Thursday, September 21, 2017

Audiobook Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave (Razorland #1)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259
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New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight--guided by Fade's long-ago memories--in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world--facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.

In the Enclave, living to your teens is a feat in itself. Children aren't even given a name until they reach the age of 15. When Deuce finally has her naming ceremony, she finally gets her wish of becoming a Huntress. She will now be responsible for making sure the people of the Enclave get enough food to survive. She is paired with Fade for her hunting missions, and he is not like any other boy she has ever met. He was born topside, and she is fascinated by the fact that he was able to survive out in the wild. When Deuce and Fade make a discovery while hunting one day, they find themselves questioning the knowledge and authority of the elders who make the decisions for the Enclave. Now they are on their own, trying to survive in the tunnels and topside, and learning what else inhabits this earth with them.

The only thing I really knew about this book going into it was that there were zombies. Everyone always describes Enclave by mentioning the zombies. I don't really care about zombies, so it has taken me a while to finally pick this book up. Unfortunately, it wasn't one of my favorites. I enjoyed the beginning, but it went downhill and there were too many strange plot holes for me to really enjoy it.

At first, I found Enclave really interesting. Our world has been destroyed, and the humans of the future have retreated to a system of tunnels underground. I loved discovering how people had learned to adapt in these tunnels. It was also fascinating to watch Deuce and her friends learning about the past and being awed by the artifacts they found. Unfortunately, this did not last long, because the entire second half of the book was just a bunch of teens wandering around in the wilderness trying to survive, while nothing that exciting happened. The book never really had any climax or action-packed scenes, so the ending fell completely flat.

The plot holes were what really bothered me in the end, however. The synopsis of the book says that Deuce is 15, but it was never actually mentioned in the book. In a society where people rarely live to be 25, it seemed a little odd that they would wait until 15 to give children names and jobs. That means they spent more than half of their lives being nothing but a drain on the society's resources. If they were really in need of workers, you would think children would start earning their keep around 12 or 13. This may sound like I'm really nitpicking here, but this was just one of many aspects of the book that didn't make much sense.

While the idea of the entire human race trying to survive underground seemed really intriguing at first, it eventually felt like not much research had been done to make this world seem plausible. These people were basically surviving on rat meat without any access to fresh air and sunlight. When they did encounter sunlight, all they did was squint their eyes and complain of a small sunburn on their face. After spending their entire life underground, the sun would have done a lot more than cause some mild discomfort.

One more tiny annoying point about this book...There are no zombies! The Freaks (what everyone refers to as zombies) are basically just cannibals that live in the tunnels. They will hunt and kill humans for food. But they are not undead, and their bite will not make someone a Freak. They are just trying to survive. So stop saying this book is about zombies, people!

Ultimately, there were too many problems in Enclave for me to really enjoy it. There was barely any romance to speak of, and the little bit there was seemed weird and didn't make much sense. The world seemed interesting, but the plot eventually became boring and lackluster. There was no climax to keep readers interested, and no cliffhanger to keep them anticipating the sequel. This book called for way too much suspension of disbelief and felt as though it was thrown together without any forethought. Unfortunately, while I was interested at first, I don't think I will be spending my time reading the rest of this series.

PS - Call me immature, but I could not stop thinking about poop every time Deuce's name was mentioned in this book. Seriously, though, some of the names were just ridiculous.