Belinda Reviews: Ann Aguirre—"Enclave" (Razorland #1)
There really is just one word to describe Ann’s novel about post-apocalyptic New York: Wow!
Under the Streets of New York, survivors have created their own civilizations and enclaves. Girl 15 is about to go through the naming day ritual to become a Huntress. She must endure a process of scarring, during which her blood falls on an item from above ground; this gives her the name Deuce. Deuce is put with a partner, Fade, and together they are sent out into the tunnels to keep the enclave safe from Freaks, mutants who live in the same tunnel systems as the other survivors, and to gather meat so the community doesn’t starve.
She is a firm believer in the laws and the way the enclave is run by the elders, right up until she and Fade find a blind child, the last surviving member of the closest enclave, and the elders kill him after letting him pass on the message that the Freaks are getting smarter, and to beware.
Fade and Deuce are sent to investigate, and, indeed, discover that the Freaks are getting smarter; but the elders will not heed the warnings, instead manufacturing a situation which leads them to be exiled from the tunnels.
Deuce is forced from everything she has ever known and Fade is thrust back into a life he thought he would never have to live again. They have to survive above ground.
Reading the author’s notes, I was given insight into the thought processes Ann went through to create such a nightmarish, yet plausible, New York. I even had the chance to view one of the documentaries she mentions in the notes, and it let me slip a little further into her headspace. It spooked me, but only at how possible it is that man would wipe himself out by his own greed and stupidity.
I could quite easily put myself into the shoes of Fade and Deuce– their fear, their desperation, their fight for survival and their desire to belong. I found the expected lifespan of the tunnel dwelling enclave members rather confronting. The thought of a 26-year-old as an elder blew my mind.
The Darwin theory lives large in this grungy, meaty, ballsy tale of survival.
If you like Resident Evil, I am Legend, and 28 Days Later, this is a lighter take on the same sorts of themes.
Enclave – Ann Aguirre
Published 12 April, 2011, by Feiwel and Friends
Paperback, 262 Pages
ISBN 10: 0312650086 ISBN 13: 978-0312650087