Monday, March 12, 2012

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Deuce has just ascended the ranks and reached her goal of becoming a Huntress, someone who gathers meat for the Enclave and protects the other citizens from the Freaks who prey on the unwitting who cross their paths. She lives in a society where everyone has their place in order to capitalize on the few decades that they are alive. Things become less straightforward when she and her enigmatic Hunter partner Fade discover that the Freaks are getting smarter and the Elders are misleading the people to keep their own power. Eventually she and Fade are banished Topside, and they must survive gangs, winter, and aggressively intelligent Freaks. All of a sudden Deuce must deal with a developing romantic relationship with Fade, the reliance of a helpless girl that they save from the gangs, and a distant hope that there will be a safety up north. If they can survive the trip.

I really loved this book. It was dark, gritty, and Deuce's evolution was remarkable. Ann Aguirre has created a well conceived universe, where the research behind the story is evident and yet never explicit. The different communities/cultures  have obvious rules that work well within the post-apocalyptic setting.

Here's the thing I enjoyed the most, Deuce's evolution from focused Huntress to someone who must make up her own rules and develop stronger ties to the people she meets. Her new perspective on what she is allowed to do, her own developing ideology, and her confusion on how she is to behave, is unbelievably engaging. I can't say how much I loved this character. She was so incredible; she was flawed and yet strong. Really amped up the heroine traits that I adored in Darkness Becomes Her. I mean honestly, this could not have been done better.

The secondary characters were equally well done, I loved Fade. He is mysterious and angsty without being obnoxious. The development of their relationship is so well-shaped and I loved how they are so cautiously sweet with one another. Then there's Tegan and Stalker, their back-stories are stark and gripping.

I am actually going to stop here. I could go on and on about how great this was, but I'd rather you just go and read it and see for yourself. Ann Aguirre did an incredible job. Loved it. I can't wait for the sequel Outpost to come out in September, though you can go and read the first two chapters here.

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