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.
Discovery: While searching for books that were similar to The Hunger Games for a blog post I wanted to write, I happened upon Eve. I was lucky enough to win a copy from Karen at FWIW.
+ Reality. I can pinpoint the moment I decided to read this book: the second I read the words “The Handmaid’s Tale” on the cover. While I’m very wary of any books that are marketed as “blank-meets-blank,” it takes a lot of guts to compare a new YA novel to a classic dystopian, especially one written by Margaret Atwood. The world Eve lives in is deliciously creepy and the descriptions of her real future are horrifying. I would have loved to know more, and in that way, the novel succeeds. Dystopians rely on a strong background to draw the reader in.
– The “huh?” factor. With such a strong start, I was expecting the novel to be an excellent look at the dynamics of a male-female relationship when so much is at stake. I was very disappointed. Nothing about what Eve is taught in school comes across as unpredictable, and after a few pages of “Men are evil!,” I got bored. It becomes more confusing as the book goes on. Eve and her encounters with men aren’t anything to write home about and the cave scenes were lackluster at best. All in all, I found it very difficult to care about the story, but I was hoping that Eve and the other characters would make up for it.
– Lack of character development. I’ve heard comparisons of Eve to Kathy H. of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. As a reader who adores that book with the fire of a thousand white-hot suns, I would say no. I can see where the comparison might have arisen, but Eve has none of the inner passion that Kathy H. has and none of the smarts either. Kathy is not nearly as naive or reckless as Eve. This book isn’t the worst I’ve ever read, but it doesn’t help that Eve is simply too naive to be likeable. She doesn’t think about her actions and still expects things to work out the way she wants them.
I’m not sold on Caleb either. For a character who’s supposed to be dreamy enough to sweep Eve off her feet, he’s surprisingly bland. I finished the book without seeing any proof that he’s worth Eve’s time or mine. Arden, on the other hand, makes an excellent case. She is smart, but isn’t given enough credit by the author (in my opinion) to become a truly vibrant character.
Recommendations: I don’t hate this book, but I do feel hoodwinked into believing that it would be a jaw-dropping story. The problem might be that I’ve read so many dystopians that it’s difficult to refrain from drawing parallels, but Eve doesn’t match any of the books it’s been compared to. In conclusion, it’s just not for me, but maybe other readers will enjoy it.
Next review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin