Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave was just what I needed to really kick of my summer reading. It is an intriguing story and a great read. I honestly had a little trouble putting it down.

Enclave follows Deuce, a young girl living in the College Enclave, a society living beneath the streets of New York after our society has come to an end. Everyone in this encampment becomes either a Breeder, a Builder, or a Hunter. Breeders are the only citizens who produce children, or Brats, and Builders produce everything the Enclaves needs, from medicine to weapons. Hunters go out into the tunnels surrounding their settlement, catching food and killing Freaks, humanoid zombie-esque creatures that eat whatever meat they can get their claws into.

When Deuce becomes a Huntress like she’s always wanted she is assigned a partner, Fade, a quiet stand-offish guy who showed up in College from within the tunnels when he was a child. No one knows where he really came from or how he survived in the tunnels, and despite his skill as a hunter he is not completely accepted or trusted. As Deuce gets to know Fade, she begins to see fault in her society, and when it comes to choosing the life of one of her friends or her place in society she and Fade are thrust out into the tunnels, exiled from the Enclave. And they head for Topside…

This was a really great book. The characters were interesting, and Deuce’s mindset is just different enough from that of a normal teenage girl to be really compelling. Fade is dark and alluring, sexy almost without meaning to be, and the mystery about him kept me reading.

The story takes place over several settings with many characters. It actually kind of amazing when I look at the book, totaling less than 300 pages, and realize that all that story fit in there. Aguirre drew from articles about apocalypse, the occurrences in New Orleans after Katrina, a History Channel special called Life after People, and the book The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth.

Apocalypse stories aren’t that rare these days, but Aguirre’s ability to show how people ended up, not just in one place or one way, but in many places many different ways, made this book unique.

I now have a major book hangover, and an overpowering urge to jump in my car, drive to the bookstore, get book two Outpost, and read it there, right there. No time to drive home.

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