Grade: High A
In Deuce's world, an enclave deep underground, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed "brat" has trained to join 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 the ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning.
Fade doesn't like following orders. Deuce has never known a boy like him before, someone as likely to touch her gently as use his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat due to their sheer numbers, now show signs of cunning and even strategy...but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. No matter how hard she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carried her far from the only world she's ever known.
Character Development: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 51/70
Obtained: Free finished copy provided by publisher (Feiwell and Friends)
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: None.
Sexual Content: Blatant references to rape and forced breeding.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Murder, rape, graphic violence, lots of gore and blood, apocalypse, child abuse, child neglect, starvation, poverty, etc...
A fascinating novel for sure, though I would recommend it more to fans of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth than The Hunger Games as the cover claims. But hey, if you love post-apocalyptic novels of any sort, give it a try. I very much enjoyed Enclave and came to love the characters, even if Deuce could be a bit dense. She was tough, though, and it paid off.
The plot drives this novel for sure. Full of intense, unpredictable twists, it's quite an exciting read. My only complaint is that the narration, the voice, lacks something. Maybe the stakes weren't high enough, or Deuce just never had enough personality. But whatever it is, the voice is often dull and two-dimensional, and because of this any change of events can take the reader by surprise and one can end up quite befuddled. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is that is so off-kilter about the writing, but especially at the beginning, it was a slight turn-off. It improves as the story progresses, however, and the book was certainly worth the read!
It has all the elements of a good story--the array of characters, the badass heroine, the dangerous landscape, the unpredictable future, and that little touch of romance that I hope will blossom into something I want to read about--and I hope the second installment picks up with the momentum the story ended with. Honestly, the end was a bit abrupt for me, but the knowledge that a sequel is in the making is reassuring, though the story does not necessarily need it to be fairly satisfying.
NOTE: Outland, sequel to Enclave in the Razorland Series, projected to be released in Fall 2012.