Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book - Enclave by Ann Aguirre

In this futuristic, dystopian young adult novel, we meet Deuce. She lives in an underground compound called an enclave. In Deuce's world, life is all about survival. The dark tunnels and paths just beyond the compound are full of dangerous zombie-like creatures called "freaks" who feed on human flesh. And, life above ground, or topside, is even worse. Life expectancy is very short. From an early age you are trained to join one of the three groups of the enclave - the builders, the breeders, or the hunters. If you are lucky enough to make it to age 15, you are then given a name and assigned to your group.

Deuce has spent her entire life training to become a huntress. The hunters are the ones who venture out to find and bring back food for the group. Deuce is strong, tough, and eager to prove herself as a capable huntress. She is paired with veteran hunter, Fade. He is not an original member of the enclave and seems to have a rebellious, defiant streak within him.

As Deuce and Fade begin going out on their hunting missions, they stumble upon some information about the freaks. Once considered mindless and unthinking, the freaks are now showing increased mental abilities. They seem to be able to plan and strategize their attacks. When this news is brought back to the enclave elders, no one wants to pay heed to the information. Can Deuce and Fade convince the elders that extra precautions need to be taken to keep their enclave safe? And, when Deuce begins to see another side of Fade, a tender, caring side, she begins to question the real motives of the elders and the goings-on of the enclave.

My thoughts:
I am such a big fan of young adult dystopian and this book did not disappoint. From the first pages, I was completely drawn into Deuce's world. The vivid descriptions of her life underground and the dangerous world she lived in really made the story come to life. The way that people in the enclave are raised has made Deuce look at life in a matter-of-fact, hardened manner. It's only after getting to know Fade that Deuce begins to realize there might be a softer side of herself.

The action scenes took place right away, leaving me hanging on the edge of my seat. I felt tense and nervous as Deuce and Fade went out to hunt and face the freaks. And, I totally fell for Fade. He was described as a brooding loner, an outsider. But, as more and more of his story was revealed I realized what a wonderful partner he is to Deuce.

I loved every twist and turn of this story (so much that I couldn't put the book down and read it all in one day). It's a familiar theme but not predictable at all. The characters are interesting and diverse; some that I really loved and some that I really despised. I thought the ending played out well and I am already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series (which I believe is due out this fall).