Jun 16, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins? If not, you're really missing out. Those books have started a wave of Dystopian novels being released, that equal the greatness of The Hunger Games. Enclave is one of them. Are you wondering what Dystopian means? Basically the genre contains books that are written the apocolyptic / end of the world type style. Futuristic books that deal with absolute government control, or cities that have collapsed. Like, The Hunger Games.

Enclave is set in New York City, and it begins underground. There are several small cities that have taken residence in the subway tunnels and are struggling to survive. The main characters, Deuce and Fade, are residents of the College enclave and are Hunters. Their jobs are to travel beyond the barricades for food and are responsible for the safety and security of the people residing in the enclave. Because the environment is so hostile and unstable, people do not live for very long. The leader of Deuce and Fade's enclave is 25 and is considered ancient. On each member's 15th birthday, they are assigned a name (up until this point they were just a number) and an occupation. There are Hunters, of course, and Builders which spent their days making supplies for the people, and Breeders, which I'm sure you can guess their function.

Deuce is now 15, and she is partnered with Fade and they start their partnership off on a rocky start. They disobey direct orders and are punished by traveling to a nearby enclave that is rumored to be overrun by their enemy "Freaks". I couldn't tell you what Freaks actually are, because it wasn't really explained. I just imagined a disease ridden zombie, so we'll just go with that. Soon after they return to their trip, Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave in an attempt to defend an innocent friend who was wrongly accused.

With nowhere else to go, our two friends travel topside and the rest of the book is spent describing their adventures up there. They don't have it easy, and it's a long journey to a place where they think they can find safety, peace and belonging.

The world that the author has created is bleak and hopeless. We're not exactly sure what happened to make it this way, but families and friends are torn apart and everyone is afraid for their life. I'm not sure why I love books that are written this way. They're not very happy or uplifting. But, there is a great sense of triumph when you read about characters in the worst possible circumstances that somehow rise above. This book made me cry, laugh, and gather my daughter close and be grateful for the easy life I have.

I absolutely fell in love with Deuce and Fade. They portray such strength throughout the novel, and I've added them to my literary list of best friends. If you are looking for a great read, look no further! This will do ya' just fine. Warning: this is the first in a series, and the second one won't be released until sometime next year. So if you're one of those that like to wait until the whole series is out, don't say I didn't tell ya!

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