Reynje's Reviews > Eve

Eve by Anna Carey
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it was ok

Instant Dystopia: Now With 50% Less Logic!

Start with your randomly selected future date at room temperature. Add an ambiguous Plague (capitalised is best). Stir briefly to create a drastic population reduction, thereby ensuring wombs are a hot commodity in your new society. Heavily indoctrinate your characters to keep them in line and create exploitative scenarios, especially for teenagers. Insert an Improbable and Unexplained System of Government.

Got Plausibility Problems? Just add Romance! (Instant or QuickLuv is recommended). Sprinkle with Yearning Gazes, Electrifying Touches and Heaving Breaths to taste. Season liberally with Tension, or better yet, add Love Triangle and bring to the boil.

Insert Cliffhanger.

Huzzah! You have an Instant Dystopia! Plate up with a pretty cover (Shiny Locks and Flowing Dress optional). Serve while this trend is still hot!
~

Oh, Eve. Where do I start?

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Despite a promising, albeit somewhat unoriginal, premise – it all went horribly wrong for me when Eve climbed aboard the Trope Train and didn’t know when to get off. Rushing straight past the stops of “frighteningly plausible” and “sound world building”, Eve charges down the well-travelled tracks of tru luv, flimsy backstory and convenient yet improbable scenarios. Throw in a thoroughly unsympathetic heroine and a head-desk inducing cliffhanger, and the resultant wreck claimed a few rating stars as casualties, along with my interest in reading the sequel.

One of the major issues I had with this book (I’ll get to the biggest in a minute) was the version of a “dystopian” world Carey presents. The scaffolding holding this world up was simply too rickety to stand up under questioning. We’re presented with an unexplained plague that has almost depleted the population, and a rigid system of schools and labour camps funnelling the remaining youth into sinister service to the “King of the New America”. Which for girls means, you guessed it, forced breeding. (Is it just me, or is this “girl’s value is in their baby producing ability” topic coming up a lot lately?)

Very little is provided in the way of explanation to flesh out this bleak vision of the future. I was distracted by this thinness of the world building throughout, struggling to visualise and accept the set up at face value. (And an immature inclination to chortle at the mention of the “King”.)

But the crux of my disengagement from Eve was Eve herself. I cannot recall a recent YA heroine that I have more vehemently disliked than this girl, who spends the entire book lurching from selfish decision to selfish decision. This in itself was perplexing to me. Although she was raised in a cloistered school with no contact with the outside world, and is actively educated in the “evils” of men and love, Eve purportedly has close friends of several years, and ample opportunity build meaningful relationships with her peers.

Despite this, Eve seems to have little compulsion to act in a compassionate or thoughtful manner, instead being so absorbed in herself that she causes harm to those around her. Further, Eve’s drastic flip-flop from fear of being raped to being basically affronted that she was not her rescuer’s “type”, was infuriating, not to mention ridiculous.

Granted, Eve has no understanding of how to survive in the wild, due to the closeted world she has been raised in. However, Eve’s continued abandonment, ignorance and outright endangerment of those around her boggled my mind. She leaves a trail of destruction in her wake as she stumbles through this story, and I simply couldn’t find it in myself to sympathise with her. On the contrary, I was frustrated, annoyed and entirely uninterested in her pity-parties. By the time she actually took pause to reflect on exactly what kind of havoc she had wreaked, I was so disconnected from her as a character that it was a struggle to muster any interest in her self-analysis.

Conversely, Eve’s former schoolmate and fellow escapee, Arden, was a girl I warmed to. Although initially cast as the suspicious outsider/mean girl, she was straight-talking, tough and intelligent, and frequently had scenes that made me want slap her a high-five.

The romance aspect of this story fell equally flat for me. Commencing when Caleb rescues Eve from an imminent bear attack, the two inevitably exchange meaningful gazes and heart-pounding touches. While I didn’t dislike Caleb as a character, and the life he and the other orphaned boys lived was somewhat intriguing, there was too much here that felt contrived and implausible. Not the least of this was the ease with which Eve assimilates into their world. Years of propaganda, fear and manipulation by her Teachers are swept away in mere days. Half-wild boys comport themselves, for the most part, like mild mannered school boys. And naturally, Eve falls in “love” with her dreadlocked, “ball song” singing saviour.

I can’t even write about Leif here, and the situation that unfolds during the raid, because I’m afraid I’ll punch my computer.

Below is a visual representation of my like or dislike of the main characters, relative to some of the major events. (Within a spoiler due to the naming of plot points):

(view spoiler)

On the positive side, Carey’s writing is fluid and holds attention, and she changes up the scenery and events regularly enough to keep the story well paced. It’s a fairly swift read, with a plot that keeps turning consistently.

Yet, just when I was beginning to soften, beginning to feel some interest in what would become of the characters and feel an investment in their goal: the ending. Although it is rather in keeping with the way Eve has behaved throughout the entire preceding story, it still seemed illogical and out of place to me. Frankly, it felt like the entire slog through Eve’s story was met with a slap in the face, and a cheap ploy to generate investment in the sequel.

However, I’m sincere when I say that I hope the continuation of this trilogy gets stronger. I certainly hope more of the world is explained and detailed. I hope some of the minor characters play a larger role, as there is real potential for their stories to be interesting.

That said, the bear is still my favourite character. High five, Bear!

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Reading Progress

November 30, 2011 – Started Reading
November 30, 2011 – Shelved
November 30, 2011 –
4.0% ""..she'd chopped her black mane into a short bob, making her fair skin look even fairer." Eh? I don't understand this logic."
November 30, 2011 –
20.0% "I was intelligent, I worked hard. I was told I was beautiful. I was Eve, the valedictorian of School. And all he could say was, Eh?"
November 30, 2011 –
37.0% ""Why is that funny? What are 'balls'? Like the ball of your foot?" [image error]"
November 30, 2011 –
44.0% "And years of indoctrination are undone in five minutes, people! It's like magic. Shazam!"
December 1, 2011 –
67.0% ""Cool your crotch." Yes, that's an actual quote."
December 1, 2011 –
82.0% "I wondered if there was something inside me that was rotten. All signs are pointing to yes, Eve."
December 1, 2011 –
90.0% "My feelings about Eve, courtesy of Janice Ian (Mean Girls), in the comment below:"
December 1, 2011 –
97.0% "Are. You. Joking. Me. Nonsensical ending makes no sense."
December 2, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 72 (72 new)


message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Oh gawd.
Looking forward to your statuses on THIS one.

I bet you love it now, to spite me.


Reynje Heh :) I don't know why, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

For a second I was tempted to just smack 5 stars straight down to scare you ('cause I think those kind of pranks are funny apparently), but I didn't want you to freak out and de-friend me.

Alright, let's do this!


message 3: by Jo (last edited Nov 30, 2011 03:45AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Hahaha, it's a knee-jerk reaction.
There's lots of arse-millinery in this book.
And Eve is a (view spoiler)

*smiles sweetly*


Reynje Excellent! I think we've established my fondness for pointing out arse-hats, especially when they're trying to pass their off their arse-hattiness as the actions of a troubled, smouldering, loin-aflaming love interest.

Yeah, I've got their number *narrows eyes*

(view spoiler)


message 5: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo (view spoiler)

LOIN-AFLAMING LOVE INTEREST.

I just snorted in the most disgustingly unladylike manner :-D


Reynje I'm at 20% and so far my favourite character is the horse. Or possibly the bear, for taking a swipe at Eve.

Also: shoulder-length dreads do not set my loins aflame.


message 7: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Oh, so you've met Rufio then?
Hhahahahaa, oh god that horse.

I hate Eve so much. I just want to rugby tackle her off a cliff.
Have you got to the bit where she's like some kind of underground Wendy? :-|


Reynje Not yet, but the anticipation is killing me.

(view spoiler)


message 9: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo (view spoiler)


message 10: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Oh, you have met Rufio by the by. He's actually Caleb. He just really reminded me of Rufio because he, like, lives in a tree or wherever the eff he lives.

RU-FI-OOOOOOH.


Reynje Oh yeah.. I've met him in all his bare-chested, dread-locks flowing in the wind, bear-out-running glory. I just haven't got to the underground Wendy part :)


message 12: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Oh sorry... I've ruined the whole book for you now.

Feel free to blame me. :-|


message 13: by Reynje (last edited Nov 30, 2011 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Reynje No, you haven't! Don't worry..

(view spoiler)


message 14: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo (view spoiler)


Reynje (view spoiler)


message 16: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo (view spoiler)


Reynje Argh, that bit! (view spoiler)


message 18: by Jo (last edited Nov 30, 2011 04:15PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo (view spoiler)

This book makes me foam at the mouth.


Reynje Hahaha!! (view spoiler)


message 20: by Catie (new)

Catie Hilarious review, Reynje. I love sophisticated visual analyses. :)

I might read this now...for the bear.


message 21: by Reynje (last edited Dec 03, 2011 04:10AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Reynje Thanks Catie :) Had I been able to draw it properly, Eve and Leif's lines would have taken a dive off the page!

Interestingly, I laughed a lot through this story - it kept me amused, I'll give it that.

I hold out hope that the bear is still out there.. hunting Eve down.


karen (view spoiler)


message 23: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Pahahahahahaha.
Rey, this is brilliant.

That graph is spot on.
The bear was excellent.
:-D


Reynje @karen - hahaha! I would totally read that book!

@Jo - I could have gone on for ages. Rage was spilling from my fingers as I bashed the keyboard. Rage, I tell you. Eve-inspired rage.


message 25: by Jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jo Maybe that is what the ambiguous NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN Plague was.
EVERAGE.
:-|


Reynje I wouldn't be surprised. It nearly killed me.


karen i feel like i was kinder in my review than i should have been, because i agree with yours so much. i guess that is one of the problems of reviewing without the book in front of you - you don't get to revisit scenes and go - "oh yeah - that was terrible..." etc.


message 28: by Reynje (last edited Dec 03, 2011 04:37AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Reynje On the other hand, it's possible I should have waited til I simmered down a bit before writing this, when the irrational Eve-rage had calmed a bit... :) Nah, who I am kidding, I still would have ranted!

I'm disappointed, because this should have been much better than it actually was.


message 29: by oliviasbooks (new)

oliviasbooks *chuckle* High five, bear!

Your recipe is wonderful.


Reynje oliviasbooks wrote: "*chuckle* High five, bear!

Your recipe is wonderful."


Thanks Olivia :)


Kelly Yeah, around the time she started angsting that there was something horribly wrong with her, I was like, "YES. THERE IS."


message 32: by Shirley (new)

Shirley Marr I like it when the other side of Reynje comes out to play! The recipe truly is genius. *high fives Reynje* and *high fives the bear*


Steph Sinclair This is a great review! If I'm shaking my head now at some the things you mentioned in the book, I can only imagine actually reading it.


Wendy Darling This review is EPIC. It made me laugh several times, I'm so glad to have friends who suffered through this so I don't have to. :D

Also, I am of the theory that each Reynje review has one pithy line that sums up everything quite nicely. For this, I think it's:

The scaffolding holding this world up was simply too rickety to stand up under questioning.


message 35: by Jess (new)

Jess Best review EVER!


Reynje Thanks everyone :D

Stephanie - good luck!


Reynje Shirley wrote: "I like it when the other side of Reynje comes out to play! The recipe truly is genius. *high fives Reynje* and *high fives the bear*"

*high fives Shirley*

Reynje has a lurking dark side :)


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Better late than never



Reynje It's never too late for bagels! Never! :)


message 40: by Redazrael (new)

Redazrael Your review is pretty much the most amazing thing I've read all week. It cheered me up after reading the absolute mess that is Eve.

I can’t even write about Leif here, and the situation that unfolds during the raid, because I’m afraid I’ll punch my computer.

This. This sums up my feelings regarding that situation. I actually put the book down and seethed for a minute or so. Eve's sudden acceptance of men confused the hell out of me, too, especially considering pretty much the only "good" guy she's met is... Caleb. And children, but seriously, they don't count.

I'm going to be perfectly honest here in saying that while I was not raised to fear men, I'm still afraid to walk alone at night. If I am in an underground parking lot and the only person around is a man, I will not feel safe until I am in the car with the doors locked. (Also, I am a bit paranoid, which doesn't help.)

Therefore, I do not understand how a young woman who has been conditioned to fear men and believe that they're all horrible terrible rapists omg would be so freaking trusting of a man. Especially after all the rape she's threatened with over the course of the book.

Also, Caleb's statement about the boys having it worse than the girls made me want to punch him. And possibly punch the author. Maybe it's just me, but I would rather be worked to the bone from birth until my far-too-early death than end up a "sow", no matter how wonderful my first eighteen years were.


Reynje Redazrael wrote: "Your review is pretty much the most amazing thing I've read all week. It cheered me up after reading the absolute mess that is Eve.

I can’t even write about Leif here, and the situation that unfol..."


Thanks Redazrael - it sounds like we had some similar issues with this book. There was so much in this that just didn't make sense to me, especially considering the way Eve was conditioned to view men. Why go to all that work to explain Eve's inherent fear of men, only to undo with the instalove?

I'm afraid this book just really brought out my "ranty" side!


message 42: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Now I just have to read this after I read your review of Legend and I think you made a good point about many dystopian novels not really measuring up to its supposed to-be genre. Amazing review, Reynje!


Reynje Sarah wrote: "Now I just have to read this after I read your review of Legend and I think you made a good point about many dystopian novels not really measuring up to its supposed to-be genre. Amazing review, Re..."

Thanks Sarah :) This one just didn't really work for me.. but there so many other great dystopian novels out there. Hope you enjoy Legend when you get a chance to read it!


Kirsten This may be the funniest thing I've ever read. Hats off to you! I love the graph.


Reynje Kirsten wrote: "This may be the funniest thing I've ever read. Hats off to you! I love the graph."

Thanks Kirsten!


message 46: by Cristina (new)

Cristina I can’t even write about Leif here, and the situation that unfolds during the raid, because I’m afraid I’ll punch my computer.

hahahah! This review is hilarious!


Reynje Cristina wrote: "I can’t even write about Leif here, and the situation that unfolds during the raid, because I’m afraid I’ll punch my computer.

hahahah! This review is hilarious!"


Thanks Cristina - this book sort of brought out my punchy side :)


Julie i could not have said it better!!! loved the bear too! and it just tells u how selfish E. is, trying to take the bearcub...


Reynje Thanks Julie :)


Bobbie The visual aids are really key to making this review so valuable. Well done!


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