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Monday, December 9, 2013

"Enclave: Razorland #1" by Ann Aguirre (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Ann Aguirre's Official Website HERE 

OVERVIEW: 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 Deuce 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.

FORMAT: Enclave is the first book of a YA trilogy. It is a combination of post-apocalyptic, horror, dystopia, zombies, action, and a small dash of romance. It should be warned this book ends with a cliff hanger.

Enclave stands at 259 pages and was published by Feiwel & Friends on April 11, 2011.

ANALYSIS: I admit it. I have a weakness for any book that says 'Just like Hunger Games' on the cover. Put those four words anywhere on a book – cover, flap, synopsis – and I'll pick it up. That was how I came upon Enclave.

I have to say right off the bat – Enclave is not like Hunger Games. There are children involved and a futuristic world in which everything has changed, but the similarities end there. So, if you are looking for the next Hunger Games, this is not it.

Putting aside that Enclave is nothing like Hunger Games, I was able to read this book in a relatively short period of time. Enclave stands at approximately 250 pages and is a fairly quick read. If you are looking for a short read that involves extremely dark elements, zombies, post-apocalyptic elements, and strange underground tribes, this is the book for you.

Given its length, it was a fairly good read. There is a lot of action and exploring, and more action. The characters aren't overly detailed. I think this is mainly because the book focuses on action and creating this dark, dangerous world, and less on creating detailed characters.  

Unfortunately, there are a few elements of Enclave that I feel took away from the book and prevented it from being the novel it could have been. First, one of the characters in the book – Teagan – has an extremely tough life living 'Topside'. She was essentially kidnapped and repeatedly gang raped by a group of wild, savage individuals.

The rape is never described, but it is implied. Now, I have read books that have addressed this issue and have not had an issue with it. Unfortunately, Enclave was not one of those books.

The main character in Enclave – Deuce – is confused as to why Teagan allowed herself to be raped and lacks any type of sympathy for her at all. Later on in the book, Deuce encourages Teagan to just 'get over it' for the better of the group – which the group includes one of the men who encouraged and allowed the gang rape to go on.

This element of the book was such a small part of the novel, but I feel it really soured the book. I understand the world created in Enclave is dark and dangerous, but the rather savage way the rape victim was treated really took away from what could have been a good novel.

Despite my issue with this small element, I was able to finish the novel. Overall, I would say the book was 
alright. It is extremely dark and almost savage like, so if you are looking for a fluffy, feel good story; this is not it. However, I think it offers a great alternative to some of the other run of the mill YA books that are being printed lately.

My overall opinion is to try this book out, if you have any interest in it. After reading it, I have since read reviews and if I had read the reviews, I would have avoided the book completely. I don't think it is terrible, but I don't think it is wonderful either. It is certainly a book that people will have to form their own opinions on.


Ezisen said...

Personally, I loved the Razorland books. Yeah, it's a really dark and savage world, but in my opinion not understanding the rape was making a character real. She shouldn't have understood that. She lived in a world where she fought if she didn't want something to happen to her.

I think in that world it was like in our world not understanding if someone doesn't like chocolate. It's not normal, we don't know people who act like that. And throughout the trilogy her character changes, matures.

Maybe the first book is not the best of the trilogy, but the three of them together are really good.

Cindy said...

I understand how it was used in character development. I think it would have been out of chacter for her to be all 'oh my gosh how terrible'.

However, I also see how the rather blunt, what appears to be non-caring attitude of the character makes it appear to some readers that the author was insensitive.

Personally, based off of the reviews that I read afterwards - you would have thought the rape section had a huge part in the book. When in fact, it was glossed over and was a small section of a much larger portion of the book.

For me personally, the book was 'okay', as I stated. It wasn't wow-ing to me, and it wasn't something I thought was pure junk. I plan on reading the other two books, just not right away (not sure how much of the 'dark' books I could take in a row).


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