Book Review: Ann Aguirre’s Enclave

Posted July 14, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Ann Aguirre’s Enclave


on April 12, 2011 and has 259 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Razorland urban science fiction series for kids?, young adults? about survival in a dystopian world.

In 2012, Enclave won the RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best Young Adult Romance.

My Take

Well, the idea may be to emulate The Hunger Games, but it ain’t workin’. It’s one thing to want to write for a younger audience, but don’t write down to them. Aguirre hasn’t got the hang of it. It may be that the short, simple writing style is meant to help create the atmosphere of the primitive times but it just seems as though Aguirre is trying too hard. It’s not helped when she throws in the occasional “big” word. Nor does she develop the romance. She’s suggesting it and popping in some tension but it goes nowhere.

Deuce’s protesting about Fade’s radical stance does provide the naivete, but it’s all surface, simply filling in the bullet points but not having any depth. It doesn’t help that it’s such a short book. Something longer may have allowed Aguirre to develop this more.

What?? Deuce and Fade did exactly what they were supposed to do. Why is this considered wrong? This makes no sense. Deuce’s revelations are too quick, there’s no believability behind them for the reader. It’s an interesting culture that Aguirre has picked up from other books. It’s too bad she didn’t give it her own twist or get me emotionally involved. The Burrowers take Deuce then let her go that easily? Gimme a break. Pearl has survived for how long Topside in the same city and she’s taken this easily?

It’s always curious to see how a writer has their characters explore the material goods left behind before disaster struck.

It’s just too simplistic to be interesting.

The Story

Deuce was born to the tribe, Fade was grudgingly adopted. Both are Hunters for their people. When Deuce finally realizes how the Elders are abusing their power, she steps up and protects her friend Stone when they wrongly accuse him of hoarding. Fade also tries to take the blame off Deuce, but both are banished. To survive, they must go Topside.

It’s too much for Deuce. Too different. If Fade hadn’t stood up for her…

The Characters

Deuce is her Huntress name. Now that Girl15 has lived long enough and learned, she’s accepted as an adult aiding her tribe. Fade is a boy the tribe adopted years before. Feral, different, he’s never really been accepted. Nor does Aguirre help us “feel the love”. Stone and Thimble are Deuce’s best friends.

The tribe is split into Hunters, Breeders, and Builders with the twenty-some-year-olds as the Elders. People don’t live much past their early twenties. It’s a shame that Aguirre doesn’t really go anywhere with this nor does she dig into Deuce’s revelations about how she feels about the Elders and how she understands them better. Copper is the cook, Whitewall is the leader with the young Twist as his personal assistant, Wordkeeper is exactly that, the keeper of words and technology, and Silk is in charge of the Hunters.

There are other tribes out there, hiding in the sewers. There are also the Freaks. Evolutionary throwbacks who eat any meat that’s dead.

Stalker leads one of the gangs Topside. The Wolves. They certainly act like it. Tegan is one of their victims. Karl Longshot very conveniently shows up with his trading wagon. Mamma Oaks takes them in.

The Cover and Title

The cover is quite urban. The blue-gray background has a metallic sheen and looks like a manhole cover while I assume the crossed pair of knives represents Deuce’s pair. The metal plaque for the title does fit with the rest of the metal on the cover.

The title could be several things from how these “mole people” refer to their home or simply that any safe place is the Enclave.