|Eve (Eve #1), By Anna Carey, Hardcover, 318 pages, Harper Collins, October 2011|
Goodreads rating: 1/5-2 Stars
Summary (via Goodreads):
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.
WARNING ALERT. WARNING ALERT. From this point forward, it's not going to be pretty...
Dystopia is probably one of the hardest worlds to build because its entire foundation is based on the assumption of what might be possible. The biggest impact dystopia has on the reader is: Could this really happen?
In Eve, sadly, the answer to that question was "no." As I uncovered more and more to Eve's world, the only words coming to mind were "this doesn't make sense." The logic behind Eve's world is weak, and I couldn't connect our humanity with that of hers.
When Eve is 5 years old, her mother is taken ill with the plague. Eve gets taken to a school for orphans where she is educated. Because most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, the country becomes governed by a "King" (Reminds me of North Korea.) But while Eve has been educating herself on Scott Fitzgerald and Frida Kahlo, its graduates have been taken to serve as baby machines--a fate that also awaits Eve when she graduates.
Here's are my issues with the world building:
1) The timeline: I'm not exactly sure where Goodreads got the 2032 date.* I can't find it anywhere else. But according to my timeline, the year is closer to 2037. (If Eve was taken to the school when she was 5 along with the note from her mother dated 2025, then stayed there 12 years, the date should be closer to 2037.) The date itself isn't really that big of a deal but the timeline of events is. The cover says "16 years after a deadly virus..." So within 16 years, our entire democratic nation has completely crumbled? Sorry, I don't buy that. And who is this Politician/King that has enough military power and resources to control the entire United States...some multi-billionaire with an ego complex? The most I know about him is this:
"The King took over and then you had to make a choice. Follow him or be in the wild alone."
What made the wild so unappealing? Furthermore, what "wild" are we talking about here? Why couldn't you have set up your own community? What resources/power did the King have to force compliance? Let's say that 80% of the current US population (313 million) died off (and 80% is pretty high...I think the Black Plague only hit about 60% in Europe), that would leave us with 62 million people. That's still A LOT of people. So shouldn't there still be groups of resistance, groups of scientists, groups of professors, groups of historians, groups of religion...Would the majority of people really concede to anarchy? Maybe. But--there would have had to be extreme extreme factors to force compliance. Unless the King had something to bargain with, I find it very unbelievable that our entire society would submit. With a smaller population maybe, but if you think about all the logistics that would go into governing a huge land area like ours, it's highly improbable..
2) Repopulating the Earth: Stories dealing with re-population seem a bit eccentric and unrealistic. Personally, I'm not really worried about humans recouping its losses. Humans have experienced several plagues and even genocide that have decimated our numbers, but I don't recall any institutionalized baby factories. Sure it might take hundreds, even thousands of years, to recover our numbers but what's the hurry? Again, if Eve's virus decimated 80% of the world population of about 7 billion, that still leaves about 1.4 billion people (which is just a little less than the total world population of 1.7 billion in 1900.) I'm kind of missing the point here. Again--what's the big rush to repopulate the earth quickly? And would people really jump on the baby band wagon?Also, if you want to get people to "breed," then why not use psychological tactics instead (i.e., speeches on 'it's your duty,' or rewards for birthing more children, etc...)
3) Why educate? Now, let's suppose we DO want to repopulate the earth quickly. Then, why educate the baby makers? According to the King's perspective:
"The King believed the science was the key to repopulating the earth quickly, efficiently, without all the complications of families, marriage, and love. He thought if you were given an education, you would be occupied and content. He thought that if you feared me, you girls would breed willingly without them."
If I needed a baby factory, I wouldn't spend my time educating them on literature or the arts. I would have girls start breeding as soon as they began menstruating. Maybe use them for domestic labor until they were able to breed.
But aside from the technical aspects of the world building, I was also disappointed with:
1) The insta-love between Caleb and Eve: They went from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds; she gets rescued, he teaches her to swim, they can't. live. without. each. other.
2) The helicopter hiding scene: Note to troops: when there's an abandoned helicopter in a middle of a field, you might want to check inside to see if maybe, just maybe that's where the fugitives are hiding...just a thought.
3) Eve's Radio Messages: I get it that maybe Eve didn't understand the danger she was in...but she CHOSE NOT to tell her host about sending out radio messages because "there was too much to tell." Was she so blinded by her
4) Eve's almost rape scene: This scene came out. of. nowhere. Very uncharacteristic of the perpetrator--especially in light of his prior attitude towards Eve.
This book deals with a lot of holes and missing pieces. The logic is thin and the background research seemed nonexistent. The characters were flat and uninteresting. I had no interest in Eve; in fact, I was more interested in one of the minor characters: Arden (Eve's companion). Many times it seemed like scenes and circumstances were put together only for the purpose for pushing the story along--not because it was integral to the plot. Sadly, this one doesn't make the cut.