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Teen Advisory Board Member Amanda Reviews Enclave.
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
When war and plague rule the land, the inhabitants of New York City must move underground into enclaves in order to survive. It’s no easy life, fighting for your survival and with the average life expectancy being in the 20s. With life underground and the knowledge of everything known before destroyed, new jobs and statuses have to be created. Classified into three main sectors, the hunters, the builders, and the breeders, the human race is simply surviving. Generations after moving underground, Deuce is born. On her 15th birthday, everything she has been working for is achieved as she finally becomes a huntress, trained to hunt down food and defend the enclave from the Freaks, or the mutated humans after the war. Being paired with Fade, a boy from the Topside, she finally sees the corruption and secrets the enclave had hidden for so long.
Dystopian is one of my favorite genres to read because of the world-building, and Enclave set up the tone perfectly. Deuce is caring, passionate, and strong, and won’t take nonsense from anyone. I loved her character and the way she grew up not during a traumatic post-apocalypse event, but instead generations after. Rather than waiting for some military official or such in a world where the average person doesn’t know how to fight, she grows up knowing that she trained for such a moment and that no one could take that from her.
On the flip side, Deuce isn’t without anxiety and flaws but learns how to deal with them in her own way. Many doubted her because her parents weren’t hunters and she didn’t have the experience in her blood. Although she has trained to fight in the tunnels, she has never been in such a situation where any step could be fatal. This creates human worries and stress about not being enough, something which many can relate to, huntress or not. Instead of some untouchable female heroine, Deuce realizes the flaws in her ambition and takes a step back.
Although there is certainly a lot of romance, the plot focuses the most on Deuce. However, where there is romance it’s sweet and caring in a unique way. The relationship between Deuce and Fade is slow and stilted, but they definitely care for each other. It’s a lot of waiting for the other to act first, capturing the essence of teenage love. It’s romantic, genuine, and angsty.
This book could honestly be perfect for any readers of YA, no matter what genre. Love, grief, history, future - it’s all here. Specifically, fans of Throne of Glass and And I Darken should totally give Enclave a try because of the similar elements they share.
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Teen Advisory Board Member Ava Reviews Grave Mercy
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Ismae escapes from an abusive arranged marriage with a brute. When she arrives at the convent of Saint Mortain, the cloister of killer nuns inform her the god of Death has blessed her with violent powers and, should she accept to train under them, a great destiny. After she chooses to train as an assassin, she is given her first mission: kill a man residing in the courts of Brittany. But matters complicate once she begins falling for the very man she’s ordered to slaughter.
I absolutely adore the main character, Ismae, who needs no knight in shining armor, but didn’t let that blind her from the possibility of love. Too often books feature a “strong” female who cripples when their love interest departs, proving how strong they actually are. But my favorite aspect of this book is how women, hurt not only by men but by society’s limiting expectations, unite to heal while taking revenge on the men who have endangered other women. Ismae develops lasting friendships with females, instead of the usual girl-pitted-against-girl trope.
If you’re in the mood for a refreshing combination of historical fiction and fantasy, GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers is definitely the right read! Another bonus: this is just the first book of the His Fair Assassin trilogy, so there’s more to look forward to after you’ve turned the last page.
-Review written by Ava, Age 14