Rating: 5/10 Hearts
Format: Audio-book – Library
This is definitely one of the books I think gets more subjective hearts than objective hearts. I did root for Eve– even when she frustrated me on all levels. Hey, no one deserves the fate set out for this Struggle-Pants of a Heroine.
Set in a dystopian future United States after a vicious plague wiped out a good portion of the population, this book is pretty dark, but not as dark as it felt it should be. It made me waver on whether this book is true YA or what I call Young Adult-Adult, since several places rated this book ages 12 and up. The glimpses at gore are brief, but that’s not where the scary part is in this tale. It reminds me some of the Handmaid’s Tale, so I suppose that’s where some of my own terror comes from. Forced breeding and attempted rape are always an adult themes in my book, so I wouldn’t personally hand this one to a kid without having some chats about bodily autonomy and consent.
Eve gives us a lot of questions– Eve the character and Eve the book. I knew going in that this was the start of a trilogy, so I didn’t expect to get all of my answers, but I didn’t expect that I would walk away with almost nothing. For me, feeling well-informed is an important part of reading! YA is usually a good genre for this, but not in this book.
The first questions that plagued me were logistical– how did Eve get across a lake by holding on to spiky trees? If she’s close enough to trees she’s probably close enough to shore to stand up and wade through in my lake experience (source: I grew up in Minnesota). Throughout the book, Eve describes going days without water– or rather– doesn’t mention water. Water is pretty important I guess. Just a rumor. At one point, Caleb opens the hood of a vehicle and just stays it’s done. Done? Done how? Is it out of gas or the serpentine belt broke or what? At one point in the book she spends several DAYS in a bathtub.
Where are all of these orphans coming from?! Why are there entire systems built around the orphans when theoretically in a few years there won’t be any? There’s a KING now?! I have questions, Carey. Many questions.
Then there’s Eve– who just seems to be crashing through the world trying to escape her horrible fate. Which I don’t blame her for, but lord, there are moments when she makes me so sad. She’s basically a Juliet figure– willing to put anyone and everyone in danger because she’s naive and blinded by love.
As for the romance, she and Caleb have the “Inexplicable Connection,” bug, which runs rampant in YA. I call it being in love “because love!” Then there’s the whole attempted rape scene, which is just gross on so many levels.
I think what bothered me most about this book was the lack of relationship development. We are told about how much Eve loves people time and time again, but she’s not able to demonstrate this in any meaningful way to any character besides when she takes care of Arden while she’s sick. Even so, she puts Arden in continuous danger, and even leaves her behind. What?! Katniss would never have done that.
On the good side, this book was well-paced, fun to read, has a little boy in a tutu (ADORABLE) and sets up an interesting premise for a few more slightly terrible but enjoyable reads. I didn’t have to force myself to read it at all. I did want to find out what happened to Eve, even when she was driving me insane. Also, I’m incredibly curious about the King and the City of Sand.
OBJECTIVE HEARTS: ♥♥ 2/5
SUBJECTIVE HEARTS: ♥♥♥ 3/5
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”