Hello humans! For those of us who are bookishly inclined, I think there’s a small worry at the back of our minds whenever anyone ‘famous’ (I use quotation marks because I think celebrity means different things to different people) gets a publishing deal. I’ll confess to not having read a huge number of books of this kind, largely because they tend to be contemporary YA which isn’t always my thing and also because there are too many other books to be reading! However, Giovanna Fletcher and Tom Fletcher are going to be at YALC this year so I thought I’d give their book Eve of Man a go.
AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .
All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.
But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.
Until she meets Bram.
Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.
But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?
Content warning: Infertility and miscarriage, discussion of rape, some violence
I’ll start with my main issue with this book, which is that this book made no attempt to address members of the LGBTQIA+ community whatsoever (or if it did I missed it). I understand that the whole crux of the matter is that humanity needs to breed, I get the concept. But it wouldn’t have hurt the plot to have had trans women, non-individuals and so forth. Especially given that at least one of the authors has a huge internet following so can’t pretend that they aren’t aware of these issues. Any book that takes sex and/or gender as a central issue should be being held to high standards, particularly in YA where a lot of the readers are pretty well-informed of these issues. It bothered me that this didn’t get addressed.
There are also a couple of moments where the fact that Bram is playing a hologram of a woman (and therefore ‘wearing women’s clothing’) is shown as being something inherently funny or weird. It’s 2018, I feel like no-one should have to tell people that kind of humour isn’t ok.
Another problem I had (I have some nice things to say later don’t worry this isn’t a wholly negative review) was that I felt like Bram was set up to be Eve’s saviour in a very ‘damsel in distress’ kind of way. I mean, she effectively lives in the highest room of the tallest tower, it’s not hard to draw the princess comparison here. The reason I started to enjoy the latter half of the book much more than the former was because Eve herself starts being a more active participant in her own destiny. I think there is an argument to be made for her being incredibly sheltered and naïve, but it just didn’t quite sit right with me, especially in a genre with so many amazing female characters, to have one who didn’t quite hit the mark. A little more balance between the two characters would have been appreciated.
Romance, because there is some, ok a lot. I’m a little torn with this one because, on the one hand, I can’t argue that it is the dreaded ‘insta-love’ as in one way these characters grow up together. However, I found that from the moment Eve works out who Bram is to her being in love with him is a little speedy. I think this could have benefitted from some time for them to get to know each other as themselves before declaring undying love. But I can see that the set-up wouldn’t allow for that so I can’t fault it too much.
I did think this was an interesting concept. I always love an unreliable narrator and so, of course, I loved the idea of having both Bram and Eve’s perspectives of the world (which are very different). I thought that once the plot really got going in the last 20% of the book this read as a very enjoyable YA dystopian novel. I think that, if some of the issues are addressed, this could be a very interesting series to follow, certain mysteries have been set up that it would be good to know the endings to.
Should you read this? Maybe? I think it depends how sold you are on the concept. I don’t think it’s something I would re-read immediately but I’m interested to see if the good parts of this book can be salvaged for later books.
My rating: 2/5 stars
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Will you be reading Eve of man? Let me know in the comments below!