Eve by Anna Carey
Release Date: October 4, 2011
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.
I have heard a lot of negative reviews from people I really trust with reading opinions, but I was surprised. A lot of reviews said that it was a poorly written dystopian and so in a way, I was dreading picking it up in case I ended up hating it. In a way, it's one of the blessings and curses of reviewing books because I always tend to rely on reviews. When I was ignorant of the book blogging world, I would blindly pick up a book and dig in. I miss that. Guide to Career Education can get you the training you need to turn a reading and writing hobby into a career working for big publishers.For the first half of the book I was in fear that I would discover something that would change my perception of the book but as nothing happened, I began to relax. The plot was good, and the writing was solid.Eve is the story of a plague. When the plague wiped out the world as they knew it sixteen years ago, surviving girls were put in a school. They have never seen the outside of the school, and unbeknownst to them, they never will. Eve is the valedictorian of her class, trained in subjects such as the evils of men and history about the plague and their great leader, the king. The king united the country in times of chaos and saved them all.The world outside is ruined. Civilizations are torn to shreds, overgrowth stretching over faded logos on the sides of buildings. Eve has been trained to know that she will do great things in the capital city, studying literature and art. The king has had his eye on her, and has special plans for her. Nothing pleases her more than to know all of the possibilities that lay in front of her.When Eve learns a terrible truth on the eve of her graduation, she makes a decision that affects her future. When Eve runs away from the school, she learns how to survive on her own. She tries to find a settlement where she can survive, a place where she can flee from her fate and live in peace. It's harder than she thinks. When she meets a boy, a person she has been warned to stay away from, her first impression is that he's not like what they taught.When her past threatens to catch up with her, Eve must sacrifice everything.Eve was sweet at first. I thought that she wasn't memorable, but she also seemed smart and likable. This first impression decreased as the book went on. I found her to be the slightest bit of a coward. Not only this, but it felt like Carey dumbed her down more than necessary in order to illustrate the beliefs of the post-apocalyptic world and explain things. I hope that we find more to her character in Once, but I didn't think that Eve was very likable.First of all, Eve really cared about herself more than anything. Eve thought she was amazing, and constantly reassured herself around others in her head that she was this, she was that. Yet it didn't come across as arrogance, but was irritating. It upset me that although she talked about her lifelong friends and her love for others, she seemed to be a coward when it came down to her.Granted, if I were faced with the same thing, I'd like to think of myself doing whatever it took to save the people that I loved. I know I'd be terrified. Even worse would be the thought of living with the guilt of saving only myself for the rest of my life. Eve didn't think that any of the danger was her fault and kept thinking "poor me". I got a bit sick of her whining.I don't think that she was strong enough to win as a character. I don't think that she's going to be memorable in books to come, but I'm hoping that we reach new depths of her character in the sequel, which I want to read.Another thing that I thought was obnoxious: the transition from her naivety to being a rebel. You can't suddenly decide to change everything about your beliefs and believe wholeheartedly in a new concept, in the space of....one night? When Eve found out the truth, she was in shock, but she automatically believed it. For a brainwashed girl who had spent her entire life in the company of the same people, one person that she doesn't like tells her a truth that she sacrifices her entire life to believe in? That's just unrealistic. If somebody came up to me with a contradiction with something that had been solid for me for years, I wouldn't believe them. I'd probably grill them and do some investigating on my own. It would take me months to accept them. Eve didn't. It took her only a few hours to leave everybody she loved behind to save herself and venture into the unknown. Later in the book, she establishes herself as a complete rebel, when she's barely seen what her world contains or anything that tells her what is true.The character that I thought was developed the best was Arden. Arden was the character you both pitied, hated, loved, understood, and was the type of person that seems to be in everybody's lives at one point. She's a rebel, she knows things that you don't, and she seems to be unafraid of danger. This is a character mold that does pop up a lot in post-apocalyptic and dystopian books (of which this is post-apocalyptic) but it was well pulled off in this one. I think she was actually one of my favorite characters.She knows her fears and isn't afraid to face them. She tries to make herself stronger, and that's a quality that I admire. Arden wasn't sweet and she didn't sugar things up. When Eve finds out the truth about her future, Arden is focused on surviving, not comforting her tears and complaints. Arden is the type of person who looks at the world and sees it for how it is, and does her best to do what she could with it.Caleb was the love interest. For a dystopian love story, I felt that he didn't show up that often. He was a part of the book, but it felt unfocused on him. We didn't learn enough detail about him to be completely engrossed. I didn't feel like there was a lot of emphasis on the romance until later in the book where Eve's like "oh I think I'm in love". I didn't see their relationship develop and I didn't feel the chemistry. When you're looking for a heartstopping romance, you want something that you're invested in, that even when the characters are separated, you're grieving because you know that they are ohmygoodnessperfectamazingtogether and you're rooting for them the entire time. I didn't feel that connection, and that meant that the romance lost a bit of the appeal for me. It was more focused on Eve and her journey to find.I liked Caleb. He was a little bland, but that's more realistic that the heartthrob that you normally see in YA. Most guys are average, but amazing to you, and that's what Caleb was. He was a nice guy who was helpful and sweet. He had a history and he was like a friend. I didn't think that he lived up to the promise of a romance on the cover, but you could see it starting. It was slow going, but I'm looking forward to learning more about him. Like Eve, he wasn't hugely memorable, but he was a solid character.I thought one thing that was interesting was the genders in this book. Eve had been taught her entire life that men were evil and that concept influenced many of her decisions. At some points I disliked how she brought it up, but I did find it interesting and it made for fascinating arguments in the book. It was sexist, but it made you think, in good and bad ways. She seemed conflicted on the issue, however, and I felt that she just needed to believe one thing or the other on this particular issue.I loved Eve's flashbacks to her mother. I loved how she remembered the early plague. Anna Carey actually did end up doing an amazing job with the cure. Her description was spot-on and she managed to craft a great storyline with it. The idea of the plague was developed and nodded to history in some parts. The plague was perhaps the most realistic and idea in the book that was most invested in. Excellent job.Surprisingly, Eve is actually lighter than I thought it'd be. It is high-stakes but it isn't filled with a sense of purpose or urgency. It was actually a fun read. It was the type of filler book that you read when you're looking for a good story but not something with a lot of meat or a fluff read. It was happily in the middle. While some parts of the book seemed to flip flop on whether they wanted to be light or dark, the end result was rather mixed, enough to make it solidly in the middle.I did like the overall story line. It was enjoyable to go through all these troubles and tribulations that Eve went through, even if it did go a little bit slow. I was confused about the pacing, because everything of utmost important seemed to happen at the beginning, and the middle was slow. It did have that Matched feel of world-building and I have the feeling that the sequel will be even more exciting. When Carey does write action, she writes it well.I am glad that I decided to stop reviewing the book inside my head until I finished it because in the last part of the book, I found myself sucked into the story. It seemed like Carey hit a high note. She manipulated the characters well, made the action more clever and with more at risk, and she created more questions that you were itching to answer. It didn't possess the same urgency that I love to feel with those questions, but left enough for me to be curious as to what was going to happen.I think that Anna Carey can go far if she doesn't make the elementary mistakes that she did in the book. I was frustrated and disappointed at times, but it went up. If you decide to stick with it and realize the potential of these books, you can enjoy it. It's a good story with potential, but the first book didn't live up to it. Why is this not a negative review? Despite all these flaws, I enjoyed it. I liked it; I found myself satisfied at the end.I didn't find problems with writing like some people did. I like to cast out other reviews of books while I write my own, but I keep reflecting back to them and I didn't have many other problems with the books that reviewers had. This is the type of book that you either love or you hate but falls slightly under the radar.I thought that the writing was great. Her description was solid and her imagination worked well with the story. Carey managed to incorporate pop culture references in a way that was amusing and related to the background. It really gave a sense of the setting. I just thought that was a cute quirk that really made the environment great in the book!This book was released on October 4, which was a huge day for book releases, so its glory was diminished in favors of others. People overlooked it, which is a shame because for me it was actually a good story. Other than some obvious plot holes and character issues, I was able to relax into the story enough to enjoy it.I did like the story, but the flaws may keep other people from enjoying it. If you're willing to take the risk, go for it. You may find yourself loving it. If not, I'd stick with a safer book from a learned author. I will pick up the sequel if I have the opportunity.Recommended for anybody who loves: Matched; Released; post-apocalyptic books; etc,.Possible book club questions:Do you think Eve's weakness was on purpose? If Anna Carey was trying to make a point, what point could it have been?How was the prejudice about men relevant to the story?At the end of the book, how are Eve's beliefs changed?Do you think the knowledge from the school may end up helping Eve later on?Which character do you think grew the most in this book?Would you have run away like Eve?etc,.