ENCLAVE (RAZORLAND #1)
by Ann Aguirre
Kindle Edition purchased from Amazon
New York City residents, decimated by war and plague, live underground in Enclaves, barely past age 20. Deuce 15, trained as Huntress, pairs with odd Fade, who was boy Topside. Elders ignore warning, exile both. Monster Freaks, more organized, killed nearest Enclave. Guided by old memories, in gang-infested ruins, pair face apocalyptic world with new dangers and feelings. – GOODREADS
I was drawn to this book, because it sounded like a promising plot. I was keen to get my teeth into a new YA series that had some grit. The Enclave is a horrible place where people have lived for longer than the memory of those who are there. Customs are ingrained into their being, learned from one generation by the next. It’s a tough life in a world of darkness that is deep underground after the downfall of society. Life expectancy is very limited. Breaking twenty is a feat, and anyone who reaches twenty-five is considered an elder. Society is composed of Breeders, Hunters and Brats. Each tribe member has their place. Dark tunnels beyond the settlement are full of stinking hungry Freaks who have a hunger for meat that will never be met. They sound absolutely horrible, I’m glad they’re not real. The motto of life in the Enclave is ‘Only the toughest survive’.
The story is about a Brat (what we call a kid), who reaches her naming ceremony and becomes a Hunter. She is named, Deuce, and we follow her battles to live up to her dreams. To become a trusted Hunter and provide the food and protection for the tribe. She is paired up with a partner named, Fade, who is also trying to prove his worth, given that he was born somewhere else and taken into the tribe because of his strength. In order to survive, the Enclave elders have set rules in place. They aren’t always fair, they aren’t always logical, and they aren’t always tasteful. The rules are black and white. You either follow them, or you break them. And if you break them, the punishment can be extreme.
Needless to say, some rules are broken, and Deuce and Fade are exiled from the Enclave. We follow the trials of this unlikely duo as they fight against the deadly threats that live underground, and watch as their trust and friendship grows. Deuce is caring and considerate, it’s no wonder that she dreamed of being a Hunter, to care and provide for others. Their journey leads them back to the surface, where they find that there actually are other survivors, themselves caught up in their own nightmarish society that has also evolved in isolation.
The big message I got from this book was that humans grow into what they see. It shows how we can grow and believe things based solely on what we learn, whether it’s right or wrong. If elders tell us something is blue, we believe and it becomes fact. If they tell us that no one else survived the end of the world, we believe and it becomes fact. Like, Deuce not knowing what a shop was, but upon seeing one, learning that it is a good idea. Or, when Twist secretly helped them with food and water when they were exiled, and Fade wondering why he would do such a thing. Fade’s life had never experienced one person helping another, it was always just ‘the strong survive’, so it seemed like such a strange thing for someone to do.
Along the way Deuce and Fade are joined by two from topside. Stalker and Tegan are characters at extreme ends of their own tragic society. Stalker, the brutal leader, and, Tegan, the worthless weakling. Necessity brings the four together and they embark on a journey to a legendary safe place in the north, borne from distant memories of Fade’s childhood.
Finally, they reach a place called Salvation, and I was gearing up for some answers and perhaps a climactic event with the Freaks. My Kindle book showed a little over 60%, so I read with an air of anticipation. Tegan was at the doctor, I was concerned for her wellbeing, given her injuries. The others sought refuge, I wanted to see them safe and planning their next move. I turned the page and then the blood drained from my face. The book finished. There was no more story to read. The end hit me in the face, it was completely unexpected. Bummer. I know that it is a series, but I have to say I was a tad surprised with its end.
This book is great at showing that society is built on what one generation passes on to the next. It clearly shows the paths taken by different isolated groups can make them so different, but yet so similar. It’s a good read, but be warned about the sudden ending. It’s an incentive to move onto the next book in the series.
Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.
Want to know more?
Click below to check out more information about
Ann Aguirre and her books.
Any ads that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.