Enclave by Ann Aguirre

“There were different kinds of strength. I knew that now. It didn’t always come from a knife or a willingness to fight. Sometimes it came from endurance, where the well ran deep and quiet. Sometimes it came from compassion and forgiveness.”


In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

Personal Thoughts:

I’ve read this book few weeks ago but I find it difficult to write a review. After reading six other books and few reviews written, now I’m attempting to put my thoughts for this one.

The book has two parts: first part is the underground world and the other part is the topside. These two parts basically drawn boundary with regard on how I’m rating this book.

Let start with the Underground
I really enjoy this part of the book where Deuce is still in the underground with the enclave community. In this world Aguirre created a dark and gritty society where rules exist and breaking them means death. Deuce was raised to follow these rules unquestionably but it all shattered when she discover the lies beneath the rules. When she was forced to keep her silence she realized that the world is not like what  the elders preach. In this world everything is about survival – from the freaks (flesh eating creatures) and from the government. The characters and surroundings are dark, dangerous and full of deadly secrets. The underground world is compelling and intriguing. There are corruptions, lies, brutality, darkness and danger. You’ll get dystopia at its best!

Now lets got to the Topside
In this part a more mundane setting is introduced, gangs pierced with tattoos are the new villains. At first it was interesting to explore this part of Deuce world in her point of view since topside is something new to her. All she knows about topside came from what the elders told her which she eventually discover were lies. But as the story moves along the plot slow down a bit. Yes, there are few elements added like the gangs, the sudden appearance of freaks above ground and the new characters introduced. But it really didn’t get better than the life underground. It’s not bad or dragging but it’s not as good as the first part.

The world building underground is great and it feels more dystopian compare to the topside. It is compelling and interesting. It can easily get a five stars rating from me, and I would have happily read the entire book just in the underground world. But unfortunately the book doesn’t stay underground. When Deuce and Fade head to Topside to survive, the book loses some of its strength as well as its unique society and setting.

Overall, there are things that didn’t work for me but it doesn’t mean that it’s not a worth read. It’s action-packed and interesting to say the least. Deuce story has promise especially the underground part and I would love to find out more about the rebellion, and the government of Enclave community underground.

This review is based on a copy of the book that I received from the author.

10 thoughts on “Enclave by Ann Aguirre”

  1. Thanks for your thorough review. I really enjoyed it. It’s interesting that the topside experience had such a different feel from the earlier part of the book. I think I definitely need to give this book another look. Great review!


    1. Thanks Rachel! I got a mixed feeling for this book but still a worth read. I can’t wait to see your review for this one. I want to know what you think about it especially the second part of the book.


  2. I’d be interested to read this book. I’m intrigued by the idea of there being two different settings for the book. The one of dark mystery which turns out to be lies–and the one of truth which isn’t as dark as the lie. I wonder if she revealed that other work too soon? That might account for the feeling of the pacing slowing. But it’s hard to say without having read it. I’ll look it up and try to find some time to read it. It does seem appealing.


    1. I wonder that too, maybe if she focus first with the underground world and finished book one there before introducing the topside the result maybe different. I might enjoy it better I guess. There are so many things to explore underground & so many issues need to discuss. I’d love to know your opinion for this book after you read it. I’ll wait for your review.


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