EVE by ANNA CAREY
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
I’ll be honest, dear readers…I didn’t finish this book. I know, I’m sorry. Before calling me a fraud and throwing tomatoes at the library, let me just say one thing: You don’t always have to finish a book. Especially if you don’t like it. Life is too short to waste on books you dislike, right? At least, that’s what I told myself when I decided to put this book down.
Eve is one of those books that was published around the same time The Hunger Games burst onto the literary scene. Eve is a dystopian vision of a future America where a plague killed most of the world’s population. The people that are left are ruled by a mysterious King of what is now New America, where girls exist to have children and boys exist to be…cavemen? I’m not entirely sure, because, like I said, I didn’t finish the book. I got approximately halfway through it, however, so I feel like I have enough information to form a solid opinion about the book…
This is just my opinion, of course, but Eve is not one of the better Hunger Games knock-offs. I think the author was trying to rewrite The Handmaid’s Tale for a younger audience and failed in the attempt. Eve, our main character, is a star at her School (what’s the school’s name? where is it? No one knows!). She can read, write, has impeccable manners, and never does anything she isn’t supposed to. Arden, her foil, rebels against the School at every opportunity and runs away the first chance she gets. Once Eve discovers that her precious School (WHAT IS THIS SCHOOL’S PROPER NAME?) is actually a breeding factory to impregnate these poor girls and repopulate the earth, she decides it’s high time to get out of there. Plot ensues.
Before I launch into what I didn’t like about Eve, why don’t I start with the things I did like? First of all, Carey’s writing isn’t terrible. It’s compelling enough to keep you turning the pages, at least. Secondly, this book is the sort of book one would equate to cotton candy. It’s light and fluffy and doesn’t have a lot of substance–even if it’s trying to hard to convince the reader otherwise. Not all books need a lot of substance! It’s fine! This one, though? This one needed less heavy-handedness and more emotional depth.
On top of the shallowness of it all, I didn’t really like our characters very much. Eve comes off as selfish and spoiled throughout much of the first half, and while I’m sure that changes in the second half, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at how naive she was. Arden is fine, but she gets sick within the first 50 pages and isn’t really included in the novel anymore. Lastly, we have Caleb, the token Boy of the group who of course morphs into the love interest. Caleb and the rest of the boys in the area all live in an underground network of tunnels like some bizarre version of Lord of the Flies. Caleb and the rest of the boys are portrayed as savage and dirty, while Eve is simply horrified at how gross they are. I found this obvious dichotomy to be shallow at best and heavy-handed at worst. We get it, Eve was taught her whole life that men and boys are bad. Moving on.
The worldbuilding in this novel is confusing as well. It’s not very far into the future, yet everything and everyone is completely decimated, and the remaining population’s morals have regressed so far into the past that it’s hard to suspend your disbelief long enough to accept the fact that these characters really don’t know what the concept of love is (seriously, this is a thing that happens).
As I said, I got halfway through Eve before calling it quits. It’s your standard dystopian fare with some weird worldbuilding thrown in there for good measure.
Oh, well. There are always worse books out there.