Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enclave by Kit Reed

Odd book. Very.

I read a newspaper book review of Enclave and got very excited. I can't remember the exact wording, but it made me think of China MiƩville whose Perdido Street Station was an incredible, if completely left-of-center book. It introduced me to the world of cyberpunk which I can take in small doses and enjoy when I do. So, I've spent the past couple of months hunting down Reed's Enclave. And imagine my delight when the author blurb on the cover was written by Connie Willis, another of my favorite authors. Now I knew this was going to be an amazing book.

Having read it, I just don't know. I can't even really categorize the subject. It's not science fiction, but it's closer to sci fi than any other genre. Given Reed's other books, I might classify it as literary fiction.

Anyway, the plot involves a military officer, the purported end of the world, and a bunch of rich tech-savvy kids who need boarding school to save them from themselves. It is two parts Lord of the Flies, one part Clueless with a pinch of Heart of Darkness thrown in for good measure. One of the appeals of Reed's story is how in touch she is with current pop culture and internet lingo. The kids in the story worry about their World of Warcraft characters and discuss the number of hits their YouTube videos had.

There is a lot of promise, I just don't feel that the book delivers everything is has set itself up to be. The review and the dust jacket were so promising. The set up was engaging. But about 100 pages in, I just got bored. I kept waiting for that big surprise and it never came. The characters didn't really develop from their experiences. The coda at the end could have offered more, but as it was it seemed really pat given the rest of the story.

My husband loves unique books. He enjoys novel twists and unthought of storylines. When I grabbed this book at the library I fully intended to have him read it after I had finished. I'm glad I finished Enclave or I would have been forever curious. But, as it stands, I took the book back today without offering it to him. It just didn't have enough to make it worthwhile.

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