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There Are No Ninja Turtles In This Book (Sorry)

A review of Enclave by Ann Aguirre, which joins the ever-growing dystopia bandwagon without bringing anything special to the party.

There Are No Ninja Turtles In This Book (Sorry)

BOOK REPORT for Enclave (Razorland Book 1) by Ann Aguirre

Cover Story: Heavy Metal
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: No Frills
Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude
Anti-Bonus Factors: Dystopia Sampler, WTF Names
Relationship Status: Rebound

Cover Story: Heavy Metal

I feel like I've seen this design before... on the cover of an 80s metal album. Which is kind of awesome, actually! Like, every time I opened it, I'd silently shout "SLAYER!" and do a little headbang. I much prefer something like this to another tilted emo face. It seems like this was created with teenage boys in mind, although someone should tell the designer that the SUPER SHINY COVER kind of detracts from the whole badass vibe.

Also, pro-tip: When the quote on the cover of a book doesn't say anything explicitly positive, that's not a good sign.

The Deal:

Did you guys ever read The Mole People? It's a true account of homeless people living in abandoned subway tunnels underneath NYC, and it's both fascinating and deeply disturbing. I mean, especially if you're a weenie like me because RATS. Well, in the enclave, they've got a lot more to worry about than rats. In fact, they like rats, because they eat them. LA LA LA I'M GOING TO FORGET I READ THAT. In a distant dystopian future, Deuce has just received her name (she was previously known as Girl15) and her job as a Huntress. She's thrilled to finally be able to venture into the underground tunnels that stretch out from her home and fight against the Freaks, zombie-like creatures that attack and eat anything they find. But when she gets assigned to partner with Fade, a boy brought to the enclave years ago from Topside, the dangerous world above ground, Deuce's hunting dreams take a sharp turn for crazytown. As she and Fade begin to work together, they quickly discover the rotten core of the enclave and are forced to venture out into the wild unknown of Topside.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Like any girl forced to eat rats (GAH) and fight nasty mutant people, Deuce is totally hard core. The girl is fierce, but she's also compassionate, which is good, because I'd probably get stabbed or clawed while hanging out with her, and I wouldn't want her to leave me behind in the dark, nasty tunnels. I would have liked to see a few more layers in her character, but that didn't stop me from fist pumping like a mofo. Her naivete when it comes to boys is understandable, but it's also frustrating, because HELLO HE LIKES YOU. DUH. There were a few times I wanted to smack her upside the head, but I refrained, because the girl could facepunch me unconscious.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

When it came to Fade, Aguirre spared no cliche. He's an MLD with a secret, tragic past and mad fighting skills, which means he's also totally cut. In the beginning, he and Deuce don't trust each other, and of course that makes for some fun romantic tension. Both of them are emotionally handicapped, so their attempts to open up to each other and express any kind of feelings are sweetly awkward, but never actually gave me any tingles. In my opinion, this book is more about action and world-creation than it is about character development, so the chemistry never deepened for me. And then there was the half-assed love triangle with a tough dude named Stalker (Yeah, I know), which felt way too contrived to be swoonworthy.

Talky Talk: No Frills

Aguirre's quick pacing and lack of flowery details make this book a super quick read. Through Deuce's eyes, we get a straight up play by play of every action, and while the writing sometimes feels basic, it keeps the plot moving at a nice pace. The lack of complexity softens the emotional impact of the story, but the endless adventures kept me entertained.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

As mentioned above, Fade has all of the requisite MLD qualities. He's not all-star material, but he's definitely hot.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dystopia Sampler

So, you know how places like Chili's offer appetizer sampler platters, which allow you to try both the Rockin' Taquitos AND the Kickass Mozzarella Stix? Well, this book is the dystopian version of that. So if you're deciding between The Hunger Games and Divergent and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, you can read this book and get small versions of all three! The good news is that some of those elements, like a badass heroine and scary zombies, are fun. The bad news is that this book just reminds me of how much better those elements are in other books.

Anti-Bonus Factor: WTF Names

I MEAN REALLY. Fade? Deuce? Stalker? And there's plenty more where that came from -- Thimble! Grime! Copper! It's like the dystopian version of the seven dwarves. Aguirre explains where the names come from, but it doesn't change the fact that it is impossible to take a guy named Fade seriously.

Casting Call:

Since Deuce is clearly modeled after Katniss, let's make this one easy and go with JLaw.

Jennifer Lawrence as Deuce

And if anyone can make a boy named Fade hot, it would be Ethan Peck.

Ethan Peck as Fade

Relationship Status: Rebound

Ever since I fell in love with Divergent, I've been pining for another book like it to take me in its arms and make me forget all about my TEABS. When I met Enclave, it reminded me of a few old flames, so I decided a little hook-up couldn't hurt. It definitely gave me a fun night, but the next morning, I woke up with that familiar old emptiness inside. I appreciate the book for giving me a nice distraction, but it's only a short term solution for my TEABS-filled heart.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Wunderkind PR.I received neither moneynor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Enclave is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).