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[Book Review] Enclave

“They mostly come out at night. Mostly.”
Enclave by Ann Aguirre is my second dip into the Aguirre pool, my first being Grimspace that I’m still trying to finish.
Enclave introduces us to a world that has come to an end. After the use of several biological weapons the survivors that were eeking a life on the surface either fled from the cities or went underground. Unfortunately, their problems did not end with the weapons of man but what comes afterwards in the form of carnivorous eaters known as Freaks.
Our story centers our a young woman that lives in an underground enclave. Her name is Dues and she is a Hunter for the enclave and is paired up with Fade, a man that has constantly been an outsider since he survived the surface only to find himself in the enclave. There is an undercurrent of distrust between a few of the characters and the Elders of the Enclave because of the constant: Do not go to the surface mantra that has been spoon fed to everyone since the beginning. This plot thread is quickly and violently brought to a halt and the story focuses on Dues and Fade’s journeys instead.
I enjoyed the book on a whole. It was a quick read and is a perfect example of showing and not telling the audience. Just enough bread crumbs of information without getting a whole chunk of info dump of what happened before. Smooth narration in the first person and interesting characters. The hierarchy of the College Enclave social structure is kept simple and short. A dips into the “will Dues fall in love with Fade” pool keeps romantic awakening between the two fresh and intersting.
Post apocalyptical stories can either run the rut of others or focus on the main characters plight instead. Enclave decides not to set up an overall plot of Hunters vs Elders and instead focuses on Dues and Fade’s banishment from the Enclave to the surface. A few plot threads starting with one of the Enclave’s trading partners being overrun by Freaks and the increasing Freak menace is unfortunately left twisting in the wind. Looking on-line this is book 1 of possible series (?) so maybe those plots will be picked back in further books.
Overall, I enjoyed it and looking forward to book #2 in 2012.

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