A Stand Against YA Dystopian Romance

First things first: Cheesy book trailers are a thing. Did you know that they’re a thing? Cause they are.

The book is precisely 98% better than this trailer. Okay, so maybe not precisely, because I just made that number up, but it’s close. Seriously.

Enclave is a great novel. It brings the reader down into the underground tunnels of Deuce’s home through a dynamic, authentic, and unique first person point of view narrative. Even after just the first couple of chapters the reader is more than willing to believe that nothing exists on the Surface, that those who go there will die of noxious rain sicknesses, and that the Elders are all-knowing and beneficent rulers. I know I did. So when Deuce met Fade (and there were NO sparks or longing glances filled with lust) and he questioned everything she knew, I went right along with Deuce and held true to my beliefs about my home and my underground world. Suddenly Fade and Deuce are running around the tunnels, fighting Freaks, hunting for food (thankfully we never find out WHAT they are eating), and trying to whisper secrets in the dark without the Elders finding out. The Elders are strictly against *hoarding*, which they define as keeping any items that are not first shown to the Elders and approved. If the item has no value or cultural significance then the Finder may keep it if he or she wishes. When Deuce’s best friend Stone is wrongly accused of hoarding and exiled from the Enclave on “the long walk” she realizes that the Elders can make mistakes. They can be wrong. And she has to be the one to stand up to them to save her friend’s life. She is then exiled in his stead, along with Fade.

The Surface. Deuce marvels at everything we take for granted: the Moon, sunlight, plants, trees, the unending sky. And there are other people on the surface, who turn out to mostly be dangerous gangs. It takes Deuce a few days to understand the concept of a gang, and by the time she does her and Fade are on the run from the deadly Wolves. Kidnapped, beaten, and with Fade to be sacrificed and Deuce to be taken as a breeding prisoner the two are practically taking their last breaths. They manage to escape, freeing another prisoner named Tegan along the way, and strangely ending up allied with the Wolves’ leader, aptly named Stalker, as they fight for their lives against the Surface Freaks.

And then on to Book 2: Outpost. Where all the drama, intensity, dystopian viewpoints and suspense is smashed against a wall of pure romance. Ugh.

Fade is in love with Deuce. Deuce is completely oblivious that other people have feelings, especially feelings about her. She is just in so much wonder about the new Surface world and the town of Sanctuary, even though she has all the big words and complex thoughts to describe and understand them, that she can’t seem to comprehend that boys would have feelings for her. Fade spells it out for her, and they’re all gooey lovey-dovey in love with each other-ahem-“exlusive kissing rights with each other.” And there the story ends. NOT. It actually takes chapters and chapters of slow-moving debates about how to protect the town’s crops against the increasingly intelligent Freaks/Muties to get to. . .well. . .nothing. Nothing else happens. That’s it. So disappointing. I really don’t have anything else to say about this book, except that I hope the third one gets better. I’ll have to wait another year to find out.

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