Enclave - Ann Aguirre
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
Imagine how the world would be in the aftermath of the apocalypse. Then, imagine that the people have gone mad, basically become shells of humans and evolved into well...zombies. Then, imagine there are survivors, who live beneath it all, in tunnels and underground railroads in hopes of surviving another day.
That's what this book is about.
But it isn't your typical zombie-apocalypse novel. The elements alone in Enclave allow the novel to stand out, in a genre that's becoming more and more researched and written about in this day-and-age.
You have an underground society that is basically divided up into three units: Breeders, Builders and Hunters. Breeders are exactly that--the chosen humans used for breeding only, so that the next generations may carry out traits that dominate in the selected pairs. The Builders are in control of building things, so, of course, Hunters are the protectors. The guardians who protect everyone else from the Freaks--zombies--who will stop at nothing to devour you.
Then you have the elders, the ones who are over twenty (I know, nice life-span) who are so set in their own rules, that they refuse to believe that something else is going on outside their protective walls: they won't accept that the zombies are evolving into smarter predators. And that could mean death. Or, hey, maybe you'll be one of the people chosen as an 'example', exiled, and basically thrown out on your ass without even a, "hope you survive the apocalypse!".
I don't know how to correctly praise this book, other than to say it's one of my favorites. I liked the heroine, probably because she's tough, but sympathetic, and while she follows rules, she doesn't conform to her own society's standards. Deuce is an amazing protagonist, and I can't wait to read more about her. She's tough and knows how to use a knife. Every heroine should know how to kill a zombie in under three moves in my book!
Then you have her partner, Fade. He's pretty cool, too, and I liked him as a character. He's not like Deuce, because he doesn't "originate" from the tunnels underground. He's from above--above the tunnels, where he lived with his father until he died and was forced to seek shelter in the tunnels.
Towards the end, we're introduced to two other characters that are pretty interesting. Though I disliked them both, for some reason. They kind of spoil the "two people against the world" bit that I love.
Anyways, I knew that the author writes well thanks to her awesome adult series, but the writing in the novel still shines. I really like how down to the point the author is, how she focuses on the actual concept of the book, and stays on track.
Loved it, can't wait for the others! Anyone who loves zombies and end-of-the-world novels should pick this one up! 5/5 stars.