Book Review: Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

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 to 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.

Release Date:  April 12, 2011
Publisher:  Feiwel and Friends
Pages:  259
Age Group:  Young Adult
Source:  Review copy from publisher 

I really enjoyed this dystopia.  The book reminded me of Scott Westerfeld's Peeps, in two ways.  First, many of the characters in both books live underground in the subway tunnels.  Second, there are cannibalistic, mindless creatures preying on humans, with special task forces dedicated to protecting the populace.

I found Peeps to be good but not great.  On the other hand, I thought Enclave was great.  The world building was exceptional.  First in a series novels can drag during the world building phase, but Ann Aguirre strikes the perfect balance between world building and action.

A common pitfall of dystopian novels, in my opinion, is that they can be short on emotion.  That is not the case with Enclave.  I felt like I really got to know Deuce and experienced the emotional ups and downs of the book right along with her.  I also liked that there was some romance to this book.  Many dystopias are all action, all the time so I liked the inclusion of the love story.

The plot was full of twists and turns.  Aguirre took the book in a direction I wasn't expecting, which I love.  The book felt dark to me, which is to be expected with an apocalyptic dystopia.  Just when I felt like I couldn't take the darkness any more, there would be a thread of hope and lightness.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series---Outpost---due out in 2012!

Just One Gripe: 
The book overall is dark.  This is definitely not a light and fluffy read.  It's thrilling and emotional---prepare to ride a wave emotion right along with the characters.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The plot is intense and left me guessing the entire time.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
It's about the same level as The Hunger Games.  There is definitely some violence.

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  22/25


  1. I just ordered this one! I can't wait for it to get here, I've heard nothing but awesome things about it!

  2. I loved this book and Fade :0)I borrowed the book from a friend and this is the one book I would have kept for myself.

    I bought my own copy.

  3. I've really been wanting to read this one! I really like the action-y dystopians, and this sounds like one! :)

  4. Great review Kelli. I'm glad to know there is a lot of emotion that drives the story! I'm getting this one soon. Can't wait.

  5. NEED this book. Thanks for the insight. :)

  6. I agree with many points in your review. Enclave was an amazing apocalyptic dystopian read. It ended perfectly (no cliffhanger but set up perfectly for the next book).


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