The blurb from the back of the ARC:
Deuce lives in an enclave, deep underground. Her friends are her family; her life revolves around training to become a Huntress, one of the elite cadres who protect the enclave.
Deuce is partnered with a mysterious Hunter named Fade, who is said to have lived in the surface world as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--which seem to be growing more and 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, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade's long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.
The best thing about ENCLAVE, by far, is the setting. The author clearly put lots of thought into the setup of her post-apocalyptic world. There are communities living underground in tunnels, protecting themselves from the almost but not quite human-like Freaks who live outside their enclaves. Above ground, it’s a mess of feral gangs and crumbling buildings. I always had a very vivid mental picture of the environment, and it was realistically grim. Also interesting is how the oldest person in the main character’s enclave is twenty-five. Enough babies don’t make it through childhood that they aren’t named until they grow older and have a ceremony.
The book is very fast-paced, but does have calm moments throughout, too, so it never gets exhausting. It has that zombie-book tension (the Freaks are not zombies, but behave comparably) where even when the characters seem like they might be safe for a minute, they’re not. Deuce is capable of taking care of herself – at least, as well as anyone else in the book is, and better than many, and she is a likeable character. I did sometimes wish she’d take more initiative, though.
The primary love interest character, Fade, has an interesting history, and in fact I found that in general, the book’s characters were all unique and interesting. Toward the end, there was one moment that felt out of place, which I won’t describe since it’s unkind to spoil later parts of books! I also wasn’t a huge fan of a semi-love triangle that popped up when I didn’t really expect or want it. And I wished a few loose ends could have been tied up, particularly relating to Deuce’s enclave.
Definitely be on the lookout for this book if you enjoy post-apocalyptic tales, because it takes its own unique and completely realistic twist on what a post-apocalyptic world will look like.
ENCLAVE comes out on April 12, 2011.