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Enclave (Enclave Series #1)

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Overview

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade ...

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Overview

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight--guided by Fade's long-ago memories--in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.
 
Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world--facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.

2012 RITA Winner for Young Adult Romance

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[Enclave] is a young adult dystopian novel and has been compared to the hit series The Hunger Games. To say we’re excited is a major understatement.” —ElleGirl.com

“In her first young adult novel, Aguirre (the Sirantha Jax series) has created a gritty and highly competent heroine, an equally deadly sidekick/love interest, and a fascinating if unpleasant civilization. This series is likely to hold considerable appeal for fans of The Hunger Games.” —Publishers Weekly

Enclave is dark and thrilling, fast-paced and intense. With some graphic and gross imagery and a hard look at a post-apocalyptic world, Aguirre has taken themes from Scott Westerfeld and an assortment of zombie literature and created something that is very much her own—and a very engaging read.” RT Book Reviews

“This well-paced zombie-esque adventure in an urban wasteland will keep fans happy.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aguirre’s young adult debut is a gripping survival story set in an apocalyptic future. . . . This is a tense, action-packed dystopia with intriguingly gray characters.” —Booklist

“Deuce’s passion for life, even in her bleakest moments, is contagious, and that passion exemplifies the nebulous force that has driven all of these individuals to persist in the face of awful options.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

From the Publisher
“[Enclave] is a young adult dystopian novel and has been compared to the hit series The Hunger Games. To say we’re excited is a major understatement.” —ElleGirl.com

“In her first young adult novel, Aguirre (the Sirantha Jax series) has created a gritty and highly competent heroine, an equally deadly sidekick/love interest, and a fascinating if unpleasant civilization. This series is likely to hold considerable appeal for fans of The Hunger Games.” —Publishers Weekly

Enclave is dark and thrilling, fast-paced and intense. With some graphic and gross imagery and a hard look at a post-apocalyptic world, Aguirre has taken themes from Scott Westerfeld and an assortment of zombie literature and created something that is very much her own—and a very engaging read.” RT Book Reviews

“This well-paced zombie-esque adventure in an urban wasteland will keep fans happy.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aguirre’s young adult debut is a gripping survival story set in an apocalyptic future. . . . This is a tense, action-packed dystopia with intriguingly gray characters.” —Booklist

“Deuce’s passion for life, even in her bleakest moments, is contagious, and that passion exemplifies the nebulous force that has driven all of these individuals to persist in the face of awful options.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Publishers Weekly
In this skilled though violent postapocalyptic thriller, Deuce has newly earned the rank of Huntress, after years of training have taught her to "wield a knife or a club with equal proficiency." It's her duty to provide meat for her loveless, draconian enclave, deep beneath the streets of a ruined city, as well as to defend it against cannibalistic Freaks, who are gradually eliminating the scattered human survivors of a vaguely remembered plague. Deuce's is a world of terrifying encounters in near-complete darkness, but she's very good at what she does. Then Deuce stands up for a friend unfairly accused of hoarding and, accompanied only by her talented but unpopular partner, Fade, is soon exiled with little chance of survival either in the lightless and dangerous sewers or Topside. In her first young adult novel, Aguirre (the Sirantha Jax series) has created a gritty and highly competent heroine, an equally deadly sidekick/love interest, and a fascinating if unpleasant civilization. This series is likely to hold considerable appeal for fans of The Hunger Games. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
On her name day, Deuce receives the cuts that mark her as a Huntress. In College, her underground tribal dwelling, such status bears burdens as well as some grudging respect from Burrowers, Builders, and Breeders. After all, if she does not hunt well, the young brats will go hungry. Paired with Fade, perhaps seventeen and two years her senior, Deuce feels ready to fulfill her responsibilities. However, when the two teens use their own judgment and save the life of a blind boy from another tribe, they are given even more treacherous tasks as disciplinary action against them. The longer Fade and Deuce work together, the more they begin to understand each other on a level that goes deeper than simply hunting partners. In this post-apocalyptic tale, readers will discover underground tribes, mutants, humans who live like animals and tender hearts with hazy memories of what life Topside was like. Although much of the book is gruesome and dark, and cutting seems to be made much of, there is also a childlike delight in sun, rain, canned food, and books. Strangely enough, words of George MacDonald serve as inspiration and comfort at just the right times throughout the book. Of its genre, Enclave holds its own with The Hunger Games, and its ancestors, "The Uglies" series. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
All her life, Deuce (formally Girl 15) has dreamed of becoming a powerful warrior and serving her Enclave as a Huntress—the protectors of her post-apocalyptic underground society. But when Deuce finally gets her wish, she is partnered with Fade, a mysterious boy who may have come from the topside—that unknown danger zone above their underground sanctuary where scalding rains, burning skies, and ruthless gangs allegedly threaten all life. Yet even this strange realm may be no more dangerous than the underground, as mutated Freaks begin to overrun all the Enclaves and destroy their resources. But when Fade and Deuce try to warn their governing elders about the imminent threat, they quickly learns that the tribe may not be as wise—or as benevolent—as she once thought. Now faced with exile, Deuce and Fade must learn to survive topside, in a world more dangerous and wondrous than Deuce ever imagined. A gripping novel about survival and maturity, this offers both extreme adventure and a not-so-subtle critique about a society's self-imposed ignorance. Aguirre doesn't pull many punches in the story, as the teenage protagonists—who are technically adults in a society where most people don't live past twenty-five—are constantly faced with the threat of disease, starvation, cannibalism, and rape (although the last is more implied than shown). Bauer's narration in the audio book version is competent, although some of her creative choices are a bit strange. For example, her Deuce speaks with an oddly cheerful voice for a character surrounded by death and killing—although her tone gains a harder and more mature edge as the character's illusions shatter and her horizons broaden. Overall, this is an absorbing piece of science fiction that often seems terrifyingly real. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Deuce gets her name when she is declared Huntress and protector of College, the enclave where the survivors of "the second holocaust" dwell. They live in abandoned subway tunnels, never venturing Topside; the stories of aboveground dangers are enough to keep everyone below. Deuce and her partner, the enigmatic Fade, bring news of the destruction of enclave Nassau by the mutant cannibal Freaks and are banished Topside for their trouble. Once there Deuce recognizes the treachery of the College enclave elders and must face the real dangers—and wonders—of a long-ruined New York City. Joined by vicious ganger Stalker and abused Breeder Tegan, the four young adults make their way North to fabled safety. While the pace is quick, the characterizations are flat, and without a personality on which to hang an empathetic hat, there is little to involve readers emotionally. Continuity problems and some contradictions in logic result in world-building that does not fare well under scrutiny: the inhabitants of College lack knowledge of their own environs and the people who dwell there despite constant patrolling and occasional trading; the gangs who take over the city never range beyond its boundaries, and no one in the finally reached safety of the aboveground enclave returns to the city, despite apparently frequent trade-runs elsewhere. The familiar tropes of postapocalyptic fiction get no new handling here, but those looking for a "Hunger Games" read-alike might be willing to accept this lukewarm offering.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312551377
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Series: Enclave Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 53,194
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but she now lives in a terracotta adobe house in Mexico with her husband and two adorable children. The post-apocalyptic novel Enclave is her first book for young adults. She also writes the romantic science fiction series about Sirantha Jax, starting with Grimspace, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. As Ava Gray, she writes paranormal romantic suspense.

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Read an Excerpt

ENCLAVE (Deuce)

I was born during the second holocaust. People had told us legends of a time when human beings lived longer. I thought they were just stories. Nobody even lived to see forty in my world.

Today was my birthday. Each one added a layer of fear, and this year, it was worse. I lived in an enclave in which our oldest had seen twenty-five years. His face was withered, and his fingers shook when he attempted the smallest tasks. Some whispered it would be a kindness to kill him, but they meant they didn’t want to see their futures written in his skin.

“Are you ready?” Twist stood waiting for me in the darkness.

He already wore his marks; he was two years older than me, and if he’d survived the ritual, I could. Twist was small and frail by any standards; privation had cut runnels into his cheeks, aging him. I studied the pallor of my forearms and then nodded. It was time for me to become a woman.

The tunnels were wide and laid with metal bars. We had found remnants of what might’ve been transportation, but they lay on their sides like great, dead beasts. We used them for emergency shelters sometimes. If a hunting party was attacked before it reached sanctuary, a heavy metal wall between them and hungry enemies made the difference between life and death.

I had never been outside the enclave, of course. This space comprised the only world I’d ever known, cast in darkness and curling smoke. The walls were old, built of rectangular blocks. Once they had borne color but the years had worn them gray. Splashes of brightness came from items we scavenged from deeper in the warren.

I followed Twist through the maze, my gaze touching on familiar objects. My favorite item was a picture of a girl on a white cloud. I couldn’t make out what she was holding; that part had worn away. But the words in bright red, HEAVENLY HAM, looked wonderful to me. I wasn’t sure what that was, but by her expression, it must have been very good.

The enclave assembled on naming day, everyone who had survived to be named. We lost so many when they were young that we just called all the brats Boy or Girl, along with a number. Since our enclave was small—and dwindling—I recognized each face shadowed by the half-light. It was hard not to let the expectation of pain knot my stomach, along with the fear I would wind up with a terrible name that would cling to me until I died.

Please let it be something good.

The oldest, who carried the burden of the name Whitewall, walked to the center of the circle. He stopped before the fire, and its licking flame painted his skin in terrifying shades. With one hand, he beckoned me forward.

Once I joined him, he spoke. “Let each Hunter bring forth his gift.”

The others carried their tokens and piled them at my feet. A mound of interesting items grew—and a few of them, I had no idea what purpose they might’ve served. Decoration, perhaps? People in the world before seemed obsessed with objects that existed simply to look pretty. I couldn’t imagine such a thing.

After they finished, Whitewall turned to me. “It’s time.”

Silence fell. Cries echoed through the tunnels. Somewhere close by, somebody was suffering, but he wasn’t old enough to attend my naming. We might lose another citizen before we finished here. Sickness and fever devastated us and our medicine man did more harm than good, it seemed to me. But I’d learned not to question his treatments. Here in the enclave, one didn’t prosper by demonstrating too much independent thought.

These rules permit us to survive, Whitewall would say. If you cannot abide by them, then you are free to see how you fare Topside. The eldest had a mean streak; I didn’t know if he had always been that way, or if age had made him so. And now, he stood before me, ready to take my blood.

Though I had never witnessed the ritual before, I knew what to expect. I extended my arms. The razor glinted in the firelight. It was our prized possession, and the oldest kept it clean and sharp. He made three jagged cuts on my left arm, and I held my pain until it coiled into a silent cry within me. I would not shame the enclave by weeping. He slashed my right arm before I could do more than brace. I clenched my teeth as hot blood trickled downward. Not too much. The cuts were shallow, symbolic.

“Close your eyes,” he said.

I obeyed. He bent, spreading the gifts before me, and then grabbed my hand. His fingers were cold and thin. From whatever my blood struck, so would I take my name. With my eyes closed, I could hear the others breathing, but they were still and reverent. Movement rustled nearby.

“Open your eyes and greet the world, Huntress. From this day forward, you will be called Deuce.”

I saw the oldest held a card. It was torn and stained, yellow with age. The back had a pretty red pattern and the front had what looked like a black shovel blade on it, along with the number two. It was also speckled with my blood, which meant I must keep it with me at all times. I took it from him with a murmur of thanks.

Strange. No longer would I be known as Girl15. My new name would take some getting used to.

The enclave dispersed. People offered me nods of respect as they went about their business. Now that the naming day ceremony was complete, there was still food to be hunted and supplies to be scavenged. Our work never ended.

“You were very brave,” Twist said. “Now let’s take care of your arms.”

It was just as well we had no audience for this part because my courage failed. I wept when he put the hot metal to my skin. Six scars to prove I was tough enough to call myself Huntress. Other citizens received less; Builders got three scars. Breeders took only one. For as long as anyone could remember, the number of marks on the arms identified what role a citizen played.

We could not permit the cuts to heal naturally for two reasons: They would not scar properly and infection might set in. Over the years, we had lost too many to the naming day ritual because they cried and begged; they couldn’t bear the white-hot conclusion. Now Twist no longer paused at the sight of tears, and I was glad he didn’t acknowledge them.

I am Deuce.

Tears spilled down my cheeks as the nerve endings died, but the scars appeared one by one, proclaiming my strength and my ability to weather whatever I found out in the tunnels. I had been training for this day my whole life; I could wield a knife or a club with equal proficiency. Every bite of food I ate that had been supplied by someone else, I consumed with the understanding it would be my turn someday to provide for the brats.

That day had come. Girl15 was dead.

Long live Deuce.

*   *   *

After the naming, two friends held a party for me. I found them both waiting in the common area. We’d come up together as brats, though our personalities and physical skills put us on different paths. Still, Thimble and Stone were my two closest companions. Of the three, I was the youngest, and they’d taken pleasure in calling me Girl15 after they both got their names.

Thimble was a small girl a little older than me, who served as a Builder. She had dark hair and brown eyes. Because of her pointed chin and wide gaze, people sometimes questioned if she was old enough to be out of brat training. She hated that; there was no surer way to rouse her temper.

Grime often stained her fingers because she worked with her hands, and it found its way onto her clothing and smudged her face. We’d gotten used to seeing her scratch her cheek and leave a dark streak behind. But I didn’t tease her anymore because she was sensitive. One of her legs was a touch shorter than the other, and she walked with a whisper of a limp, not from injury, but that small defect. Otherwise, she might easily have become a Breeder.

Because he was strong and handsome, but not especially bright, Stone landed as a Breeder. Whitewall figured he had good material in him, and if matched with a clever female, he should sire good, solid offspring. Only citizens with traits worth passing on were allowed to contribute to the next generation, and the elders monitored births carefully. We couldn’t allow more brats than we could provide for.

Thimble rushed up to examine my forearms. “How much did it hurt?”

“A lot,” I said. “Twice as much as yours.” I gave Stone a pointed look. “Six times as much as yours.”

He always joked he had the easiest job in the enclave, and maybe that was true, but I wouldn’t want the burden of making sure our people survived to the next generation. On top of siring the young, he also shared the responsibility of looking after them. I didn’t think I could deal with so much death. Brats were unbelievably fragile. This year, he’d sired one male, and I didn’t know how he dealt with the fear. I could barely remember my dam; she’d died young even by our standards. When she was eighteen, a sickness swept through the enclave, likely carried by the trading party from Nassau. It took a lot of our people that year.

Some citizens thought the offspring of Breeders should stay in that role. There was a quiet movement among the Hunters to take their number from their own—that once a Hunter got too old for patrols, he or she could sire the next crop of Hunters. I’d fought my whole life against that thinking. From the time I could walk, I’d watched the Hunters going off into the tunnels and known it for my destiny.

“It’s not my fault I’m handsome,” he said, grinning.

“Stop, you two.” Thimble got out a present wrapped in faded cloth. “Here.”

I hadn’t expected this. Brow raised, I took the parcel from her, hefted it, and said, “You made me new daggers.”

She glared. “I hate when you do that.”

To appease her, I unfolded the fabric. “They’re beautiful.”

And they were. Only a Builder could do such fine work. She’d poured these just for me. I imagined the long hours over the fire and the time in the mold and the tempering and the polishing and sharpening afterward. They gleamed in the torchlight. I tested them and found them perfectly balanced. I executed a couple of moves to show her how much I liked them, and Stone jumped as if I might hit him on accident. He could be such an idiot. A Huntress never stabbed anything she didn’t intend to.

“I wanted you to have the best out there.”

“Me too,” Stone said.

He hadn’t bothered to wrap his gift; it was simply too big. The club wasn’t Builder quality work, but Stone had a fair hand with carving, and he’d taken a solid scrap of wood for the core. I suspected Thimble must’ve helped him with the banded metal along the top and bottom, but the fanciful figures cut into the wood came from him, no mistake. I didn’t recognize all of the animals, but it was lovely and solid, and I would feel safer with it on my back. He’d rubbed the carvings with some kind of dye, so they stood out from the grain. The decorations would actually make it harder for me to keep the weapon clean, but Stone was a Breeder, and he couldn’t be expected to think of things like that.

I smiled in appreciation. “This is wonderful.”

They both hugged me and then produced a treat we’d been saving for my naming day. Thimble had traded for this tin long ago—in anticipation of the occasion. The container itself offered unusual pleasure in that it shone bright red and white, brighter than most things we found down here. We didn’t know what was inside it; only that it had been sealed so thoroughly that we needed tools to pry it open.

A lovely scent drifted out. I had never smelled anything like it, but it was fresh and sweet. Inside, I saw nothing but colored dust. Impossible to tell what it might have once been, but the aroma alone made my naming day special.

“What is it?” Thimble asked.

Hesitantly, I touched a fingertip to the pink dust. “I think it might be to make us smell better.”

“Do we put it on our clothes?” Stone leaned in and gave a sniff.

Thimble considered. “Only for special occasions.”

“Anything in there?” I stirred, until I touched bottom. “There is!”

Elated, I drew out a square of stiff paper. It was white with gold letters, but they had a funny shape and I couldn’t read them. Some of them looked like they were supposed to; others didn’t. They looped and dropped and curled in ways that made them confusing to my eye.

“Put it back,” she said. “It might be important.”

It was important, if only for being one of the few complete documents we had from the time before. “We should take it to the Wordkeeper.”

Even though we’d traded for this tin fair and square, if it yielded a valuable enclave resource and we tried to keep it for ourselves, we could wind up in serious trouble. Trouble led to exile, and exile to unspeakable things. By mutual agreement, we replaced the paper and closed the tin. We shared a sober look, aware of the potential consequences. None of us wanted to be accused of hoarding.

“Let’s take care of it now,” Stone said. “I have to get back to the brats soon.”

“Give me a bit.”

Moving at a run, I headed to look for Twist. I found him in the kitchens, not surprisingly. I still hadn’t been assigned a private living space. Now that I’d been named, I could have a room of my own. No more brat dorm.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

I tried not to take offense. Just because I’d been named didn’t mean his treatment of me would improve overnight. To some, I’d be little more than a brat for a couple of years. Until I started edging toward elder territory.

“Just tell me where my space is?”

Twist sighed, but obligingly he led the way through the maze. Along the way, we dodged many bodies and wound through the layers of partitions and makeshift shelters. Mine sat in between two others, but it was four feet to call my own.

My room had three crude walls, constructed of old metal, and a ragged length of cloth for an illusion of privacy. Everyone had more or less the same; it only varied in terms of what trinkets people kept. I had a secret weakness for shiny things. I was always trading for something that glittered when I held it to the light.

“That all?”

Before I could answer, he went back toward the kitchen. Taking a deep breath, I pushed through the curtain. I had a rag pallet and a crate for my meager belongings. But nobody else had the right to come in here without my invitation. I’d earned my place.

Despite my worry, I smiled while I stowed my new weapons. Nobody would touch anything in here, and it was best not to visit the Wordkeeper armed to the teeth. Like Whitewall, he was getting on in years, and tended to be strange.

I didn’t look forward to this interrogation at all.

ENCLAVE Copyright © 2011 by Ann Aguirre

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First Chapter

Enclave


By Ann Aguirre

Feiwel & Friends

Copyright © 2011 Ann Aguirre
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312650087

Deuce 

I was born during the second holocaust. People had told us legends of a time when human beings lived longer. I thought they were just stories. Nobody even lived to see forty in my world.
Today was my birthday. Each one added a layer of fear, and this year, it was worse. I lived in an enclave in which our oldest had seen twenty-five years. His face was withered, and his fingers shook when he attempted the smallest tasks. Some whispered it would be a kindness to kill him, but they meant they didn’t want to see their futures written in his skin.
“Are you ready?” Twist stood waiting for me in the darkness.
He already wore his marks; he was two years older than me, and if he’d survived the ritual, I could. Twist was small and frail by any standards; privation had cut runnels into his cheeks, aging him. I studied the pallor of my forearms and then nodded. It was time for me to become a woman.
The tunnels were wide and laid with metal bars. We had found remnants of what might’ve been transportation, but they lay on their sides like great, dead beasts. We used them for emergency shelters sometimes. If a hunting party was attacked before it reached sanctuary, a heavy metal wall between them and hungry enemies made the difference between life and death.
I had never been outside the enclave, of course. This space comprised the only world I’d ever known, cast in darkness and curling smoke. The walls were old, built of rectangular blocks. Once they had borne color but the years had worn them gray. Splashes of brightness came from items we scavenged from deeper in the warren.
I followed Twist through the maze, my gaze touching on familiar objects. My favorite item was a picture of a girl on a white cloud. I couldn’t make out what she was holding; that part had worn away. But the words in bright red, HEAVENLY HAM, looked wonderful to me. I wasn’t sure what that was, but by her expression, it must have been very good.
The enclave assembled on naming day, everyone who had survived to be named. We lost so many when they were young that we just called all the brats Boy or Girl, along with a number. Since our enclave was small—and dwindling—I recognized each face shadowed by the half-light. It was hard not to let the expectation of pain knot my stomach, along with the fear I would wind up with a terrible name that would cling to me until I died.
Please let it be something good.
The oldest, who carried the burden of the name Whitewall, walked to the center of the circle. He stopped before the fire, and its licking flame painted his skin in terrifying shades. With one hand, he beckoned me forward.
Once I joined him, he spoke. “Let each Hunter bring forth his gift.”
The others carried their tokens and piled them at my feet. A mound of interesting items grew—and a few of them, I had no idea what purpose they might’ve served. Decoration, perhaps? People in the world before seemed obsessed with objects that existed simply to look pretty. I couldn’t imagine such a thing.
After they finished, Whitewall turned to me. “It’s time.”
Silence fell. Cries echoed through the tunnels. Somewhere close by, somebody was suffering, but he wasn’t old enough to attend my naming. We might lose another citizen before we finished here. Sickness and fever devastated us and our medicine man did more harm than good, it seemed to me. But I’d learned not to question his treatments. Here in the enclave, one didn’t prosper by demonstrating too much independent thought.
These rules permit us to survive, Whitewall would say. If you cannot abide by them, then you are free to see how you fare Topside. The eldest had a mean streak; I didn’t know if he had always been that way, or if age had made him so. And now, he stood before me, ready to take my blood.
Though I had never witnessed the ritual before, I knew what to expect. I extended my arms. The razor glinted in the firelight. It was our prized possession, and the oldest kept it clean and sharp. He made three jagged cuts on my left arm, and I held my pain until it coiled into a silent cry within me. I would not shame the enclave by weeping. He slashed my right arm before I could do more than brace. I clenched my teeth as hot blood trickled downward. Not too much. The cuts were shallow, symbolic.
“Close your eyes,” he said.
I obeyed. He bent, spreading the gifts before me, and then grabbed my hand. His fingers were cold and thin. From whatever my blood struck, so would I take my name. With my eyes closed, I could hear the others breathing, but they were still and reverent. Movement rustled nearby.
“Open your eyes and greet the world, Huntress. From this day forward, you will be called Deuce.”
I saw the oldest held a card. It was torn and stained, yellow with age. The back had a pretty red pattern and the front had what looked like a black shovel blade on it, along with the number two. It was also speckled with my blood, which meant I must keep it with me at all times. I took it from him with a murmur of thanks.
Strange. No longer would I be known as Girl15. My new name would take some getting used to.
The enclave dispersed. People offered me nods of respect as they went about their business. Now that the naming day ceremony was complete, there was still food to be hunted and supplies to be scavenged. Our work never ended.
“You were very brave,” Twist said. “Now let’s take care of your arms.”
It was just as well we had no audience for this part because my courage failed. I wept when he put the hot metal to my skin. Six scars to prove I was tough enough to call myself Huntress. Other citizens received less; Builders got three scars. Breeders took only one. For as long as anyone could remember, the number of marks on the arms identified what role a citizen played.
We could not permit the cuts to heal naturally for two reasons: They would not scar properly and infection might set in. Over the years, we had lost too many to the naming day ritual because they cried and begged; they couldn’t bear the white-hot conclusion. Now Twist no longer paused at the sight of tears, and I was glad he didn’t acknowledge them.
I am Deuce.
Tears spilled down my cheeks as the nerve endings died, but the scars appeared one by one, proclaiming my strength and my ability to weather whatever I found out in the tunnels. I had been training for this day my whole life; I could wield a knife or a club with equal proficiency. Every bite of food I ate that had been supplied by someone else, I consumed with the understanding it would be my turn someday to provide for the brats.
That day had come. Girl15 was dead.
Long live Deuce.
*   *   *
After the naming, two friends held a party for me. I found them both waiting in the common area. We’d come up together as brats, though our personalities and physical skills put us on different paths. Still, Thimble and Stone were my two closest companions. Of the three, I was the youngest, and they’d taken pleasure in calling me Girl15 after they both got their names.
Thimble was a small girl a little older than me, who served as a Builder. She had dark hair and brown eyes. Because of her pointed chin and wide gaze, people sometimes questioned if she was old enough to be out of brat training. She hated that; there was no surer way to rouse her temper.
Grime often stained her fingers because she worked with her hands, and it found its way onto her clothing and smudged her face. We’d gotten used to seeing her scratch her cheek and leave a dark streak behind. But I didn’t tease her anymore because she was sensitive. One of her legs was a touch shorter than the other, and she walked with a whisper of a limp, not from injury, but that small defect. Otherwise, she might easily have become a Breeder.
Because he was strong and handsome, but not especially bright, Stone landed as a Breeder. Whitewall figured he had good material in him, and if matched with a clever female, he should sire good, solid offspring. Only citizens with traits worth passing on were allowed to contribute to the next generation, and the elders monitored births carefully. We couldn’t allow more brats than we could provide for.
Thimble rushed up to examine my forearms. “How much did it hurt?”
“A lot,” I said. “Twice as much as yours.” I gave Stone a pointed look. “Six times as much as yours.”
He always joked he had the easiest job in the enclave, and maybe that was true, but I wouldn’t want the burden of making sure our people survived to the next generation. On top of siring the young, he also shared the responsibility of looking after them. I didn’t think I could deal with so much death. Brats were unbelievably fragile. This year, he’d sired one male, and I didn’t know how he dealt with the fear. I could barely remember my dam; she’d died young even by our standards. When she was eighteen, a sickness swept through the enclave, likely carried by the trading party from Nassau. It took a lot of our people that year.
Some citizens thought the offspring of Breeders should stay in that role. There was a quiet movement among the Hunters to take their number from their own—that once a Hunter got too old for patrols, he or she could sire the next crop of Hunters. I’d fought my whole life against that thinking. From the time I could walk, I’d watched the Hunters going off into the tunnels and known it for my destiny.
“It’s not my fault I’m handsome,” he said, grinning.
“Stop, you two.” Thimble got out a present wrapped in faded cloth. “Here.”
I hadn’t expected this. Brow raised, I took the parcel from her, hefted it, and said, “You made me new daggers.”
She glared. “I hate when you do that.”
To appease her, I unfolded the fabric. “They’re beautiful.”
And they were. Only a Builder could do such fine work. She’d poured these just for me. I imagined the long hours over the fire and the time in the mold and the tempering and the polishing and sharpening afterward. They gleamed in the torchlight. I tested them and found them perfectly balanced. I executed a couple of moves to show her how much I liked them, and Stone jumped as if I might hit him on accident. He could be such an idiot. A Huntress never stabbed anything she didn’t intend to.
“I wanted you to have the best out there.”
“Me too,” Stone said.
He hadn’t bothered to wrap his gift; it was simply too big. The club wasn’t Builder quality work, but Stone had a fair hand with carving, and he’d taken a solid scrap of wood for the core. I suspected Thimble must’ve helped him with the banded metal along the top and bottom, but the fanciful figures cut into the wood came from him, no mistake. I didn’t recognize all of the animals, but it was lovely and solid, and I would feel safer with it on my back. He’d rubbed the carvings with some kind of dye, so they stood out from the grain. The decorations would actually make it harder for me to keep the weapon clean, but Stone was a Breeder, and he couldn’t be expected to think of things like that.
I smiled in appreciation. “This is wonderful.”
They both hugged me and then produced a treat we’d been saving for my naming day. Thimble had traded for this tin long ago—in anticipation of the occasion. The container itself offered unusual pleasure in that it shone bright red and white, brighter than most things we found down here. We didn’t know what was inside it; only that it had been sealed so thoroughly that we needed tools to pry it open.
A lovely scent drifted out. I had never smelled anything like it, but it was fresh and sweet. Inside, I saw nothing but colored dust. Impossible to tell what it might have once been, but the aroma alone made my naming day special.
“What is it?” Thimble asked.
Hesitantly, I touched a fingertip to the pink dust. “I think it might be to make us smell better.”
“Do we put it on our clothes?” Stone leaned in and gave a sniff.
Thimble considered. “Only for special occasions.”
“Anything in there?” I stirred, until I touched bottom. “There is!”
Elated, I drew out a square of stiff paper. It was white with gold letters, but they had a funny shape and I couldn’t read them. Some of them looked like they were supposed to; others didn’t. They looped and dropped and curled in ways that made them confusing to my eye.
“Put it back,” she said. “It might be important.”
It was important, if only for being one of the few complete documents we had from the time before. “We should take it to the Wordkeeper.”
Even though we’d traded for this tin fair and square, if it yielded a valuable enclave resource and we tried to keep it for ourselves, we could wind up in serious trouble. Trouble led to exile, and exile to unspeakable things. By mutual agreement, we replaced the paper and closed the tin. We shared a sober look, aware of the potential consequences. None of us wanted to be accused of hoarding.
“Let’s take care of it now,” Stone said. “I have to get back to the brats soon.”
“Give me a bit.”
Moving at a run, I headed to look for Twist. I found him in the kitchens, not surprisingly. I still hadn’t been assigned a private living space. Now that I’d been named, I could have a room of my own. No more brat dorm.
“What do you want?” he demanded.
I tried not to take offense. Just because I’d been named didn’t mean his treatment of me would improve overnight. To some, I’d be little more than a brat for a couple of years. Until I started edging toward elder territory.
“Just tell me where my space is?”
Twist sighed, but obligingly he led the way through the maze. Along the way, we dodged many bodies and wound through the layers of partitions and makeshift shelters. Mine sat in between two others, but it was four feet to call my own.
My room had three crude walls, constructed of old metal, and a ragged length of cloth for an illusion of privacy. Everyone had more or less the same; it only varied in terms of what trinkets people kept. I had a secret weakness for shiny things. I was always trading for something that glittered when I held it to the light.
“That all?”
Before I could answer, he went back toward the kitchen. Taking a deep breath, I pushed through the curtain. I had a rag pallet and a crate for my meager belongings. But nobody else had the right to come in here without my invitation. I’d earned my place.
Despite my worry, I smiled while I stowed my new weapons. Nobody would touch anything in here, and it was best not to visit the Wordkeeper armed to the teeth. Like Whitewall, he was getting on in years, and tended to be strange.
I didn’t look forward to this interrogation at all.

 
Copyright © 2011 by Ann Aguirre

Continues...

Excerpted from Enclave by Ann Aguirre Copyright © 2011 by Ann Aguirre. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 349 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 349 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Rules are meant to keep you safe...

    All I can say is WOW! I received this book as a gift and thought I would start it in the evening. I took a peak and somehow lost the rest of my day. (In a good way) Thank you Ms. Ann Aguirre.

    I haven't read a book set in a post apocalyptic society. Nor have I read YA books in a while.

    What I liked about this book:
    1)Deuce. The book is in her POV. She a strong, fierce and loyal Huntress. She has always lived her life underground and trained to be a Huntress since she was a brat. After getting paired with Fade, an older boy and Hunter, she begins to question whether the Elders in the enclave are keeping things from them. She sticks up for her friend and gets exiled along with Fade. She has the will of a Huntress but the heart of a Breeder.
    2)Fade. He comes to the enclave partly starved and slightly feral. He is an outsider so he is never accepted by the people of the enclave. He is mysterious,strong and thoughtful. He always has Deuce's back whether she likes it or not.
    3)The subtle hints of a love triangle between Deuce, Fade and Stalker. What book is complete without a bit of a love triangle?
    4)The Freaks. Can I say that these zombie-like things gave me nightmares? I can still hear the sound of teeth ripping into flesh. I can still see their claw-like hands, razor sharp teeth dripping with blood, and smell death on their breaths.
    5)Movie-like description. As I was reading this book, I could almost see it like a movie playing in my head. (Are you listening Hollywood?)
    6)The fight scenes with the Freaks and later the gangers. I haven't read a book that has given me this many short bursts of adrenaline or heart palpitations. Ever.

    What I didn't like about this book:
    1)It left me wanting more. As in, I can't wait for the next book.

    31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Crazy good dystopian

    Straight up, if you liked Forest of Hands and Teeth, and Hunger Games, Enclave is the book for you. Honestly, I liked it better than FoH&T. Non stop action, perfect love story, great characters. The whole thing felt fresh. Not to mention superb writing. Loved it.

    23 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book with great characters. Kept me entertained

    Great book with great characters. Kept me entertained

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love this one--definitely check it out!

    Enclave is not your average dystopian novel. It's more gritty and brutal than a lot of the books out there. I admit, I loved it! Sometimes gory, always captivating, Enclave is a great addition to the dystopian market.

    Deuce knows nothing outside the Enclave. She has never wanted to know what was outside the Enclave or aboveground. Things change when she becomes a Huntress and is paired with Fade. The elders don't seem so brave anymore. In fact, they seem like cowards. Too bad Deuce and Fade don't have the power to stand up to them. Instead they are exiled to the Topside and new horrors await them there. Can they survive or will these new challenges tear them apart?

    Deuce is a very different kind of heroine. She is a fierce, brave, determined girl. She has no clue what to expect Topside but she goes anyway and makes the best out of things. Fade is in no way typical as well. He is not described as good-looking and while he is somewhat aloof, he has his reasons. I didn't care much for him at the beginning but he grew on me. Tegan, Stalker, Stone, and Thimble were okay in my opinion but nothing spectacular.

    The plot was great. There was always something going on and while it took me a little time to get into it, once I was in I was hooked. I actually read most of the book during my breaks at school. I didn't want to stop reading. It seemed like every other page something was jumping out and attacking Deuce and Fade. It was like a horror movie that I couldn't look away from.

    Overall, Enclave is a fabulous YA debut from Ann Aguirre and if you are a fan of grittier dystopian, check this one out!

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One KICK-BUTT Dystopian!

    THIS is why I freaking LOVE YA DYSTOPIANS!! Enclave was brutal and intense and scary and harsh and plain fantastic!

    Deuce has got to be the fiercest female lead I have ever read about. But then again she was raised to be that way. Deuce is so strong, yet in her thoughts she has this vulnerability of thinking she's not good enough and worrying she won't live up to her huntress status & that just made her seem really genuine to me. The enclave she comes from just boggles my mind. Where there are breeders and hunters and everyone is assigned to a specific task for the rest of their lives. Deuce's task is to protect her enclave from freaks.

    Then we have Fade, another hunter & Deuce's partner! Where do I even begin. Fade was just fabulous. Rugged and harsh on the outside but inside he just wants to be a protector, especially to the people he cares about.

    Deuce and Fade's partner ship was a match made in heaven. I feel like they balanced each other out in everyway. I'm not sure how to explain it, except I liked them together.. a lot! Seeing them grow to trust each other was honestly amazing! They would literally be fighting back to back, forming this strong connection that oozed right off the page! & the small intimate moments between them were almost overwhelming. There's so much intense emotion behind all Deuce and Fades actions, that when they aim those emotions at each other: SPARKS!

    Another character that really grew on me in the book was Stalker. The way in which we meet him isn't a pleasant one but after a certain situation, he changes. He exposed his weaknesses and I admired him for that. Honestly totally not hatin' on him at all.

    But the ultimate scenes in this book are when Deuce and Fade are put against the Freaks.... it's magic! The fights, oh my god the fights! I want to be a huntress, holy crap. Mrs. Aguirre sure knows how to write a brawl. Bloody and violently written but like so elegant you cant help to stop and think that the clashes are beautiful. <--- weirdo alert! Right?! But oh my goodness for real, this book is so vivid in its violence, like an in-your-face-guts-blood-disease-death way, that it's simply awesome.

    Then we come to the ending..the ENDING. in a way I was happy with it, but then again..not. I don't know, it definitely leaves the story wide open & I canNOT wait for the sequel!!

    I can't put into words how bomb this book was! GO PICK IT UP!!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Eh

    I wish people would stop saying things like "If you liked Hunger Games, you'll love Enclave" because, frankly, there's no comparison. I loved The Hunger Games. Enclave was alright. They really are not the same in many ways at all, except that it's set in a distant future America much different than the one we know now. The concept of Enclave is great. I love the idea of a zombie like plague, underground colonies. It could have been an excellent story. But it most definitely read like a teen novel. It wasn't particularly well written. At times it seems a bit rushed and jumpy. I found it a bit hard to really get into it or love because through nearly every single thing that happened in this book, I found myself wanting and wishing for more. And while left very open ended, I dont feel drawn to read the next in the series. Too bad.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    It was great

    If u luv the hunger games and the divergent series this is another perfect read!!!! Loved it ^.^

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    This book is amazing!

    This is flat out the best book I have ever read! At ten thirty pm I was really bored so I thought I could read the first couple of pages and by four am I was still reading! Let's just say I didn't get much sleep. I have read so many great books such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Virals, and Legend but this one topped them all! I would highly recomend this book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This series is amazing, and I am a picky reader. The story moves

    This series is amazing, and I am a picky reader. The story moves at a good pace, the events are believable, the characters are well developed, and you will never be able to see what's around the corner. I only wish the creatures were described from time to time.. Unless the lack thereof was meant for your imagination to picture your own monster.. Buah ha ha. :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Kate

    I loved it. On the list of my favorite books. I cant wait for the third book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. Though it was hard for me to initial

    I really enjoyed this book. Though it was hard for me to initially get into it, I ended up loving the characters and story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Not so good

    I read this book because I thought it would be like Divergent and Legend. It was not. It took me forever to finish and I barely understood what was going on half the time. Don't waste your money or time.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    One of the best.

    I'm a grandmother and I loved this book. Its the best thing I've read in a long long time. I wish it was part of a series, so I could read more about the characters and their experiences.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Adventurous and entertaining!

    Oh this one was really fun! Recommended especially one a lazy summer day. The action, apocalypse, zombies, and bit of romance will keep you enthralled until 3 in the morning. Or was that just me? Advice: Do not start reading this book when you should be studying for finals because it will take quite the lot of will power to stop.
    Our heroine, the love interest, the world, and everything in between are very fascinating. I especially loved how Deuce and Fade are so realistic. They both have their flaws and that makes them stand out all the more. The romance does not come out of nowhere, which I always appreciate. It is just the type of dystopian novel you would want to pick up on your next trip to the library or the bookstore. Deuce, our protagonist, lives in a post-apocalyptic world in which all she knows is what is told to her down in the underground tunnels where she and her enclave have been living. Sadly, it's not much of a life. For one, it's short (life expectancy is in its early 20's), has some eye brow raising rules, and it is dangerous. All she knows is darkness since she has never been above ground (it's called Topside). Never seen the sun, never seen people outside her enclave, never experienced most of what we get to thankfully experience everyday. The zombies (called Freaks by her people) she has been trained to kill are changing their ways, which is making everything much more difficult. All the while, questions keep making her wonder about the kind of people running her enclave.
    The action, suspense, and fight scenes really pick up towards the end, especially around the last part of the book. I was unable to put the book down and every time I had to (for human reasons ugh), it was terrible because all I could think about was the curiosity about what would happen next. It's a great feeling when reading a book.
    A few downsides to this book were that I did not love not knowing what happens to one of the characters. Numerous pages go by and we still are left not knowing. It's unfortunate that we will have to wait until the next book. I guess I'm just being picky. I also wished to know more information about the main characters. I MUST know more background information about how they became the way they did. I sure hope this is explained in the second book, because if not, I will be an unhappy camper. The first part of the book was also a bit slow for me, but honestly, that did not last because the pace picked up very quickly and stayed that way. I believe that what bothered me the most about this story was that we are never actually told when this is taking place. Maybe we will know in the second book. I sure hope so.
    -T.V and Book Addict

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great story

    Enclave starts on the naming day of Deuce, a young woman who has been training her whole life to be a Huntress, a protector and food gatherer for her clan which lives in an underground enclave. The tunnels mean a hard life, snaring what food can be caught, scavenging what remainders of society can be found and staying endlessly on guard against other clans, and the horrific, cannibal Freaks who roam the tunnels. At her naming, a passage from child to adult, Deuce starts to learn that all is not as it seems in the Enclave. Before she's ready to embrace the true role of a hunter she has to make a choice about what's right and wrong, and suffer the ire of those in power.
    Enclave is a perfect pot pie of a story. Take one kick-butt, but not over-done heroine, add in a hunky, tortured love interest, mix together in a savory post-apocalyptic sauce and bake until golden brown. Aguirre has done just that. Anyone who's seen Life After People will be completely satisfied with Aguirre's setting. Fans of her adult UF or SF series will find Deuce, Fade, and all of Aguirre's character just as solid and complex as they've come to expect. Paranormal YA fans will find much to rave about in Enclave, which is dark, gritty, but maintains a fierce level of hope in the form of its survivor leads and their sheer determination. Highly recommended for public collections this is the kind of book that keeps people engaged and reading, even if it has to grab readers by the throat and refuse to let go.

    Contains: violence, frank attitude toward sex & reproduction (but no graphic scenes)

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    I loved this book. I'm getting ready to read the second one soon

    I loved this book. I'm getting ready to read the second one soon. This was exciting, and scary.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Liked this book...a lot!

    This was my first read by Ann Aguirre but isn't the last. This was one of those books I was drawn into from the first page. I found myself rushing through things I had to do so I could get back to the book. If you are a dystopia fan you will love it and its not for any particular age range either. I'm a grandmother and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Amazing book

    This book is one of my favrotes i one it

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Good read

    Gave it five stars because it read very well, made me wish for a series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    I though this book was pretty decent.  It wasn't my favorite boo

    I though this book was pretty decent.  It wasn't my favorite book ever and I did not expect zombies to be in the book.  I thought the 
    beginning of the book was kind of slow, but it picked up the speed about 1/4 of the way into the book.  It was not the best dystopian novel 
    I have read either.  But if you want a slightly above average easy read with adventure and a little bit of romance, this is the book for you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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