Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland #1 | Excerpt: Yes
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Paranormal YA
Source: Publisher | Reviewed by: Abigail
Kissing. References to rape.
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
In the past week, I have been gorging myself on Ann Aguirre in three different series and subgenres: SHADY LADY (urban fantasy), NIGHTFALL (paranormal romance), and now ENCLAVE (paranormal YA). If I didn’t already have her on my short list of authors par excellence, there is no question that ENCLAVE would have catapulted her over the edge. It’s a creepy and shocking and thrilling look at post apocalyptic New York that will remind readers of THE HUNGER GAMES and LORD OF THE FLIES.
I was born during the second holocaust. People had told us legends of a time when human beings lived longer. I thought they were just stories. Nobody even lived to see forty in my world. – First lines from ENCLAVE
Speaking of LORD OF THE FLIES, in an interview, Ann Aguirre has set that she was heavily influenced by William Golding’s book when it came to writing ENCLAVE. Children forced to band together and form societies (some more successfully that others) is as much a commentary on human nature as FLIES, but in a more flattering way since Ann shows both the depravity that would emerge in this reality as well as the altruism of others, and even the misguided groups that fall into the middle of that spectrum.
As always, Ann’s writing is a sensual delight. I felt my own heart race as Deuce and Fade were being hunted by the zombie like Freaks in the tunnels underground, felt when they were injured, when they escaped. I experienced the first fluttering awareness that developed between them, the sheer terror when they faced down the gangers above ground. Hunger, dehydration, and exposure. They come to life in a way that I could swear I was traveling alongside the characters. It is an amazing feeling that few authors can deliver.
I already made a comparison to THE HUNGER GAMES, and while there are a lot of similarities between the two, it’s unfair to expect ENCLAVE to match such a beloved book. But if you want a different kind of apocalypse with another brave and resourceful heroine, you won’t be disappointed with ENCLAVE. The trailer does an excellent job of conveying the tone of the book: harsh yet hopeful. Bleak and bloody, yet with moments of undeniable beauty. Can’t wait for more. The next book in the Razorland series is titled OUTPOST and will be released in Fall 2012.