Review: Eve by Anna Carey

21 January, 2012 Reviews 8 comments

Review: Eve by Anna CareyEve by Anna Carey
Series: Eve #1
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on October 4th 2011
Pages: 318
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

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.

In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying. Readers will revel in Eve's timeless story of forbidden love and extraordinary adventure.

One of the first questions I ask myself when I’m reading a dystopian novel is, “Could I ever live in this world?” I can easily answer no for Eve. I can see this book having two distinctive effects on people: horrifying them and completely turning them off or intriguing them just enough to keep them reading. I’m happy to say I fell in the latter category.

Eve lives in a world that has been devastated by a deadly Plague leaving countless children orphans. As a result, the country is in disorder and the people, desperate for a solution, allowing one man to rule as king, whose ideals for rebuilding, prey on the most innocent members of society. Girls, or sows, are sent to Schools where they are taught men are evil and manipulative only to graduate and be forced to conceive child after child to help populate the world. Boys, on the other hand, are sent to labor camps where they work long hours, their innocence stolen before it even had time to begin. Eve learns these awful truths the day before she is set to graduate and she does what anyone in her situation would do. She runs.

Things I loved

The premise of the book is a disturbing one. Connecting with the minor characters was something I didn’t expect would happen. I couldn’t help but think of my own children as I read it. To think society would ever slip that far and abuse our children…it bothers me. It bothered me on the same level that the Hunger Games did with children battling it out to the death for adult entertainment. So, for that Evekept me turning page after page because as a mother my heart broke for the kids in this book. There was one scene in the book were a little boy asks Eve what love is and she tells them:

“Love is just caring for someone very deeply. Feeling like that person matters to you, like your whole world would be sadder without them in it.”

That was just very heartbreaking for me. For a 6-year-old not knowing what love is. Like I said, it bothers me. But not in the bad way where I would want to stop reading. Instead, in a way that made me stop and be very thankful for what I have in life.
The writing style was pretty good, in my opinion. I could even pick out a few quotes that I thought were lovely like this one:

The stream was the only hand that touched me, the wind the only breath that blew the dust from my eyes. I learned the strange art of loneliness, the weathered yearning that swells and passes, swells and passes, when you walk a trail alone.

I also really liked the love interest, Caleb. You know how the love interest always pulls the card where his controlling over protectiveness is romanticized as loving concern? I didn’t find that here. Caleb was a sweet guy. He took care of Eve and her friend, Arden when they had nowhere to go. I could feel that he really cared for Eve. There is one part of the novel that spoke volumes about his character to me. Eve was staying with Caleb and a group of other “stray” boys and they were just about to go on a raid the guard’s outpost. Caleb doesn’t think it’s a good idea that she goes:

“What if I still want to go?” “Then you’ll go,” he said. “But I wanted you to know the danger.”

That quote made me so happy because YES, let’s tell the heroine of the danger, but YES, let her decide if she wants to proceed or not.

Things I disliked

I think we all saw this coming from me: The world building. Unfortunately, I had trouble with the believability that America could sink so low as to do away with democracy, liberty, and basic human rights in such a short amount of time. It’s only been sixteen years and Americans have reverted to enslaving their children? No, just no. Furthermore, if the goal is to reproduce as fast as humanly possible, why aren’t the adults (who live comfortably in the city) charged with having children? Why only the orphan girls? Not only that, but again, and this seems to be something I’m saying a lot lately, but what in the world are the rest of the human population doing?

Besides that sketchy world building, there was one big thing that I really disliked: Eve. Eve had exactly three “modes” in this book: 1)Saw dust for brains 2)Too stupid to live 3)Selfish. She goes through the novel making the worst decisions possible that either ended up getting someone else hurt or killed. I get that she was sheltered all her life and that perception of the real world had been tampered with, but why no common sense? Petting a wild bear is suicide. It does not in any way, shape, or form resemble Winnie the Pooh. It’s time for a wild life lesson:

If you saw a grizzly in the woods, would you immediately think of this guy?

Maybe I’m missing something here. Do they look related to you? No? Not even distant cousins, twice removed? Now, I’m no expert, but to me it looks like one of these bears is about to rip a clueless girl a new one, while the other is only a danger to himself of overdosing on jars of honey. How does that saying go again? Oh, yeah. Eve was a few french fries short of a happy meal. At first, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, but she didn’t seem to get any smarter as the novel wore on. For example, her relationship with Caleb. You all know how the YA romance goes. You’ve got to have something that breaks the couple up. Eve gets into an argument with Caleb about wanting to stay with him instead of traveling to Califia (the shelter). He reasonably tells her he would like that, but since the king is after her, she would be safer at the shelter. You know what Eve does? She throws a tantrum and calls him selfish. -_- And that is the scene I lost all my respect for her. It was frustrating! I just wanted her to use her brain just once! That’s not really asking too much is it?

Yet, somehow I was able to enjoy this book. Again, mostly thanks to the minor characters and Caleb. The ending leaves us with a cliffhanger you knew was coming. Let’s just say it left me angry and leave it at that. Even stranger is that I really do want to check out the sequel. Huh.

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

8 Responses to “Review: Eve by Anna Carey”

  1. Laura

    You’d be surprised with the “pet the bear” thing. Go to the Everglades, and there are signs warning people not to pet the alligators; beaches in California have similar warnings about walruses, Why? Multiple parents in both locations thought the animals “looked docile” enough that officials caught them setting their children on the animal’s backs for photographs.

  2. Donna

    Great review. I felt very much the same about Eve. I liked the story as a whole but there were definitely some holes in the world building and I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers. But like you, I also ended up enjoying despite the flaws.

    • cuddlebuggery

      I'm hoping I'll end up enjoying the second one better. Who knows? Eve may surprise me and make me eat my words.

  3. Sam

    Lovely review, Stephanie. I'm glad you some important aspects of this book, though it's a shame the world-building didn't do it for you. I really enjoyed it myself, but it wasn't a perfect read to say the least. I'm hoping the next book will be even better! 🙂

  4. Sam

    My comment makes no sense. 😀 What I meant to say was, I'm glad you LIKED some important aspects of the books… 🙂

    • cuddlebuggery

      Sometimes it's hard to judge the first book of a series because things tend to be explained as the series wears on. So I'm hopeful everything will pull together in the end (which is probably why I have less patience for the last books that conclude series).

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