Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Anna Carey
Series: Eve, #1
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 336
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 of 5 stars 

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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.

To say that Eve surprised me would be a massive, massive understatement. The only reason I picked up this book to begin with was because I have an ARC of Once, Eve's sequel, sitting around, and I felt bad for neglecting it. I had fairly low expectations before going into Eve, and quite honestly, I expected my rating at the end to be at most two or three stars, after reading some of the negative reviews that almost assured I would have a similar experience.

And I think it may be because of those very reviews that I had an experience almost completely opposite with Eve. Before even opening the pages Eve, I expected a boring read with mediocre characters and horrible world-building, as that is what most of the negative reviews led me to believe, but instead, what I got with Eve was a disturbing and emotionally raw novel with great characters that made me cry a countless amount of times. I found Eve to be a powerful and beautifully written little novel, and it was one that punched me in the gut over and over and over again.

In the world of Eve, a disastrous plague has swept the entire nation and left ninety-eight of the entire population dying. After the aftermath of the plague, and after seeing her loved ones slowly fall at the hands of the plague, Eve is brought into the School - a housing place for young girls. At the School, the girls are fed, taught, and treated to until they turn eighteen. However, a day before her graduation from the School, Eve escapes to find out what really happens to the women after they graduate. Horrified by what she finds out to be the truth, she escapes from the School in a mission to go to a place called Califia; a place where she will be safe. But how will Eve, having been sheltered and kept from the outside world almost all her life, know who to trust?

As I am writing this review, I am struggling to find another instance where a book has had as great of an emotional impact on me as Eve has. In fact, upon reading the very first pages in Eve, I found myself tearing up. This book is about love, it is about loss, it is about moving on, and, alongside that, it is about a young girl trying to run away from her future while also escaping from a deadly plague. And it handles all of that amazingly.
I'd once read about amputees, and how they had pains where their arms and legs used to be. Phantom limbs, they were called. I'd always thought that was the best way to describe my feelings about my mother. She was now just an ache for something I'd had lost.
Eve is not the smartest heroine you'll ever read about, or the strongest, and she is at times a bit selfish and difficult to like, but I just found that to be the effects of her being sheltered and monitored and lied to her entire life. She's at times naive, and she is imperfect, but she learns from her mistakes and she feels guilt for her wrong decisions, seemingly miniscule and incapable of harm to her, that, unfortunately, impacted other people's lives. Eve feels regret for those decisions she's made, and she betters herself as a person through those wrong decisions. Or, in other words, she's human. And she's a lot more of a believable character than half of the heroines in young adult dystopians on the market today.

As well as Eve, the secondary characters, and Eve's love interest, Caleb, were incredibly likable and developed throughout the course of the novel. I have to say that my favorite character in Eve was Arden, and that my favorite relationship in Eve was the one between her and Eve. The two girls are incredibly different and not ideal friends at first, but throughout the novel they learn that they are similar in many ways, and their relationship has one of the most interesting and well-developed dynamics I've had the pleasure to read about this year. I only wish I could say the same for the relationship between the two central characters, Eve and Caleb. While I definitely found Caleb to be a likable character, and Eve an at times likable character, I was never really sold on their relationship together. It was sweet, and it wasn't insta-love, but to me it just felt like there was no basis behind the purpose of the romance. Though I guess sometimes relationships are like that in the real world, as well.

While the novel itself is certainly not without its flaws - the biggest one pertaining to the world-building, or lack thereof, I found Eve to be an engaging and powerful read, set in a grisly and disturbing world that is scarily possible, and the emotional impact it had on me is one that I am sure to remember. I am now happy that I have an ARC Once waiting for me, and I am eager to see what Carey has in store.


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