Yes, the dystopian kick is still alive and well. However, that may die down after reading ENCLAVE. The premise seemed promising: Deuce, a newbie huntress, lives in an underground enclave in a post-apocalyptical world. Their community is bound to a rigid hierarchy: Builders make things, Breeders make and care for babies, and Hunters and Huntresses find food and dodge Freaks – cannibal zombie-like creatures. All Deuce knows about “before” is what she and her fellow enclave members manage to scrounge up during hunts. When Deuce gets paired with fellow hunter Fade, she is not happy considering that, despite his skills, he is an outsider and looked down upon by the other enclave members. When Deuce and Fade are banished to the Topside for false charges, Deuce must rely on Fade to survive. In the process, their romance slowly blooms.
Two things that I particularly enjoyed was Aguirre’s description of the underground enclaves. It was very visual and reminded me of the culture of the Mole People (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_people). I also enjoyed reading about Fade, as I thought he was the most developed character in the book. He was strong and silent, but thought that he really shined Topside, particularly (spoiler alert!) when grieving over his friend. Deuce, on the other hand, fell flat to me.
However, what irritated me the most was the nonchalant manner that Aguirre addresses the issue of rape. I understand that the world of ENCLAVE is incredibly harsh and dark, and so certain issues are going to come up that are dark and harsh. I understand its use particularly when using it as a form of weapon in a (post)war society, if handled well. What I am not okay with is using rape as a plot device without giving it the appropriate time or energy to infuse its impact with the overall story. I nearly threw my Kindle against the wall when I read that the character that tried to “breed” Deuce (read: rape) is a potential love interest. Really?
Unfortunately, this book just did not do it for me.
1.5 out of 5 stars