Friday, September 2, 2016
Newly named Deuce lives in an underground enclave known as College where the rules are strict to ensure survival. Her whole life has been spent training to be a Huntress, one who protects the enclave and fights the Freaks, diseased and cannibalistic creatures. Now that she's considered an adult, she sees more of the inner workings and it isn't what she expected. Everyone is expected to follow orders to the letter. Innovation or deviation are not allowed or appreciated. At first, she's distressed to be paired with wild card Fade because he doesn't really conform, but outside the enclave, he's shown himself to be an asset. They discover that the Freaks are getting smarter working together and formulating strategies. When they try to warn the leaders, they are brushed off and forced to make a dangerous trek to a neighboring enclave. Can Deuce and Fade get people to take them seriously? Will they even return alive?
Enclave had been on my reading list for years and I finally decided to read it because I had collected the whole series over time. I was pleasantly surprised. This dystopia takes place in the future where these Freaks have overrun the world. Since Deuce only lives underground, she only knows College and what they tell her. She lives in what used to be the New York subway system and has been told her whole life that above ground is too dangerous to live there. No one in her society lives past 40 and their eldest member is 25. No one gets named until their 15th birthday. Children are called Girl or Boy and a number instead. The enclave has 3 essential roles: breeder, builder, and hunter. Rules and commands are to be followed without question or comment. If core rules are broken, the perpetrator is exiled. At first Deuce is enamored at having some authority, but quickly sees the flaws and inconsistencies in the rulers culminating in being exiled to save an innocent friend.
The characters are compelling. Deuce struggles with her own identity, as teens do. She tries to exude a tough demeanor, but she hides the fear and uncertainty inside. She's clever and observant with a will to do what's right. Fade is an oddball for above ground that never really fit in. He and Deuce come to depend on each other and build their trust outside of the enclave as they fight Freaks and other enemies. Stalker is an interesting but offputting character. He led a gang called the Wolves who hunted people for sport and raped women to keep their numbers up. He sees a losing fight against the smarter Freaks and joins Fade Deuce's group. They begrudgingly accept him because of his skill in fighting and his vow to change his ways. This could be a hard pill to swallow for some readers because of his heinous actions, but I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often in post-apocalyptic stories. Both parties are being practical and weighing the risk against the reward.
The zombies called Freaks are a mutated variety that used to be completely mindless and driven by their hunger for flesh. They look like people, but have lesions all over their skin, large claws, and sharp teeth. They hunt in backs and their stench of carrion usually announces their presence. This new variety of Freak seems to have more ability to strategize and work with other Freaks for a greater goal, making them far more dangerous for the remnants of civilization. These zombies don't make other Freaks out of people it seems, but it begs the question how they haven't died out yet. Perhaps this will be revealed in further books.
Enclave is a fun zombie novel that has an interesting vision of a dystopic future that I haven't seen before. There were some things that weren't well thought out. For example, health doesn't seem to compromised by a poor diet in the enclave and how the stores above ground still had a lot of usuable supplies in them. These things and others like them didn't bother while I was reading, but seemed suspicious afterwards. Overall, I enjoyed Enclave and I plan to read the rest of the series.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins