Paperback - 272 pages
ISBN 10: 0312650086
Released: April 12, 2011
Buy it via Amazon
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopian
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.
This book has received the Faerie of Honor Rating (what is this?)
I read this book in one sitting and was willing to stay up until 4AM (or later) to finish it. For the first time in YEARS, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack while reading a book. The words "this book is awesome-sauce" do not nearly give ENCLAVE enough justice; it was: "blow your mind holy freaking crap" SPECTACULAR, and that is coming from the girl who usually bashes, nitpicks, and DNFs most YAs.
Before I begin, I would like to give you all this warning: avoid reviews with any spoilers. This is one book that will get your heart pumping and, if you're anything like me, will get you 100% emotionally invested. I'm not joking when I said my heart was pounding the closer I got to the end of this story.
After waking up this morning (Jan 16th 2011), I logged onto Twitter and noticed some bloggers had begun discussing ENCLAVE. The second I saw this book's title on Twitter, a huge grin plastered itself to my face and I started giggling and squealing. Now this might not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you that, after reading 140+ books back in 2010, it takes a lot for me to recall character names. Most of the time, I'll even forget what the heroine's name is after going to bed. Not the case here. Even after sleeping, I still felt the same level of excitement and happiness upon reflection. (See? I'm not so jaded after all)
ENCLAVE is the story about Deuce, our heroine, who grew up underground. We follow her after she finally earns her name, becomes a Huntress, and meets Fade, the hero. Basically society is separated into different "clans" that contain Hunters (who protect, who hunt, and who kill Freaks), the Breeders (who, like their name suggests, breed brats), and the Builders (self explanatory). Nobody lives for very long in this society. For instance, their leader is in his 20's, and they consider him old enough.
The Freaks are like zombies. They've always been there, and they're the scavengers/gluttons of the underground world. They attack everything and anything that moves, and will eat each other if one dies. I actually felt terrified whenever Deuce/Fade went out and encountered these creatures, and I never feel terrified while reading a book.
Ever since Deuce could remember, the Freaks were mindless, blathering idiots that feared each enclave... but recently, they've been venturing closer and closer to the barracks. And I'm stopping there, because like I said, this is one story you need to read it without knowing anything.
The main characters will squirm their way into your heart without you realizing it, and by then it's too late--you'll be in love with them all. Sometimes, they will also earn your ire, and perhaps will even make you growl or scream out loud. Regardless of how you feel, kudos to Ann for making each and every character three-dimensional and appealing in his or her own unique way.
The romance in this story was also masterfully done. I wish I had Ann's skills at not only writing, but also weaving romance in so effortlessly. If you are looking for a love story first and foremost, you will not find it here. The adventure comes first and romance second, which, I think truly makes this novel that much more convincing. And, while I hate to say this (because I am a Deuce/Fade supporter all the way), I loved the way Ann kept everything open-ended by the novel's conclusion.
I actually have nothing to complain about in this book. The characters were solid, the world was intriguing, the romance had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and the descriptions were beautifully done. I think the only thing I was unhappy about was the book's ending. There was no cliffhanger, and it actually ended in a great spot, but because I was so invested, I never wanted the story to end! I groaned out loud, PRAYING that there would be a second book.
Unfortunately, OUTPOST (book #2 in this series) does not come out until Fall of 2012 (I kind of died inside when I first saw that on Ann's website). It's a long wait--especially after reading ENCLAVE a few months before its release, but I think it'll be worth it. I know I will be rereading ENCLAVE later in the year. Add OUTPOST to your "to read" list folks, because you're going to be salivating for the next book in this series.
ENCLAVE is a strong YA debut Ann should be proud of. This is a book I am gladly adding to my all-time favorites list, and it's one I've already begun suggesting to all searching for an engaging read. I think anyone craving for a dystopian--whether you're a regular reader, you've written dystopians off, or are just starting out with the genre--should read ENCLAVE. I highly suggest pre-ordering the hardcover copy of this book ASAP; it will be money (and time) well spent.