Genre: YA post apocalyptic/dystopian
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
The CoverHonestly, if I had judged this only by its cover, I definitely wouldn't have picked it up. It seems rather boring and grey and not something I would normally read. That's really a matter of personal taste though and judging the cover objectively in relation to the book, it's quite fitting and well-done and represents what the books will be about.
The StoryDeuce is living underground in an enclave called College and she is about to reach the age of fifteen when she'll receive her name (she's called Girl15 before getting the name of Deuce) and be assigned a job. There are Breeders, Builders or Hunters in their community and Deuce has always wanted to become a Huntress. Being a Huntress means keeping the enclave safe from the Freaks who are roaming the tunnels down below and bringing back food for the other people in their community.
Deuce is paired with Fade, a mysterious boy living in the enclave as well. He doesn't like to follow orders much but that's exactly what the elders want people to do and if they don't stick by the rules, punishments are usually harsh. Fade is not originally from Enclave so he tells Deuce stories about life outside the tunnels and slowly she starts to realize that maybe the elders are not always right after all and things are not the way they seem. The Freaks seem to be getting to be smarter as well and everything changes for Deuce and Fade when they are cast out of the community and forced to go to Topside.
My Thoughts.As I said before I probably wouldn't have read this book, or the entire series, if I had gone by the cover and honestly, also the description. It was because a friend really loved this one I decided to check it out and I ended up liking it a lot. In the meantime I have read the whole series (the last book, Horde, came out in October) and I really enjoyed the whole series. Yes, it does have your typical YA dytopian scheme of a kick-ass girl, a romance and a sort of love triangle but I never mind the first one, there can't be enough strong role models for girls, and while for me the romance part isn't necessary, I can deal with it and in this series I didn't mind it much at all, it sort of felt like a natural progression and luckily there are a lot of other things in the book that are put in the foreground, like the big thread of Freaks or Muties as they are called later on. They're basically zombies but portrayed a bit differently than we know them.
Deuce is a great character, she is tough but she also comes across as sweet and caring about people. Because she lived a very sheltered life, her knowledge of things is obviously limited which at points makes her seem naive but she is willing to learn and discover new things. Fade, on the other hand, has seen more things so he's darker than Deuce and because of his secret past he's quite intriguing. It's interesting to see them come together and trust each other more and more, especially once they're exiled from the enclave and have to rely on each other. All the other characters in the novel, and the rest of the series, are well done as well, everybody is made interesting in their own ways, even very minor characters.
This book is probably the darkest YA dystopian or apocalyptic novel I have read so far, and the rest of the series is remains that way, so that's probably something to keep in mind if you decide to read this. Death and decay are never far away, and neither are the Freaks, who get scarier as we go along. The underground setting of the book doesn't really help much with this either but once Deuce and Fade make it to Topside, we learn that the world out there isn't much better either with gangs joining the threat of the Freaks. The writing of the novel is rather simple and cold but it really fit the story and the characters so I enjoyed that and does make for a rather fast read.
Enclave and the whole Razorland series are quite the journey and I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you're into dystopian and post-apocalyptic books that are packed with action. It has been compared to The Hunger Games in a marketing scheme I guess but while I absolutely love The Hunger Games, I wouldn't say it's the same thing because both worlds are completely different. As the series is now complete, you can keep reading which is definitely an advantage because the first and second novel both end with a cliffhanger. Besides the three main novels in the series, there are also 3 short stories, you can find the list here on Goodreads.