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Enclave

by Thomas Locke

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Nearly one hundred years have passed since the Great Crash. What was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed at the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern region, is relatively stable. It maintains successful business relations with nearby enclaves. But when a new vein of gold is discovered beneath the feet of its citizens, it's only a matter of time before trouble finds them. Now Catawba's fate depends on an untried young trader named Caleb. Could his plan help secure the enclave's future? Yet Caleb is keenly aware that if his secret were exposed, he would not live to see another dawn.… (more)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This story is so horrible I don't know if I should even waste my time writing about all the ways it fails.
-the main characters, all heroes, are all men (likely caucasian, because there are references to others as African-American, Hispanic, Latino)
-yes, there are a few female characters but they feel like tokens
-all the "good people" are generally attractive, speak proper English, and are "liked" by the other characters (I'm not sure why it is so important, but incidental characters who are helpful and on the side of the good guys are "liked" by the main characters -- seriously, the author uses the word like, as in "Kevin liked this guy". Terrible writing)
-all the "bad guys" (and they're generally all male except for a few token females) are ugly, badly dressed, and/or speak uneducated English as though they were raised in a rural, non-schooled environment. Oh I wish the world was so neatly divided and it was so simple to distinguish the good people from the bad people.
-speaking of neat divisions, while this book would officially fit in a "dystopia" category, as it takes place 300 years in the future, it is more of a utopia. If your perfect world is Wild West meets the Incredibles/X-men. The guns are all rifles and pistols, they use horse & buggy (eventually trucks that never run out of fuel or breakdown), the heroes have literally struck gold, and when they get to their destination (Atlanta...a reference to the city of Atlantis or just Southern pride, I can't tell) it is like they enter the Emerald City of Oz because suddenly there are all of our modern conveniences. --Which is leads to my next critique, for a civilization 300 years in the future NOTHING HAS CHANGED. There is no new technology, they use the one remaining satellite for a GPS phone, but otherwise it is today's stuff or 150 years ago tech. Yes, there is some unexplained "Great Crash" but 300 years gives them a lot of time to re-invent or invent new stuff. No imagination for what this world would look like other than what currently exists (even in the Emerald City/Atlanta. And the racial divisions that exist today still exist in this story. I'm hoping 300 years of procreation blends the population to greatly diminish these lines or at least change the terminology. But not in this world.
-the premise of the book is to rescue a main character's love. Groan. The men actually say they feel like warriors, and the girl just knew he'd find her. All the male characters want to get married and have a family and it's so Little House on the Prairie in terms of family values. (Yes, I know this is a Christian publisher but it's very conservative right). The treatment and attitude towards women is enough to make this book terrible. it's not overt, but it is blatant when you open your eyes.
-the super powers of the "extras" (my term for the characters who have genetic modifications; they are called specials or mentats in the book, but they get no personalities and many would barely get a credit line beyond "Special #1" if this was a movie), anyways, the superpowers are pulled out so perfectly at the end and so neatly conquer the enemy that it isn't interesting. "it would be helpful to scramble the brains of the guards so they just let us in" "oh, we have someone who can do that" etc. They talk about needing a leader (our heroes) but these people have such great powers, why are they treated like minions who have no brains of their own and couldn't organize themselves without some man who feels specially called to lead them?
That's enough. I think this book goes straight to the blue bin.

I got it through LibraryThing early reviewers...a few years ago. It took a pandemic for me to actually read it. That in itself is telling. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Aug 15, 2020 |
While Enclave seems a bit slow at the beginning, I thought it was worth the read..

The story is set in a future where the easy lifestyle we have now is in the past. It's referred to as the big crash in the story. Life has become basically a wild west type of existence. People live in Enclaves and trade with other Enclaves. Caleb has been tasked with secretly selling his Enclave's gold. While they need the money from the gold, if other Enclaves found out that they had it, they would invade and try to take it for themselves.

Caleb's trip starts out badly when he shows that he is a "special" to the wrong people. Specials are people with powers. They are feared in general and have to hide their powers. The story follows the adventure and problems that befall Caleb, his best friend, and a friend they met along the way.

There was a lot of buildup to a very abrupt ending. I am hoping there will be other books set in this world with these characters. I would love to know what happens to them next.. ( )
  Dragontears22 | Jun 20, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thomas Locke's novel Enclave takes us on a familiar trip set in a post apocalyptic America where the powers that be are out of control and the struggle ordinary citizens have against this oppressive regime. As a backdrop you have a dystopian setting and that is blended in with the heart of the plot which is about American citizens who are different and their quest to find a place where they can be accepted. However, it is not race that sets them apart, but 'special abilities'.

Several characters are involved and they are quite clearly defined as was the plot. My only suggestion is that the book was not deep enough. I felt what I was reading was a first draft. Locke could have taken this story and easily doubled the pages. I felt there were many opportunities where sub-plots could have been expanded.

Overall it was an enjoyable read, I liked the characters and the overall story. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Jan 13, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A good, quick read with no glaring problems. Lest I damn with faint praise here's what I liked about Enclave.

It's optimistic and focuses on what good people can do when they work together. Sometimes you just want a little decency in your fiction, and Enclave has that. The writing is smooth and what I would expect of the better sort of straight forward speculative fiction. The plot travels at a decent place and the southern US setting comes through strongly, which gives the story a lot of its flavor. Even though the premise of the story, where a bunch of psychics are being rounded up and have navigate a nearly lawless post-apocalyptic America, creates some problems with power imbalance the book manages to maintain a certain amount of tension.

When I was reading it I was wondering to myself if this is supposed to be YA, both because I don't know what qualifies as YA at all anymore and because the story is very simple. It's made simpler by the fact that the main protagonist is capable of determining the intentions of the people around him, which gives him an edge in decision making and removes a sense of anticipation from the reader. This power doesn't give him complete plot armor, but it does make it hard to see how he could slip up.

The worldbuilding is okayish. I liked the way the book setup the breakdown of society better than many post apocalpses, but the whole idea of how "specials" were made and what's happening with them is best handwaved.

The ending is a bit of an messy action scene but the rest of the book that comes before is a nicely paced, human-level plot that made me care enough read through in a few sittings. I'm curious enough about what will happen next. While the immediate plot is resolved by the end, there's clearly a setup to sequels, and a lot is still left in the air by the last page. ( )
  bokai | Jan 2, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reminiscent of X-men and Jedi mind-tricks. It's a decent book and the ending leaves the possibility for future titles. I found the first portion of the book more interesting than the last part; the ending seems to be rather rushed.
  LoamParticle | Dec 4, 2018 |
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Nearly one hundred years have passed since the Great Crash. What was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed at the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern region, is relatively stable. It maintains successful business relations with nearby enclaves. But when a new vein of gold is discovered beneath the feet of its citizens, it's only a matter of time before trouble finds them. Now Catawba's fate depends on an untried young trader named Caleb. Could his plan help secure the enclave's future? Yet Caleb is keenly aware that if his secret were exposed, he would not live to see another dawn.

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