28 February, 2011

Advance Review: Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

Published: April 2011, FEIWEL AND FRIENDS

Outpost (Razorland #2) (Published: 2012, FEIWEL AND FRIENDS)
Source: Publisher via Good Golly Miss Holly Book Tours, no compensation for an honest review

From Good Reads:
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 she 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 to using his knives with feral grace. As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival...

My Review:
I'm not sure that I can point out why ENCLAVE resonated so much with me, but I'm going to give it a good try. Because this book wowed me from the very first page, to the very last, and it left me anxiously awaiting the next installment, which won't be out for more than a year. *Weeps for a moment, at that realization*.

Anyway, the book introduces the heroine, Deuce, to the reader at her naming ceremony. If you didn't already know that this book was going to be a dystopian, here's the first big clue. In a somewhat barbaric ritual, Deuce is indoctrinated into her society, taking the scars of a Huntress. This is a job that she wants, though it seems much more dangerous than any other that is "allowed" by the ruling members of her enclave.

Deuce is an amazingly strong character, not in stature, but in spirit. I actually kind of pictured her as a somewhat small, wiry girl that would probably be mistaken for a teen or early 20-something well into her thirties, if she had the opportunity to live that long. Alas, her world is one that doesn't even name their children until the teens, because a high percentage of "brats" don't make it to adolescence.

Though Deuce and her partner, Fade, who has to follow her into exile, do encounter their share of danger, the novel is fairly sparse in high action. It moves along at an average pace, certainly not quite as quickly as I've come to expect from many YA novels, but the story is solid, very solid. It also comes with its fair share of excellent writing.

Ann Aguirre entranced and entrenched me so well into her plot that I read it in one go in the very late night hours, when I should have perhaps, been getting some well-needed sleep. And, when I emerged from the pages at the end, it left me kind of dizzy and disoriented. ENCLAVE is the first book of 2011, where I wasn't sure what to do when it ended. I wanted to go back immediately for a re-read, just to make sure that I had really gotten the whole story. This is one of those books that I will have to have for my bookshelves, and for myself.

4.5/5 for plot
5/5 for characters
4.5/5 for language

My Rating: 14/15 (5 stars)

Must Read, if you liked:

The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
Feed by Mira Grant
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Links for the author and books:
* Website
* Twitter
* GoodReads
* Facebook

Purchase at:
* Barnes and Noble
* Book Depository
* Amazon

Available formats: Print (Hardcover)

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