After a terrible plague ravages the earth and 98% of the world’s population has died, Eve is taken to an orphanage where the girls are trained in math, science, decorum, art, and music. Eve is about to graduate and will soon be attending University, all in an effort to help rebuild America. Then Eve learns the truth, that the girls are going to be used for breeding not their brains and she can look forward to a life of multiples childbirth until her body gives out. Escaping, leaving all her friends behind, Eve goes out into the world that she has been sheltered from for so long, a world full of men. But perhaps all the things she has been taught were wrong. Or maybe not.
In the tradition of The Stand by Stephen King, Eve uses a bit overused premise of a humanity offing plague as a jumping off point to play around with the future. Despite such an obvious premise, the plot rolls along rather nicely and Eve is naive enough to make her an interesting character to discover this dystopian world with. As a reader the parts I found most interesting were Eve’s distorted views of men, literature, and society. The reader is well-aware of Eve’s knowledge shortcomings and it is her discovery of the truth that is the most engaging part of the story.
That said, the romance within the story felt a little shallow. Eve falls in love with the first young man she meets, who happens to be a nice guy and that’s it. Sure, romance goes in the face of all she has been taught about men, but it felt too well put together and for a book that was showing the world at its grittiest, the romance story was one giant sparkle. Perhaps that is what the author wanted, a shining moment in an otherwise chaotic story.
Also, the world in which Eve lives did not pan logically. Why, if the girls are just going to be used as baby birthing machines, were they trained in science and art. What purpose does that serve? Would it not be easier to have the girls be treated like Annie and then one day take them away? And why are children, orphans, being used as slave labor. Children are weaker than adults and I would imagine that hard labor would be rather counter productive. In a society where there are only perhaps 60,000-80,000 people left in the entire United States, it seems stupid to waste people.
As usual, Eve will clearly be part of a series, because heaven help up, we can’t seem to tell an entire story in one novel. I haven’t yet decided if this is a writing issue or a publishing issue, but either way, past sci-fi authors have proven that a good story can be told in one go. Eve is a nice addition to this new Dystopian Romantic Sci-Fi genre, but I would prefer my sci-fi to have a little more substance beyond a love story.