Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland # 1I finished the book in one sitting. Well, that's a lie. I read about 67 pages, and then read the rest of the book in one sitting. I could not put it down. I had to know what happened to Fade and Deuce.
So, if you haven't read the description, Deuce lives in this post-apocolyptic world where most of the people live below grounds, in enclaves. There are many different enclaves, but her enclave enforces cleanliness, order, and strict rules. When you become of age, you are put into one of three titles: Breeders, who are responsible for creating the new generation; Builders, who build weapons and other things needed to survive; and Hunters, who go in the tunnels and hunt Freaks and fight for food. Our main character, Deuce, is a Huntress. She's tough and she's worked at it for her entire life. The title of Huntress, and the responsibility of protecting her enclave, meant the world to her. While I was reading, I kinda related the enclave to high school cliques: most Builders don't really fraternize with Breeders, and vice versa. But Deuce respects all members of her enclave. She treats them all equally, especially since her two best friends are a Builder and a Breeder.
Deuce follows the rules, like any dystopian heroine does, until a wild boy introduces her to the 'dark side'. Which is ironic, since Fade, our mysterious hero, introduces her to the 'bright side', or the above-ground. She's never seen the sun, or birds or plants. It was like introducing a baby to these things. Aguirre's description of Deuce seeing the sun for this first time, and being terrified of it, really frightened me. We take so much for advantage. This girl was seeing the sun for the first time, experiencing wind blown in her hair and rain falling on her skin. She risked everything to see the outside, even when everyone told her that the rain will melt off your skin, and the sun will blow you up on the spot. She was just plain kickass!
Deuce was an amazing huntress, one of the best for being so young. She used her skill from all those days in the enclave, outside, where she fought for her life. She was taught growing up to fight fend for your enclave, above all else. When you find something from the outside, bring it in immediately for inspection. If not, you can get exiled from the protection of the enclave.
Honestly, these dystopian governments are starting to scare me. In Deuce's world, the leader fixed a crime so that he can warn the other citizens not to step out of line. In her world, NY was demolished because of a disease. She walked for days because she had this idea in her mind of a better place, and with Fade by her side, she fought through the constant battles, the weather, the bruises.
Fade. I'm not doing Fade any justice here for Fade. He was an outsider coming into the enclave. Nobody there liked him, and yet he still fought for them, still protected them, just because they gave him a place to sleep and a plate of food. His family died on him, and he had to come to this under-ground world to survive. Fade lost a lot of people he cared about in this book, and a few times, Deuce lost him, but he was just an amazing companion.
Everyone in this book, everyone, had so much at stake. They were forced to come here to live, because they believed that Topside (The above ground) was unliveable. They believed as soon as they touched foot on that sand, they would explode.
The series, I believe, could be left at that. I got the impression that Aguirre was making it a standalone book, but with research from Goodreads, I'm wrong; There's a sequel coming out Fall 2012. Ughh WHY 2012? WHY
"We lived in a dead world. The idea if we went far enough, we might find living people, who had fires and homes and food to eat- I might as well wish for those pale, lovely winged people to come down from the stars and take us there, as long as I was wishing for things beyond my reach."
-Enclave by Ann Aguirre