Written by Anna Carey
Published December, 2011 by HarperTeen
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Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust… and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
I had no expectations when going into Eve, but from the very first page I got the feeling that this simply wasn’t the book for me. Although I adore dystopians, Eve felt like a conglomeration of many of my favourites minus the heart that made each one special. While the middle of the book was somewhat redeeming – and the book proved to be a quick and easy read – it just wasn’t enough in the long run.
Eve has dashes of almost every other dystopian I’ve read so far. I guess that’s what happens when you immerse youreself in a certain ‘genre’ in the YA market, but I was hoping that Eve would bring something special, something of its own, to the table. The story started out shaky and somewhat like a skeleton of what could have been a really good premise. Scenes were too short, somehow missing the ‘meat’ that they really required. I couldn’t make myself become attached to Eve or to her friends, no matter how much I tried. There simply wasn’t ENOUGH.
Before I knew it, Eve was skipping into new territory and the whole plot was flying this way and that way. The horrible ‘truth’ of Eve’s school was revealed early on in the book – women were being used to breed – and it wasn’t exactly shocking. I couldn’t imagine being in that situation myself, but unfortunately Anna Carey didn’t make me FEEL that I was. It would’ve made things a lot different for the reader, I think.
I didn’t like Eve as a character. As the titular protagonist, I expected something incredible from her – something captivating – but instead I just grew increasingly irritated. She was naive (which was to be expected giving her upbringing), but if Anna Carey wanted us to give stock to her naivity, she should’ve also proven Eve’s trust issues to be more than they were facing the circumstances. Eve was hesitant at first upon meeting Caleb, yes, but not enough so that it reflected the years of being taught to fear men. Her ease with Caleb came too quickly.
Disregarding that, however, their relationship/friendship was pleasant enough and carried the book forward. Eve’s time at the underground dugout was when the book started to improve for me, as the pacing finally slowed down enough for the reader to catch their breath and experience the characters. Unfortunately, when it came time for the gang to raid the supply outpost, or whatever it was, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief.
The boys – and men – who lived so ‘secretly’, training their peers to be warriors and the like – allowed themselves to linger in a place they could be so easily found – a Government troop outpost that had been temporarily abandoned while the soldiers were off on a search for Eve. The boys also allowed themselves to become drunk, playing piano and generally being yahoos, creating noise and possibly attracting attention. They then slept there for the night. I just didn’t understand WHY this seemed like a safe move from people that prided themselves on remaining free from the clutches of the Government. Not to mention they mainly broke into the compound for CANDY and Fundip? If it was a supply run, why not just take the stuff and go as quick as possible?
Eve’s time at the shack in Sedona was also another highlight for me, with the elderly couple who sheltered orphans. I was disappointed to see how it transpired, however, and how Eve was VERY much to blame for that. It just proved to me that Eve – no matter how much she thought she was was ‘growing’ – had hardly grown at all since leaving the School. If someone was expected to survive out in the wilderness, out of the clutches of the Government, you think she’d know enough not to send a radio transmission – code or not – with location details and her real name.
Toward the end of the book, more events were quickly thrown together scene after scene; a snow storm, hijacking a Government car, camping by a roadside, etc. It all felt a little too jagged for my liking and I couldn’t believe the distance Eve and Caleb had supposedly travelled. I don’t know that much about American landscapes, but it felt like they were in the red hot desert one minute and then in a snow storm the next.
There’s another book in the series, entitled Once, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it. If the premise of Eve sounds like it’s your kind of book – give it a shot – but from personal reading experiences, there are much better dystopians that follow a similar storyline out there such as Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands & Teeth series or Enclave by Anne Aguirre. For me, Eve was just too sparse and too unbelievable for me to fully enjoy.
Recommended to: I’m sure this is a big audience for Eve out there, I’m just not part of it. If you’ve never read a dystopian before, maybe try this one – it might be a nice transition into the genre since it isn’t too heavy and has a page count of just over three-hundred pages.