Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review of Eve by Anna Carey

Sum it up: YA Dystopian Romance

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, 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 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 haven't read a YA novel in a lonnnng time, and I actually didn't even pick this one. My sister was reading it and thought it would be nice to have someone to discuss with, so I said why the heck not and started it. Eve was a relatively quick took me two days to finish it, in between errands. While it definitely wasn't a bad YA novel, it  could have been much better.

Basically, Eve is an orphan like many other children in this post-apocalyptic-plague era. Girls are sent to "schools" where they are educated, well-fed, athletic, and trained in areas of expertise and the humanities, like history or music or art. They graduate at 18 and move from the general housing area to a "graduate study building" on the other side of a lake that, conveniently, can't be crossed without a drawbridge (lol medieval times) because these poor girls don't know how to swim. They are taught that all men are vulgar evil sex addict pigs that should be avoided at all costs, except for the middle-aged King of The New America who is apparently the most kindhearted gentleman in the country (...yeah. You're not the only one shaking your head right now.) Men, as far as the girls know, live mostly "in the wild" (which means not in the City of Sand, where civilized people are rebuilding after the plague) and simply raise themselves like packs of animals, to hunt meat and hunt women. As for boy orphans, the girls have no idea what they live like but they assume they're all cavemen or whatever. One of the girls at Eve's school can actually swim, and she crossed the lake to discover that the "graduate building" is actually a breeding compound where all graduates are tied down, medicated, and forcefed while pregnant with literally litters of babies.

(Seriously it's okay if you're creeped out now.) 

She tells Eve about it blahblahblah they escape from the school, on the run from not only the School officials but the government as well because guess what? The King is coming to pick someone to provide him with an heir, and that someone is Eve! (If you're not facepalming at this point, you should be. But don't worry...the rest of the book is filled with uncomfortable weirdness so you'll have plenty more opportunities to smack yourself in frustration.)  

The beginning is really rushed, with barely any background info before you're thrown into Eve's escape trip (which is pretty much what the whole book is about.) You get a few scarce details about Eve's life, like how she ended up at the School (yes, capitalized. *cue moaning about overused literary techniques*) and some of the brainwashing things that the girls at the School are taught. I really would have appreciated more of a backstory, especially about the actual plague that occurred!

The romance is cute and awkward, especially due to Eve's years of brainwashing. It follows the sort-of typical path where the love interest is pretty much perfect, has a tragic past, is considerably more handsome and caring than other dudes around him, and wants nothing more than to spend every waking minute with his equally twitterpated OTL. Eve and Caleb meet, they disagree, they hash out a bunch of stereotypes they've held about each other, and then the reader is attacked by an invasion of the WarmNFuzzies as the two main characters stare dreamily into each other's eyes and realize that they're soulmates. I'm so so so very very very done with these "perfect" guys and obsessive relationships in YA fic. The romance is really what has driven me farther and farther away from YA in general. I've found my recent New Adult reads to be much more realistic, yet still sweet and romantic.

The plot is pretty sound, with a healthy dose of suspense and action to balance the annoying romantic scenes.  The scenery was described awesomely, and I loved the world that Anna Carey created. So desolate and dark, almost depressing. The main characters had their distinct personalities and flaws (well, except for perfect Caleb) but the minor characters, like Eve's friends left behind at the school, could have been written better IMO. The other School escapee, Arden, was a great contrast to Eve's obliviousness and her wilderness incompetence :) She helped to keep the story grounded, and was definitely a necessary character. 

The ending is strong, with a couple of surprise twists and events that lured me into reading the second book. Eve had come a long way from the naïve teacher's pet she was in the beginning of the book, and while she still irritated me and at times made me want to slap her, I was proud of her and (most of) her choices, and of the strong person she'd become.

While I was satisfied at the end of the book, I wasn't happy after reading it. No "OMG MUST READ THE NEXT BOOK ASAP OR I'M GONNA DIE" or positive vibes or emotional reaction, just irritation at the way the author used a cliché move to end it. On the other hand, I didn't hate it enough to drop the series altogether, so I'll be dragging myself through the next book soon. Overall, I'd recommend this book to a teen reader who enjoys/tolerates a typical tragic YA romance, and is looking for a fresh take on post-plague dystopia.

Lia's Rating: Okay Read/Liked It 

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