Enclave by Ann Aguirre

by Ann Aguirre
Coming April 12, 2011
Read the first two chapters here

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.

"Spooky-cool, grimly gorgeous, tactile, tough, and terrifying." --Sharon Shinn
I must prefice this review by letting you know that I consider this one of my favorite books of all time. Having said that, in Enclave I've found the heroine I've been waiting for since Graceling's Katsa (sure there was Katniss in between, but the these two heroines share a much feircer fighters intensity that stands them apart for me), Deuce has an almost inexorable will as a survivor, a fighter, and a leader. By adding an equally strong and often mysterious partner in Fade, Duece learns that compassion is not a weakness. That blind obidience is not strength.

I could "see" their world with an absolute clarity and it came to me almost instantly. The author never had to describe all the minutia, a few words were suffcient. I could feel the grit and the smothering darkness underground, the claustrophobia of the enclosed spaces crammed almost check to jaw with unimaginable horrors hunting them in the darkness.

Conversely, when the story went Topside I could feel the vastness of the open space above them and how terrifying infinity makes you feel, but especially when it's starring you in the face for the first time. Strangely evocative, I felt as though I could smell the various and often putrid bouquet surrounding Deuce and Fade. In the Freaks I found a horrific humaniod mutation that feed mostly on the carcasses of the dead with teeth and claws made for ripping, clawing, and chewing you up. There are so many unanswered questions about their origins, and their behavior. It seems the more well fed, the more sentient they become. I cannot wait to find out more about them. This world they all live in is not so much dystopian, but a seemingly true representation of a post-apocalyptic world.

I was blown away by the characters in Enclave, and this story evoked such a passion from me for this series. I admire both of the lead characters, all Deuce wants is to shoulder the weight of the responsability to keep her loved ones safe, she hopes she's up to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds of their world. She doesn't waver, but there is nothing between her and certain death besides her brain, her knives, and her feirce and infallible partner Fade.

IB Teen Blog interviews Ann Aguirre:

IBT: I read in your FAQ's that voices in your head are where your story ideas come from, but I was wondering how Enclave and especially Deuce came to be.

AA: I was in Austin, Texas talking to my agent in IM one night. She was talking about a YA manuscript that she'd really loved. That proved a segue, and I told her about an idea I had about a world where kids lived underground and nobody lived to be older than twenty-five, due to a variety of problems.

Since I'm an organic writer, I know how a story begins and how it ends. I have the voices in my head, whispering to me. In this case, it was Deuce and Fade. When I told my agent, Laura Bradford, my idea, she loved it. So that fall, I wrote the book with her blessing. I had pondered writing a YA for a while, but I wanted to make sure I had the right idea first. Since my books are always gritty, a dystopian world seemed like the natural setting for my YA debut. And I think it was the right move.

IBT: You explained in your author's note how biological weapons and manufactured plagues had caused the apocalypse, but you didn't (yet?) hint as to the origins of the freaks. Are they humans who mutated because of the plagues? Do they breed or do they infect? Is hunger a reason why the ones near the College Enclave were so animalistic and the ones near the Nassau Enclave and Topside, being better fed, so sentient?

AA: If I answer these questions, it will reduce the impact of book two, OUTPOST. So rest easy when I say answers are forthcoming, but the kids have to learn things in a way that's organic to the story.

IBT: Can Deuce read thoughts now? It started to happen after she was bit, am I grasping at straws?

AA: No, she can't. She may seem more attuned to Fade because they've become so close, but it's not a supernatural phenomenon.

IBT: When can we expect to see Outpost on the bookshelves? Assuming that this is the second book in the series, is it going to end as a duology or will there be more?

AA: OUTPOST drops in fall of 2012. I don't have an exact release date yet. The book is drafted.

IBT: What are your key ingredients to a good story?

AA: Tension, conflict, emotional depth, three-dimensional characters with goals and flaws, action, heart, good writing and worldbuilding.

IBT: Which characters voices in Enclave came easiest to you?

AA: Since I was writing in Deuce's head, I know her most intimately. And all the other characters flow through her. So the answer must be Deuce. But I love everyone in the Razorland world.

IBT: What does it say about society that we do not always take care of our "weaker" or "poorer" citizens? In Enclave, there were many cases where the weak or defenseless were left behind or abandoned to their own fate. This dictum was one of the things that Fade fought against and something he made Deuce recognize wasn't a characteristic of strength. That it takes courage to defend those who can't do it for themselves, and that is something that real leaders do.

AA: I suspect I have strong feelings on the subject because when I was fourteen, I spent a week volunteering at a homeless shelter. It changed the way I view the world. People often pretend not to see misfortune, as if it's contagious, like you can become poor or unhomed simply by sparing someone a kind word. In our society, these weaker, poorer citizens go unseen. Unheard. What does it say about our society? I suppose it speaks to our complacency and entitlement.

IBT: What is your favorite type of hero?

AA: I have a weakness for the dutiful man, who will sacrifice personal dreams and pleasures for what he knows is right.

IBT: As an author how do you respond to those who think censorship is a necessary evil?

AA: Censorship is wrong. That's not to say I think eight year olds should read books with graphic sex and violence. Their parents must make sure their fiction is appropriate. But those books have a right to exist for those who have the maturity and the desire to read them.

IBT: When writing your YA novels, do you find that you censor yourself knowing that what you write is intended primarily for a younger audience?

AA: I write what the story demands. I don't pull punches.

IBT:  I'm curious, if you could have dinner with any three people (living, imaginary, or dead), who would they be and why?

AA: Mark Twain, Doctor Who, and Sting.

Mr. Twain has always seemed irreverent and amusing. I think his dinner conversation would be top-notch. Doctor Who, well, obviously because after dinner, I hope he'll make me his companion and take me on some mad adventures. And wouldn't that make fabulous book fodder? Finally, Sting, because I really love his music, and I might get him drunk enough to sing something for us. Before I went off in the Tardis, of course.

IBT: I also read in your FAQ's that you live in Mexico, a place I would love to travel to if only to gorge myself on the street food (an episode of Tony Bourdains' No Reservations clinched Mexico City as one of my must travel-to destinations). What is your favorite type of street food?

AA: Los esquites, no question. This is roast corn, sliced from the cob into a cup. The street vendors serve it with your choice of chile, mayo, lime, or cojita cheese. I like it with all of the above. It's sooo good.

Thanks Ann!


Liana said...

awesome interview. This book sounds like something I should check out.

Suzanne Lazear said...

Can't wait for this book! Go Ann!

Two Chicks On Books said...

Great giveaway!
I'm a follower
I tweeted it

Jaime from Two Chicks On Books


Lynsey Newton said...

I've heard so much about this book!! I'd love to read it so thanks for the opportunity to win. I'm a follower of the blog.


Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

Thanks for this awesome contest! I am a follower.

jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

Carissa said...

Fun interview! Really looking forward to this one! I'm a follower!

Carissa @ Preternatural Primer

preternaturalprimer (at) hotmail (dot) com

David said...

I read the first two chapters and I'm hooked. I can't wait for the book!


Alyssa said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/bookwormbabble/status/42685738957025280


Kelsey said...

Awesom interview and giveaway =D
I'm a follower yaaay


FloeticFlo said...

Oohh, looks good!
TweetyB99 at aol dot com

Ann Aguirre said...

So pleased everyone is excited about ENCLAVE's release. I am too!

Thanks for having me, Perla.

Christa said...

So excited about this book!
ambience.of.rain (at) gmail (dot) com

Braiden said...

I cannot wait to read another Debut dystopian! I am follower.


Ashley said...

Awesome interview! I so want to read this book! :)

basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail.com

Llehn said...

I'm excited about Enclave now!

Old follower.


Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for the chance to win!


theJeepDiva said...

Great interview. Been looking forward to this book since I heard about it back in November.

Kulsuma said...

thanks for the contest! i'd love to read enclave.


andreat78 said...

Sounds like a great book.

+1 ReTweeted
+1 Follow blog andreat78

Sierra Dean said...

So excited for this series, I can't wait!!

sierradeanbooks (at) gmail (dot) com

buddyt said...

I enjoy Ann's books so I am very curious to see how she has done with a YA novel.

Just one problem she could have with dinner guests. What if all the Dr Whos turn up ? There have been a number of them over the years.

Thanks for the giveaway.

I am a Follower via GFC.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

flchen1 said...

Thanks for the terrific interview! I'm looking forward to Enclave!

f dot chen at comcast dot net
new blog follower :)

Denis said...


I tweeted on - http://twitter.com/Insomniac_VD/status/43953090025635840

I am a blog follower. :)


debbie said...

I would love to read this book, it sounds really good.

Brodie said...

Wow, I CANNOT wait to get my hands on a copy of this amazing book! I've been hearing so many good things about it, I'm getting antsy for release already!! Thanks so much for the giveaway - fantastic review & interview!

+1 Follower
+1 Tweeted - http://twitter.com/#!/peacelovebooksx/status/44195697028898816

Thank you!

Laina said...


+1 http://bookcontestlinks.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-4th-2011.html
+1 Follower!

Sniffly Kitty said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

+1 GFC Follower


Sniffly Kitty
Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

Precious said...

Great interview! :)
I'm so excited for Enclave!

+1 tweeted: http://twitter.com/precious_shusky/status/44231092894564352
+1 follower

Thank you!


mssammydean said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! :) Looks like a really good book!

+1 tweeted - http://twitter.com/#!/mssammydean/status/44420693588328449
+1 followed


SusieBookworm said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I am a new GFC follower and I tweeted the giveaway:

susanna dot pyatt at student dot rcsnc dot org

Marynellie said...

Thanks for this giveaway!

marynellie8 at yahoo dot com

~evening-green~ said...

I'm a blog follower^^

eveningreen (at) gmail (dot) com

Natasha Areena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natasha Areena said...

I'm a follower and would love a chance to get my hands on this book!


Laine said...

wow this looks good.
ive always loved your blog.
an old follower,

Lalaine's fiction book reviews

Orchid said...

Wow! Enclave sounds like an incredible book. I'll definitely looking into getting a copy of it. Nice interview.

Old GFC follower

The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Brooke said...

Thanks so much!

es22 said...


cris_mv said...

It sounds SOOOOO freaking good! And creative as hell! You can't get a name until 15? Spiked my interest! :)

Karla Vollkopf said...

Looks like such an unique book! I need to find out more about the author! Please enter me.