Monday, September 10, 2012

Enclave - a review

Ann Aguirre
272 pages

I want to start my review of Enclave by talking about zombies. Or what classifies as a zombie. Or better yet: what is the zombie motive. Clearly, the zombie motive is to eat people. But these aren't normal zombies. These zombies can reason to some extent. They can form small groups and go after people.

These are also Ann Aguirre zombies. Some might not be aware of Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series--a great space-y scifi epic for adults. From those books I have learned not to trust Ann Aguirre. So what exactly are Ann Aguirre zombies? They're smelly. They're claw-y. They're known as Freaks to the characters. They're mindless wandering and endless hunger are what set the tone for Enclave.*

Deuce is our main character. A huntress from an underground clan known as an enclave. She's never been topside (above ground). Certain things (like sex, good food) are banned for her. She's a fierce warrior girl. I end my description of the plot there. Spoilers and all that funky stuff.

There are certain moments during Enclave that I thought to myself "Is this a fucking kids book, really?" It's like watching an old episode of a TV show. One that you watched as a kid and are now seeing as an adult. Except then you realize there are a lot of adult themes on that show that you never picked up on. If I were twelve and reading this? I'd be "OMG ZOMBIES". Instead, I'm an adult, and I'm thinking "Wow. That's some serious shit right there."

How I felt while reading Enclave.
Ann Aguirre manages to plop her characters where they don't need to be. She's extremely harsh to her characters. She abuses them. She tussles them about. She'll kill them and starve them. She is not your typical YA author. She was far kinder in the Sirantha Jax series. This is saying a lot, because those books are for adults.

How bad is it? It's bad. The zombies at least have a reason for the way they are, the human characters? They're actually worse. From the worst kind of complacency to murder to hinted at atrocities to almost useless hope. That's the Ann Aguirre formula for this one.**

Enclave stands out in the same way that Blood Red Road did. It's refreshing in the same way. It's meaty and dark, bloody and bold, killer and... you get the point. Just don't wander into this one expecting fluffy bunnies and rainbows. It ain't gonna happen.

*The characters also mindlessly wander around with an appetite all their own. I see what you did there, Ann.
**Really, this book is a middle finger to The Hunger Games. Please remove The Hunger Game comparison from the cover.
Note: Wander/wonder still trips me up.
Extra Note: I'm still in love with Sirantha Jax.


  1. I always think Hunger Games comparisons are unfair and wrong on any book besides The Hunger Games.

    I liked this book a lot. I wasn't sure if you would or not but I'm glad you did. What did you think of Fade?

    1. I can agree with that.

      I did not like Fade. But then again when have I ever liked the male lead in one of these? To be honest, I want there to be a male lead and a female lead off in the world trying to survive and not falling in love. That would be original.

    2. I didn't really expect you to like Fade. I was just so interested in the marketing of his character right from the beginning with the word mysterious used on the book jacket before we have a chance to judge that for ourselves. We've talked a little about the formula and the female writer and the mysterious guy before. But I didn't think him that mysterious. Just, nobody asked him questions because they were a little weirded out by him. Maybe that makes no sense.

      Had we never talked about this before I wouldn't have given a second thought to it.

    3. I don't have any problems with Fade. He works with the book he's in. I have a problem with truly mysterious characters being worked into books where they have no reason to be mysterious.

  2. I've read a few reviews on this and they haven't really hinted at the level of darkness that you are implying. But I'm interested in books that can be read on a variety of levels. And I enjoyed Blood Red Road. Though I'm still thinking that I'm going to wait until this series is complete to start it. Partially it's because of the very superficial reason of not wanting to deal with a love triangle within all the madness. Also I'm reading Chaos Walking now which is pretty intense and about to get even crazier in book two. There are only so many characters in the middle of terrible situations that I can handle at one time.

    1. I wouldn't say it's super dark, but yes, it's darker than a few others in this genre.

      I have not finished the last book of Chaos Walking. I keep meaning to but it's 600 pages and I feel like I should've read it over summer.

      Of that I agree. This is why I'm starting to enjoy contemporary more and more. Less trilogies and less trouble.

    2. You, me and Asheley should do a book 3 read along! Though that might be difficult to coordinate. She and I are reading book 2 soon. I'm starting to get panicky about Todd's current predicament. And how is Viola???? Eek! But I'm also working on figuring out how to balance reading with blogging. Since it takes me hours per review.

      I am very specific about interspersing contemporaries into series books for this very reason. I like that statement: "Less trilogies and less trouble." I think you should copyright it.

    3. Adam - I keep wondering when you're gonna read that book! I just think you're really attached and you're a little nervous, and that's okay. Also if you're reading on the Kindle, quit worrying about page numbers!

      Lauren - Is it weird that your panic and stress about Todd and Viola makes me a little happy? If it is, forget I said it.

    4. I keep putting off reading book three. I have no idea why. Maybe because it's 600 pages? I am reading it on Kindle, but it's still 600 pages.

      Hey I've been stressing about Todd and Viola for months now. And I still keep putting it off. I pick it up and read the first page and then sit it back down. I have no idea why.

      I will copy right that. Starting... now.


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