Book Reviews

Review: “Enclave,” Ann Aguirre

July 27, 2011
Review: “Enclave,” Ann AguirreEnclaveby Ann Aguirre
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Zombies
Pages: 259

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.

The plot of Enclave may be a bit all over the place, but a loveable cast of characters certainly makes up for it. I will be picking up the second novel in the series, Outpost, with hopes it follows in the footsteps of Enclaves wonderful second half.

As mentioned, the plot of Enclave is kind of all over the place. Without giving away any spoilers; the major setting is constantly shifting, new goals are constantly pursued and there is no ‘common goal’ throughout the whole book for the reader to latch on to. We don’t KNOW where Deuce and Fade are going to end up. We can’t see where they might conclude because they themselves don’t even know how many twists and turns are going to effect their finale. You start Enclave underground, but don’t be fooled into thinking that that setting is the be all and end all.

I certainly got a bit of whiplash from all the constant shifting within the book. Instead of flowing freely, Enclave instead feels a little compartmentalized. I find myself sorting the book out in tiny sections, depending on what was the ‘trouble of the moment’ and where Deuce and her friends ‘where’ in that point of the book. For that, I almost considered giving the book a 3-star rating only. It’s a little hard for me to think of Enclave as one complete book.

The first half of the book wasn’t as exciting as the last, in my opinion. The additions of Tegan and Stalker to the gang really upped the action and the group dynamic shifted. At once you felt ‘part’ of the group and as a reader, realised how much you’d come to adore the characters. That’s when Enclave really started to appeal to me. From then on, I was able to finish the book in one sitting.

There’s certainly a lot of action and a lot of fighting. Reading a few dystopians, I’ve come to see that most dystopian writers are a fan of having some sort of ‘monster’ as a result from the apocalypse. In Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands and Teeth series, it’s the ‘Unconsecrated’ or ‘Mudo’, in Enclave it’s the ‘Freaks’ or ‘Muties’. I can’t help but draw on images from the film 28 Days Later, and I wonder if there are any post-apocalyptic novels without these forms of creatures.

If you’re looking for a kick-ass leading lady, look no further than Deuce. For once I wasn’t at all frustrated by the heroine and this made a welcome change. Each character was very realistic; each with their own genuine voice and set of values, etc. No character was cliche or fit the bill of typical stereotypes. Very refreshing!

Without spoiling the ending, I have to say it was quite dull. Knowing that there were at least two more books to come, I was expecting some sort of cliffhanger or glimpse at what was to come, instead I was disappointed. I’m going into the next book, Outpost, with hopes that Ann Aguirre will continue on the fabulous second half of Enclave instead of re-laying foundations and starting at a snails pace.

Recommended to: Readers of dystopian fiction will most definitely love Enclave.

About Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults.

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