Readers Write: Review of Ann Aguirre’s Conclave (& Reader’s Choice C*ntest)

Today for “Readers Write,” I’m welcoming guest reviewer Carien, who’s sharing a review of Enclave, first in Ann Aguirre’s Razorland YA series, which was released in 2011. I’ve heard awesome things about this series, and Enclave is waiting patiently on my virtual TBR pile, already purchased. 
Read on for Carien’s review and a chance to win this book or your choice of another of author Ann Aguirre’s books.

ABOUT ENCLAVE: 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 Deuce 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.

Review by Carien (you can read her Goodreads profile here)

A Scene I’d Read Twice: 
Deuce and Fade are send on a trip to another enclave. During this trip Deuce gets some new insights in both Fade as the enclave she grew up in. These insights force her to re-evaluate her view of the world she grew up in. I really loved reading how Fade made Deuce think about things and how this shook up her life.

I Didn’t Quite Buy:
There are some small inconsistencies in the story, like Deuce using the word window and then later on in the story she suddenly doesn’t know what a window is. These are very minor though and I think most readers wouldn’t notice.

The World:
The first part of the story takes place in an underground enclave. The rules of the enclave are strict and harsh. It made for a really intriguing setting and I loved discovering more about the enclave and the world around it. It was fun to read how this world is set up and to discover through the descriptions that are given where the enclave is set and to see things that are common to us through the eyes of Deuce.
       Later on in the story when Deuce and Fade travel outside of the enclave the setting grows even more grim and gritty. Ann Aguirre describes everything in such colourful detail I could easily picture it. It is one of the better Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic settings I have encountered in my reading.

The Characters: 
Deuce – Deuce grew up in the enclave and has worked hard to become a Huntress. She is proud to be one of the people who protect the enclave and provide food for those living there. But when she is partnered with Fade she learns there’s a lot more to the enclave than she ever knew.
Fade – Fade isn’t born in the enclave but was taken in as a young boy. He doesn’t fit in and is a loner, but when partnered with Deuce he has to decide whether she can be trusted with the secrets he keeps.

General Thoughts: 
This book is absolutely awesome in my opinion.
It has everything I love: suspense, kick-ass action, terrifying monsters, betrayal, hope and even love. It’s gritty, dark and full of emotion. I like how Aguirre doesn’t pull any punches and shows the gruesome reality of a world in ruins and what mankind can turn into when the worst comes to the worst.

Thanks, Carien! I really do think I’d love this. Have any of you guys read it? Ann Aguirre has a few terrific series out there (Corine Solomon, anyone?)–do you have a favorite? Weigh in for a chance to win your choice of Ann’s books. 

Interested in doing a guest review for Preternatura and telling us about a book you love? Email me and let me know. Reviews should be in a speculative fiction genre, and will include a link back to your website or blog.
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

21 thoughts on “Readers Write: Review of Ann Aguirre’s Conclave (& Reader’s Choice C*ntest)

  1. i have it on my wishlist but so far i only read grimpspace by her with sirantha jax for heroine.

    thank you a lot for this review Carien

  2. I keep coming across these books and telling myself that I need to wait to buy them simply because my TBR is so massive right now. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to hold out!

  3. I seriously love this series so hard. Move it to the top of your TBR pile!!!

    Ann is so meticulous (for the most part, aside from Carien pointing out the window thing) about her worldbuilding and in book 2 it’s really interesting because she sets it in-the-future of a real location today, but not a location you would expect and not one you’d realize is based on reality unless you read her notes or an interview. She doesn’t shy away from SERIOUS topics (rape and PTSD among them) and treats them in as respectful and accurate a way as she can.

    I am so excited to see what she does in book 3!

  4. you’re right I didn’t notice the things, it’s funny. But I liked the book and thanks to you for it too Carien! I’m curious to read book 2.

  5. @Melliane: book two is so good! I must get it for you for your birthday.

    And I love Ann Aguirre’s writing. The only series I haven’t started yet are the books she writes as Ava Gray.

  6. I love everything Ann Aguirre write!!!! My favorite one is Grimspace.

    +1 comment

  7. Thanks for the great review! I really liked this book too. I loved, loved, loved the Jax series she wrote and I liked the Corinne Solomon series (but fell a bit behind). Thanks for sharing!

  8. I haven’t read this book yet, but I love her Sirantha Jax and Corine Solomon series. I met Ann Aguirre at RT last year. She sat on some great panels and was a lot of fun to met in person.

  9. Nope, haven’t read this! I’m waiting for the last book to be released before starting this series (already have too many ongoing series’ and I don’t really have time to go back and re-read the previous books). But I have read book one of Sirantha Jax.

    Thanks for the review, Carien. I’m really interested to see how Ann wrote the character not knowing a window bit. xD

  10. I actually haven’t read any of her books, but I did just recently buy this and it’s sitting on my shelf! I can’t wait to get started, this sounds like a really good series

  11. I do have Enclave but I just haven’t picked it up yet and I am so ashamed of that! All I’ve heard are great things about Ann Aguirre so I need to make a reading list where I can get Enclave in! Thanks for the review 🙂

  12. I love Ann Aguirre’s books, and my favorites are her Sirantha Jax series. Such an awesome world and fantastic characters, I was so sad when it ended. It seems she has a lot of new things coming though, so I’m very happy to see the new work.

  13. Someday you will sway me to read one of those books Carien. And I do even have some of her other books on my shelves. Thanks for the great review.