Monday, October 13, 2014

Audiobook Review: Eve by Anna Carey

Title: Eve (Eve #1)
Author: Anna Carey
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 336
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Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose 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 Arden, her former rival from school, and 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.

In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying.

Eve kind of happened to me unexpectedly. I stumbled across it and, though I'd heard of it before, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into. I was intrigued by the synopsis so it immediately jumped to the top of my audiobook reads list.

From what I've gathered, Eve is a story that takes a lot of its cues from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and this seems to irk a lot of people. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) for me, I haven't read The Handmaid's Tale so I didn't have anything to compare this against. Knowing what I do know about the book, however, tells me that this might be a decent comparison for today's young readers. I'm just not sure if it teaches the same lesson that the "original" is known for. In any case, it was an entertaining read, and perhaps that is what today's authors are most concerned with.

The story begins in a school where all girls are sent for training to eventually contribute to the City of Sand, the last remaining (known) human settlement. The king runs the show and everyone else falls into line without question. It's only after Eve discovers that training is not what she's heading towards that the story really picks up. Upon her escape, she meets Caleb and becomes unlikely friends with Arden and the three of them set out on a mission to stay alive and free.

I actually really enjoyed the characters in this story - even Eve, for the most part. I didn't find her particularly whiney, although she is undoubtedly a little naive, which sometimes comes back to bite all of them. I really liked the progression of the friendship between Eve and Arden. Watching Arden's walls come down was somehow really satisfying. The relationship between Eve and Caleb was convincing enough and progressed at a believable rate. I really loved his character! He was sensitive without being ridiculous. He did bother me a little by being one of "those guys" who feel like they should decide the woman's fate because, well, he's a man... But overall, he was a good guy.

One thing that really did irritate me about all of the relationships was the way that Eve allowed others to sacrifice themselves over and over. While I maintain my opinion that she wasn't overly whiney, she did come off as pretty selfish at times, repeatedly letting others put themselves in harms way for her as if she was a gift to humanity that needed to be protected at the cost of all others.

Even with this issue, however, Eve was a great read! The suspense was palpable at times and the the world building was pretty excellent, in my opinion. The bad guys were likely enough to be pretty terrifying. The ending was pretty gut-wrenching, although it also made me want to punch Eve in the face and explain to her what love really means. I'd highly recommend Eve to any fan of post-apocalyptic fiction - especially the kind that might actually be possible.

Notes on the Audiobook
Tavia Gilbert is easily the best narrator I've ever listened to. Sure, she might be a little overly dramatic at times, but that's way better than monotone! She creates distinct voices for each of her characters. I'd love to listen to more by her!