Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

EnclaveSource: Won from MacKids
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: Razorland #1
Edition: Paperback, 259 pages
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic Sci-fi
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases


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.

It took forever for me to finally get around to reading this one but I’m glad I finally got to it. Enclave is a delightful tale of post-apocalyptic survival that puts a magnifying glass on the human condition.

I really love the world that Aguirre created. It’s a mere shell of what we know, with flesh eating monsters that hid in the dark and people who live in a much simpler and primitive way. I loved the way the groups of humans learned to live underground where there are fewer sources of food and danger lurking everywhere. It was kind of tough to swallow the way the divided people into groups, but it really worked and it made complete sense for there to be Breeders, Hunters and Builders. Three groups that made the foundation of their society. At the same time it’s really easy to see the flaws that most of the people can’t see, like the lack of knowledge and the lack of true happiness. We don’t get too see a lot of topside society in this book, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how well Deuce deals with the difference.

Deuce is a seriously tough girl to begin with and she starts off kind of mechanical, doing what needs to be done and feeling uncomfortable with any ideas that go against what she’s come to know. However she is kind of forced to open her eyes and because of that she grows as a person, she starts becoming more of a human. She grows into a girl who isn’t as confident as she normally is but she gains real emotions and real feelings, she develops empathy and learns when disagree with authority. Part of the reason her eyes are opened is because of Fade, the mysterious ‘outsider’ that lived in her colony and became her hunting partner. He’s always been different than the other people in her colony because he didn’t grow up with them and because of that he sets himself apart. He’s a fierce fighter but as the book continues forward we get to see that he has far more humanity than most people Deuce knows. He challenges her to become stronger while at the same time making her break down the walls and feel what’s happening around her. It’s a really interesting juxtaposition for his character that I think really works.  We get to meet some really interesting people along the way like Striker, who is a really rough character that I ended really hating. He made my skin crawl to be honest, but I like the way his character started to develop despite the short period we get to know him. I look forward to seeing how he turns out in book two.

Overall I really love Aguirre’s writing and the world that she’s created, along with the really strong characters that she’s created. I’ve seen some people say it has a love triangle but I really didn’t see it that way, so if you’ve been hesitant because of that I wouldn’t put too much stock in it. Deuce barely understands love, it’s kind of ridiculous to think she could juggle two guys. At any rate I’m really looking forward to reading Outpost!

4 stars

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8 Responses to Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

  1. I think I want to read this series now. I’ve seen this one at my library but didn’t pick it up. Deuce sounds like she goes through some big changes. I like that. Great review.

  2. Awesome review Michelle, this series is on my wishlist, and I simply cannot make it sound so exciting.

  3. The writing and this world sounds great.

  4. Christy says:

    #@%& – I still haven’t read this, and I’ve had it for … years. That’s just pathetic. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Octavia says:

    Ugh! I NEED to read this book! Luckily I just added the entire series to my 2014 series challenge so it WILL happen. 😀

  6. Sounds like a wonderful book, but possibly too dark/creepy for me. I want to read Aguirre, but I think I’ll start with something a little less post-apocalyptic. 🙂

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