Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz
Synopsis: 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.
Review: The young adult world has recently become plagued (no-pun intended) by dystopian stories. The not so likely hero being placed against extreme odds to help bring hope to an otherwise desolate world. The main problem with so many (if not most) is the lack of originality in both characters and plot. Now mind you, there is only so much you can do with a plot geared toward describing the aftermath of a civilization destroyed. But even if the basis of a plot must follow the same of it’s predecessors, elements of the novel should be different enough to uniquely set your story apart from the rest on the shelf.
Eve acts as the protagonist of our tale. She is sixteen years old and living in a school only for girls. A plague along with the vaccine that had been meant to save lives, wiped out ninety-eight percent of the human population. Society is attempting to rebuild itself in the USA and is now being called The New America, which is ruled by a king who lives in what is known as the City of Sand. Eve was sent to the girls-only orphanage school when she was five, picked up by soldiers who were looking for survivors of the plague. Eve receives a rudimentary education and becomes the star pupil of the school. The night before graduation, Eve and her fellow classmates are celebrating, excited for the next chapter in their lives. They will next move on to the school across the lake where they will study for four years in a trade of their choice before moving to the City of Sand.
But Eve’s world changes when she catches one of the students sneaking out of the school. Eve finally learns the real secret of what happens to girls once they graduate. Horrified and confused, Eve runs away from the School and into the untamed world outside the protection of the School walls. Eve comes across a boy for the first time in her life and cautiously decides to trust him since she has no where else to go nor any skills to fend for herself. Eve and Caleb’s relationship grows beyond a friendship but soon obstacles are placed before them. The most deadly, is the poster with Eve’s face being passed around where the King demands her capture and returned to him.
Caleb will do anything to keep Eve safe. But who do they turn to and how do they hide from the most powerful man in the country?
Have you ever read a novel that seemed to span for two or three hundred pages and by the time to reach the ending, the point of the story STILL has eluded you? That is exactly what Eve (The Eve Trilogy #1) accomplishes. I finished this novel feeling more disappointment than enjoyment.
Eve’s naiveté not withstanding, she is one of the flattest and selfish characters I have read. I can understand she has lost her family from the plague and has grown up in an all girls school so her understanding of men is rather non-existent. She also has no skill beyond studying, therefore, I can let her slide at the beginning in the idiotic things she does. But I found no redeemable qualities in her. She allows others to sacrifice themselves for her (not that she is ACTUALLY worthy of the sacrifices!) and costs the lives of others through her foolish decisions. She is just incredibly self-centered.
Arden and Caleb are much better characters. They are much better developed than Eve. Caleb has managed to become a man with a kind heart. He holds wisdom beyond his years and always thinks before he acts. Even surrounded by a band of makeshift brothers and gangs running lose where they act more as barbarians, Caleb has been able to learn to be courageous, steady, and true. Arden becomes the novel as the mean and spoiled rich girl. But she transforms once she is outside the school walls. She has learned to live in a world of pretend in order to better hide her emotions and is undeniably strong. Arden grows and matures. She learns to be more open, much more kind, and even noble through the sacrifice she makes on behalf of Eve (something I believe Eve didn’t deserve).
One of the only things about the plot I did like was the idea of a kingdom being built on sand (which is not shown in this novel). I also liked the gist of the story: Eve running away from school and trying to reach the safe camp set up to rescue girls from becoming “sows” (what girls are called since they can reproduce). But the way men were portrayed in this novel was just as demeaning as the way women were portrayed. Where the women are made to be nothing more than breeding machines for the King to help repopulate the world, men have reverted back to their cave-men ways. Men are either wild, completely devoid of feeling and smarts or they have basic skills but are primitive.
The ending was one of the worse parts of this book. Eve and Caleb finally manage to arrive to the safe camp in Califia but Eve learns the camp is only for women. Caleb already knew but he was determined to get her there so she could hide from the King’s troops who are seeking her. Caleb isn’t allowed in the camp but he wants Eve to stay. This was Eve’s chance to redeem herself. This was the moment to finally show how much she has learned and matured. Instead, Eve leaves Caleb! The man who has saved her life countless of times. The one who left his band of brothers to rescue her from the troops. The one who almost loses his life for her. How could she just leave him?! He just got stabbed in the leg fighting off troops and needs to rest, regain his strength and heal. Eve claims to love him and after having almost lost him before she wanted nothing more than to be by his side forever. Yet, there she is, at the end, letting him go. Alone. Back into the unsafe world where troops are either killing freely or picking up boys to be deposited into the work camps. Whatever small chance Eve had to become a character worth caring about, she threw out the window the moment she chose the camp over Caleb.
There are two more novels to come in Eve’s story. I do not have high expectations for the next installments but I will most likely read, if only to find out how Caleb and Arden wind up. I could care less what happens to Eve.
When your main character is neither likeable nor redeemable nor relatable, it’s just painstakingly difficult to actually enjoy the story.
I do hope the author manages to salvage the story in the following two installments or at the very least, make Eve more tolerable as a character.