Sunday, 6 January 2013

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

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.
The problem with writing a book in a genre that is incredibly popular with readers and authors is how to make it different from all the other books out there?  Dystopian has been done over and over again, it is still a genre I love but it is getting harder to find something original and fresh.  That is what really hindered this book; there was nothing about it that made it stand out from the crowd.  

The story line is ok but how many times have you read a book about a corrupt government set in a post-apocalyptic future, how many times have you seen communities living underground or zombie like creature making life difficult? I have read it all too many times now.  Despite this I did enjoy the first half of Enclave, Aguirre’s world building is good and I found life in the tunnels interesting.  When the story departed the tunnels I lost interest.  It all got a little bizarre and a bit boring; there were also moments that I found uncomfortable, which I will get to in a second.

The characters didn’t really help matters.  I found Deuce annoying at times, she had no emotional depth at all.  I liked Fade but he didn’t have enough personality for me to really care about him.  The romance between them seemed to come out of nowhere and lacked chemistry. 

So, on to the uncomfortable bit, I fully understand that rape and forced impregnation is a horrific yet probably realistic vision of what a post-apocalyptic world might look like.  I expect things like this to be bought up in dystopian novels.  In this book there are groups that gang rape girls and woman and treat them appallingly, I do not have a problem with this, as I said it is a realistic portrait of a dystopian future.  The author decided to make the leader of this gang redeemable, now, it doesn’t sit all that well with me but I don’t have an issue with that either.  He was bought up and taught to believe that this treatment of woman was not only acceptable but necessary.  There is no education, no ‘mother figures’ in this world to teach him right from wrong.  One big issue was that this character did nothing to redeem himself at all, he was as nasty at the end as he was in the begining.

What I HAVE a problem with is that this character is portrayed as a viable love interest for Deuce.  I cannot fathom how that is acceptable especially in YA fiction.  I was appalled by Deuce’s lack of concern that the guy who was not only raping other girls but at one point was planning to rape her then hand her over to the other men in his gang was romancing her, it didn’t bother her at all and when he got her alone and made a move she didn’t prevent it.  As if this is not bad enough they are traveling with a girl who was repetitively raped by this gang, and bore 3 children by them and she is brushed off as weak.  And rape guy is all like ‘she is no good for anything else’ and everyone else is like ‘ok if you say so’, I just don’t get it and it honestly made me really angry. 

I will read the next book in the series, I have heard it is better than this and although it looks like it is heading that way it is not a love triangle just yet.  If it goes that way I will be out but for now I am prepared to give this series another go.

2 stars

 Published April 12th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips


  1. OK, I was planning to read this one for a while because I won a copy of it and Outpost. However, the fact that she's dating the guy who was planning to rape her is just so not right! That is so unimaginable, considering that rape is so disgusting. Now, I can't look at this book without groaning.

    Lovely review by the way! :D

    -Angie @YA Novelties

    1. She is not dating him but he is a potential love interest. It made me a little uncomfortable.

  2. It makes more sense in the next book. You have to remember, she doesn't understand human relationships AT ALL. They had no such thing in the Clave where she lived. It was all about survival. And she bought into the whole thing until she met Fade. It doesn't become a triangle like you are thinking. She is just completely clueless, and doesn't understand what it means to kiss someone. I don't believe anything happens in Outpost (physically) between Duece and Stalker, in fact he kind of fades away after the first couple of chapters, but makes a resurgance when the action starts up late in the book.

    I do agree that I do not like Stalker at all! I understand how "he just didn't know better", its all about survival for him too. He does redeem himself some in Outpost, but its easy to see his attitudes will probably never change.

    1. I do understand that in the context of the book Deuce has no real idea of human relationships. What bugged me was that young girls could pick up this book and that the messages (especially when the girl was repedatively raped and constantly insinuated to be weak, therefore deserving of that treatment) are unhealthy for the target audience.

      I know I come across as moany but I cannot handle a blaise attitude towards rape, especially with all the recent political and legal arguments that belittle it with such ease.

      I am glad to hear that Stalker and the possible romance is not such a big deal in the second book, I will be checking it out : )

  3. I'm sorry you didn't really enjoy this book because of certain situations. Personally I loved this book! It took me a while to get used to the writing style but once I did I became addicted to this series. Although when I read this book it was the first book I had ever read like this (Meaning about 'zombies' etc).

    I agree that I don't like Stalker at all because of the rape situation. Although I do understand it. Still it does annoy me that he becomes a main character, especially that he becomes apart of a love triangle thing that I think should just not happen at all. The second book Outpost is pretty exciting in my opinion. Stalker is in it but also does kind of disappears into the background for a while.

    I hope you enjoy Ouypost more! But do try and get to the end of Outpost because the ending is just a 'WTF' moment. My jaw dropped. I'm excited to read the last book in the series!

    Miss J @ Miss Book Reviews


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