Review copy purchased
Published by 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.
Oh, my gosh! Sooo good! I’m a big fan of Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon series (adult urban fantasy) and so I was looking forward to seeing what she did with YA. And, ooh boy, did she write some awesome!
Deuce is a great character. She’s very focused, knows what she wants (to be a Huntress and feed/protect her home and family) and works extremely hard to get there. She’s so proud when she makes it, with the six scars on her forearm to prove her status. But she’s also willing to stand up for what she believes is right. Unfortunately, some of those ideals are quite different from what the elders believe and because of her actions, she and her partner, Fade, are exiled Topside. There’s interesting chemistry between her and Fade, though she isn’t really sure what to do with it, since that kind of stuff is left for the Breeders. Touching isn’t encouraged in her society. Once exiled, she no longer has to follow her society’s rules but then they’re more concerned about survival than love.
The first part of this book takes place underground in a harsh society where kids die young and the “elders” might make it to twenty-five. Knowledge is scarce, disease is rampant, and you follow the rules or you’re exiled, a death sentence in most cases. There’s something about the dark that’s frightening enough but add in almost-human monsters known as Freaks with claw-like nails and a thirst for flesh of any kind, and I’m sleeping with a nightlight and my dogs close for protection.
What I really liked about this story, aside from the characters, story, and overall creepiness (that’s pretty much everything, isn’t it?), was that I could actually picture this happening. This second holocaust, brought on by a rampant disease, decimates society, scattering those who survive. Some remained human and regrouped. Some turned into Freaks, twisted by disease, and went feral.
Placing the reader squarely in the action, in the dark, and fighting for her life against the Freaks, ENCLAVE is another 2011 Favorite. I’m really looking forward to book two, which is due out next year. (Ah–A whole year to wait! Darn.)
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