Enclave (Razorland #1) - Ann Aguirre
*April 12th, 2011 Feiwel & Friends
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.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre is a fast-paced, action-packed futuristic/science fiction read. With a plot that really moves and a haunting dystopian world, Enclave is an entertaining quick read that can be finished in a sitting or two.
For the most part, Enclave is fairy enjoyable, as far as entertainment derived from reading goes. The futuristic world that Aguirre lays out here is relatively similar to our own - enough so that it is relatable and credible. Heavy on the action and neutral on the cover, Enclave is the type of book that would have more appeal with the reluctant and/or male reader segments, especially considering its short length.
Enclave appears to be the first in a series (Razorland) - and it shows. The world-building progresses fairly nicely, the setting is put into place, and the backstory is explored - but as a standalone, there are a number of weaknesses. There seems to be a fair amount of expectation for [readers] to accept things as face value, lacking adequate explanation. Some of the plot points read like deus ex machina, a little too convenient. At times the writing seems almost as if there's a misconceived notion that the narrative needs to be watered down in order to cater to "younger adults".
In spite of all that, Enclave is still a fairly fun read. The world-building is well done and action is well placed (which is more than can be said for a lot of mammoth novels these days with lots of exposition and lack of action). It's also very refreshing to see a female leading lady who's well able to hold her own and kick some serious butt. Brave and bold, Huntress Deuce is far from being a damsel in distress.
All in all, with Enclave Aguirre has crafted an engaging read that will be quickly devoured by readers like Freaks devour raw flesh.