romance business. It's a different world, and that kind of intimacy is something that couldn't stay alive. As readers, of course we know what to look out for, but seeing characters who do not even know what a family is... well, watching them start to develop one on their own is amazing.
Aguirre also hits on a few issues that I think some people will really be... um... shocked by? That's not the right word... let's just say she includes a few plot twists later in the book that may have you up in arms. We have all gotten rather accustomed to some things being labeled as badbadbad - unforgivable under any circumstance. But sometimes self-preservation is more important than justice - occasionally a person can do evil things for an apparently good reason.
I'll leave you to ponder that one.
Bottom line? Ann Aguirre will rock the YA world. She absorbs you into her novels and pulls twists out of places you didn't even know existed. I'll be buying the hardcover.