All her life Deuce has only wanted one thing: to become a revered Huntress within her underground community, the Enclave. Settlements like hers are the only existing communities left after the Topside world was destroyed and deemed uninhabitable years before. As a Huntress, Deuce has the responsibility of hunting food within the tunnels while fighting the lethal mutant Freaks who roam their depths. But Deuce's naming day becomes a bittersweet event when she realizes her hunting partner will be Fade, the perplexing young man who was brought to the Enclave after surviving on his own for years in the deadly tunnels.
Life within the Enclave is tightly controlled, with rules regarding almost every aspect of life. But Deuce has always believed that the Elder's strict regulations were essential for the continuing survival and protection of their small community. But once Deuce and Fade return to the Enclave with grim information about a local settlement destroyed by Freaks, a warning which is completely ignored by the Elders, does Deuce begin to question the complete devotion the Enclave seems to require.
With her trademark grittiness, Ann Aguirre has yet another winner on her hands, this time a young adult novel no less! Most dystopian novels are somewhat dark and bleak due to the nature of the genre itself but Enclave does not shy away from those harsh details whatsoever. From the very first few pages of Enclave, where Deuce is awarded her Huntress status in a ceremony that leaves her with six perfect (and painful) scars on her arms, I was immediately transported into her world where such extreme sacrifices were commonplace. Descriptions of her patrols with Fade were equally riveting (will they run into Freaks? will they find food? will they wind up forever lost in the tunnels?) - usually because I never knew what the enigmatic Fade would reveal or do next.
That isn't to say that Enclave is only a dark and harsh read. As Deuce and Fade come to rely more on each other and even eventually discover truths about the world as it really is, their relationship really takes off. As I've found in her Sirantha Jax series, Ann Aguirre is beyond talented at crafting complex, emotionally-wringing relationships and this one is no exception. There were some truly lovely scenes between the pair which only served to leave me, once again, waiting another whole year until the sequel, Outpost, will be released. Dang it.
Read the first two chapters here.
series reading order:
~ Outpost (Fall 2012)
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
All Things Urban Fantasy review
Between the Covers review
Presenting Lenore review
YA Highway review
book source: ARC from publisher