WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
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.
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.
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.
Deuce, formerly known as Girl 15, has earned her place among her people as a Huntress. With her six scars on her forearms she has gained the recognition that she deserves for the job that she does. As a defender & food hunter for the enclave, one of her main duties is keeping her people safe & fed. But when she receives Fade, a veteran hunter with a dark history, as her partner she's not entirely sure what to think. She figures as long as they follow the enclave's strict rules that all will be well. It doesn't take long for this duo to stray quite far from those rules in the name of doing what's right.
The information they learn, that the Freaks (hideous, former humans that have become feral monsters) have overrun the next closest enclave, should shake up their whole existence. Yet the elders seem to pay the duo no mind & continue to punish them. That is when Deuce's unshakable belief is challenged. Do the elders really know what's right anymore? And do they know more than they are telling the people just so they can remain in control?
This was one roller coaster of a dystopian, adventure story. Set in an underground, near-future world Enclave is everything I've been looking for in a book. The characters are dynamic & engaging & the plot moves rather quickly. I felt like every time I started to get a handle on the situation, something else would change & I would have to reevaluate what I'd learned. Such non-stop action allowed me to enjoy the swiftness of the story without making me feel like I was missing critical information by reading so fast.
The funnest part of the whole book was trying to figure out what items the characters were looking at & where the book takes place. There's a time when Deuce & her friends find a wedding invitation & don't know what to make of it. They take it to the Wordkeeper who reads it to them, but does not elaborate on the meaning of the word. Things like that really give a stark contrast from today's world to the one that Deuce inhabits. I had a tough time placing the setting until very late in the story, but I had fun with the puzzle anyway.
For those who want to read a fast-paced, thrilling ride that offers more depth & challenges your sense of "normal standards," this is the book for you. I blew through it in 2 days & have the second one ready to go for this work week's lunchtime read. :)