The Eve Series
Publisher: Harper Audio
Website: Author’s Website
Format: Audiobook, Unabridged
Narration by: Tavia Gilbert
98% of the world’s population was killed 16 years ago by a plague. The King is trying to rebuild America, and by his command, female orphans are kept in highly secured schools to educate them and protect them from the chaos outside. Surrounded only by female teachers and guards, they are taught that all men are ruthless, untrustworthy rapists. They are taught that after graduation, they will be moved to another building to learn a trade and move to the City of Sand to start a new life. Eve, the smartest student, wants to be an artist, but the trouble-maker Arden tells Eve that everything is a lie. When Arden disappears, Eve goes to see where the graduated girls go and discovers the truth for herself. With the truth in hand, Eve flees from the school, trying to survive in the wilds while being hunted by the King.
Tavia Gilbert's voice was something I disliked at first, but as the time went by, I have come to like her voice. Perhaps not everyone will like it, though I think she fits the voice of Eve very well, and this story is told by Eve.
Eve recounts her final days with her mother, and for the most part, that’s all Eve knows about the world before the virus. Then, she only knows what the school has told her. When she is thrust into the world on her own, she has to figure it out on the fly. So no one is dumping every truth on her so the reader can know the details about how the new world functions. Some people “know” snippets, but even they might be wrong. It is apparent that surviving by yourself is not an easy task. Hopefully, the world will be explained more in the next two books.
First off, Eve is not an unreliable narrator. An unreliable narrator is the result of when a narrator’s credibility has been compromised. Eve (and Arden) simply don’t know everything about the world as it actually is. The only information they have before they leave is what they were taught in school. If you wrote in a book report that she is an unreliable narrator, I hope your teacher corrects it with a lot of red pen.
That said, Eve is terribly boring. She has no character traits other than the not-surprising “book smart”, and the not-a-character-trait of “girl”. I don’t mind her naiveté, because it makes sense. And yes, she is book smart (as in literature and math), so she doesn’t stand a chance of surviving in the wilds by herself (I wouldn’t either). What I hate about her is that she has no character arch. She makes terrible decisions that get people killed and she is only remorseful for a moment. In the next book, she ultimately blames the King for it. No, Eve, that was your fault, because you did something stupid without asking if it was ok first.
Arden is awesome. She is sturdy and prickly like a cactus, and she has an actual character arch! The main character didn’t even get one, but she did.
Who is the antagonist here? Possible antagonists include: the King, the wilds, the plague, Leif, and Eve (because she makes so many stupid decisions). If you had to write a book report, this could certainly be a point.
The first boy around her age she meets…she falls in love with. Of course, she argues and fights with him, and he saves her over and over again, and she knows him for such a short period of time but she loves him. Can YA stop this? You could argue that with her old education (all men are evil) she shouldn’t love him. But you can also argue that now she knows she has been fed lies for her entire education, she is naively open to going against that old education. Either way, I dislike the formulaic way the romance pans out.
Spoilers! Read at your own risk!
Why would the King decree that all girls be educated when they will just be strapped to a table and give birth to the future population until they die? This is not cost-effective. Why not indoctrinate them at a young age that this is how they will serve their country?
Arden is labelled as a trouble-making liar. So what does Eve do when Arden tells her something that changes everything she has ever known to be true? She believes her. Why on earth would you believe her? If you have working brain cells, you wouldn’t. But the most intelligent girl in school does.
The ending was awesome, because it stabs the Insta-love in the heart. I didn’t see it coming. Because I didn’t care about the love story, I was alright with it. I was walking through a wooded path when I listened to the end, and my jaw dropped and I subsequently laughed.
I recommend this for readers who like dystopias, though I think more girls than boys will definitely enjoy this. The beginning starts with a quote from Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and yes, there are parallels. If you had to write an essay, I’d say The Handmaid’s Tale, Wither, and Eve would be great to discuss repopulation and women’s rights (though Eve is a pale comparison). I will definitely listen to the next installment, Once, and the audio book experience has been enjoyable for me.