Day 49: Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Summary From Goodreads:
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 Deuce 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.
Enclave is a thrill ride from beginning to end. Fast paced action with danger lurking around every corner will keep you on your toes and the new discoveries will leave you with a sense of wonder just as great as the characters within experience. From the dark tunnels, to the new enclaves and the feared and oft-mentioned “topside” Enclave there are new worlds seemingly around every corner.
Deuce is a kick-butt, no nonsense type of character. She’s stubborn and fiercely loyal once she places her trust in someone or something but she’s also quite ignorant of life outside her enclave. At least at first. She has to be tough and with that sort of mindset since she is a huntress, a role that requires a mix of bravery and a steely resolve.
Fade is this mysterious entity. All you know about him in the beginning is that he lived in the tunnels, without the protection of any enclave for years prior to joining Deuce’s, and supposedly he’s even lived “topside”. While his outer shell seems designed to keep people away, probably due to the frightening things he’s had to face in his life in the tunnels, he’s also quite the softy. He cares about people in a way that surprises both Deuce and the reader at the same time. He’s gentle when he can be, and steadfast and devoted to those few he bonds with, including Deuce. He’s a very likable character.
The romance between the two is understated in a good way. It’s something you can see building naturally (no insta-love, hooray!) and through non-romantic actions. They bond, they grow to trust one another and rely on each other and that eventually makes them closer than either of them probably thought possible. It isn’t all encompassing and it doesn’t become the focal point of the book which is fantastic.
The various “worlds” that are created here, both the underground and topside, are wonderfully done. Neither of them is some sort of paradise waiting to be basked in, they each have trials to face and obstacles to overcome. The strict regimen of the underground, specifically the enclave, is offset by the wildness of topside where no rules seem to be present at all. It’s hard to say which would be worse, one polar opposite or the other, but both are equally fleshed out to perfection. The fear you take from the underground is one of the system you believe in not being at all what it seems, and from topside what it would be like with no system at all, anarchy at it’s worst.
Enclave was the perfect blend of all these things and more. As far as Dystopia books go this easily jumped to the top of the list, my previous one if you remember was Divergent and I’d have to put Enclave head and shoulders above that one. I can’t wait to read Outpost and I’d recommend Enclave to anyone, fans of Dystopia and a good read in general. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 50!