Author: Anna Carey
Genre: Dystopia / Speculative Fiction
Summary: Eve has lived most of her life in the confines of School, protected and safe from the wild beasts and the cruel men who live beyond the high walls. It has been sixteen years since a deadly virus has wiped out most of earth’s population and Eve is excited to be a part of the future of New America – until she discovers the School’s sinister intentions for her and her classmates. After escaping from School, everything Eve has been educated to believe is challenged as she seeks refuge from the soldiers who hunt her and the fate that awaits her.
Favourite Scene: When Eve’s time with Otis and Marjorie comes to an end – I can’t give too much information because I don’t want to spoil it, but the end of this time together is brutal enough to remind you that not all fiction has to sugarcoat the “reality” of survival in a post-apocalyptic environment, which could be forgotten in this otherwise “romantic” vision of a dystopian future.
Favourite Character: I adored the orphans, namely Benny and Silas, for their innocence and their complete devotion to Eve. The lack of emotional support the boys have received from their “rough” leader allows for Eve’s kindness to have a positive influence on the orphans and you can perceive their need for a “mother” figure. This leads me to a bit of a tirade against representations of women, however, as Eve is something of a feminine, “sweet as pie” female figure – helpless, constantly in need of guidance and support, and adopting the role of nurturing woman with the orphans far too quickly. While this can be explained by the upbringing she has had, there is much to be said for the domesticity of the novel’s female protagonist.
Review: I’m having some issues with representations of women in young adult fiction. I’ve been churning through novels recently and, quite frankly, I’m sick of teenage girls having monogamous relationships with teenage boys who dote upon them and worship them as feminine creatures worthy of being firmly planted on a pedestal. These relationships also have a sense of permanence and the female and male find themselves committed to each other for the rest of their lives. I know this has been a major issue in young adult fiction for quite some time, but it’s really starting to bother me. I have to flag this now as it’s going to skew my review of the book. To be clear: I am not a fan of monogamous, long-term committed relationships in young adult fiction (maybe it’s my cynical side).
Now we have that out of the way, I’ll try to give an unbiased review of the book.
I didn’t like it. It’s yet another young adult novel that has yet another sequel (it is referred to as a “series” and as a “trilogy” so maybe we’ll only be cursed with three) and I’m sick of having to spend money on multiple slow-moving books only to arrive at a predictable end that was foreseeable from the blurb on the back of the first book.
Jaded? Yes. A tad cranky? No, a lot cranky. The cliché writing was almost depressing and I’m not sure how many descriptions of Caleb’s chest are necessary in a single chapter, but based on this book the author has decided that somewhere between 3 and 5 is acceptable.
I love young adult novels. I love post-apocalyptic and dystopian settings. I love speculative fiction. There are some excellent novels out there that nestle in these categories – Eve isn’t one of them. There is little that is thought-provoking and the pacing makes for little excitement. The plot is simple, slow-moving, and too easy to read for the characters or the plot to stay with you once you’ve turned the final page.
Yes, I’m being brutal today. Want a good dystopian young adult novel? Go for Philip Reeve or, for the romantics who don’t mind a bit of monogamy but still want something interesting to read, try Ally Condie.