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Reading Under the Willow Tree

Environmental Science student, book reader, big dreamer, Sailing/Kayak/Surf instructor, Film buff, Adventurer, Girl.

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Enclave - Ann Aguirre For this review and more visit my blog

The problem with writing a book in a genre that is incredibly popular with readers and authors is how to make it different from all the other books out there? Dystopian has been done over and over again, it is still a genre I love but it is getting harder to find something original and fresh. That is what really hindered this book; there was nothing about it that made it stand out from the crowd.

The story line is ok but how many times have you read a book about a corrupt government set in a post-apocalyptic future, how many times have you seen communities living underground or zombie like creature making life difficult? I have read it all too many times now. Despite this I did enjoy the first half of Enclave, Aguirre’s world building is good and I found life in the tunnels interesting. When the story departed the tunnels I lost interest. It all got a little bizarre and a bit boring; there were also moments that I found uncomfortable, which I will get to in a second.

The characters didn’t really help matters. I found Deuce annoying at times, she had no emotional depth at all. I liked Fade but he didn’t have enough personality for me to really care about him. The romance between them seemed to come out of nowhere and lacked chemistry.

So, on to the uncomfortable bit, I fully understand that rape and forced impregnation is a horrific yet probably realistic vision of what a post-apocalyptic world might look like. I expect things like this to be bought up in dystopian novels. In this book there are groups that gang rape girls and woman and treat them appallingly, I do not have a problem with this, as I said it is a realistic portrait of a dystopian future. The author decided to make the leader of this gang redeemable, now, it doesn’t sit all that well with me but I don’t have an issue with that either. He was bought up and taught to believe that this treatment of woman was not only acceptable but necessary. There is no education, no ‘mother figures’ in this world to teach him right from wrong. One big issue was that this character did nothing to redeem himself at all, he was as nasty at the end as he was in the begining.

What I HAVE a problem with is that this character is portrayed as a viable love interest for Deuce. I cannot fathom how that is acceptable especially in YA fiction. I was appalled by Deuce’s lack of concern that the guy who was not only raping other girls but at one point was planning to rape her then hand her over to the other men in his gang was romancing her, it didn’t bother her at all and when he got her alone and made a move she didn’t prevent it. As if this is not bad enough they are traveling with a girl who was repetitively raped by this gang, and bore 3 children by them and she is brushed off as weak. And rape guy is all like ‘she is no good for anything else’ and everyone else is like ‘ok if you say so’, I just don’t get it and it honestly made me really angry.

I will read the next book in the series, I have heard it is better than this and although it looks like it is heading that way it is not a love triangle just yet. If it goes that way I will be out but for now I am prepared to give this series another go.