Hello humans! I keep saying it, and it continues to be true, I’ve had to review a lot of review copies lately. I’m hoping to have the majority of them out of the way by the end of the year, and then next year I have plans for how I’m going to balance things so I can fit more backlist and more library books into my reading schedule. But I shouldn’t complain of course, and I’m not complaining, because I have got to read some amazing books recently thanks to review copies kindly provided by authors and publishers alike. Alanah Andrews approached me asking if I would consider reading and reviewing her book Eve of Eridu and I was certainly intrigued, so I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you today.
In a world where emotions are forbidden, what happens when you start to feel?
The harvest separates the worthy from the unworthy. Those who pass are destined to continue the human race, and the unworthy are culled.
For years, Eve has been the poster girl for emotional control. But ever since her brother was culled, Eve is finding it difficult to keep the monitor on her wrist an acceptable blue.
The next harvest ceremony is approaching and Eve will do whatever it takes to avoid the same fate as her brother.
Gripping and intriguing, Eve of Eridu explores the lengths that humans will go to in their quest for survival.
This concept, on the surface, isn’t entirely new. I’m reminded of the Delerium books that I read as a teenager and absolutely loved. The idea of a society based around hiding or concealing your feelings is in theory nothing new. However, I thought that the various details that were added to this concept really turned it into something different. Where other books include an operation or similar to stop members of society from feeling, this book is far more about conditioning, about negative (and some positive) reinforcement encouraging young people not to feel anything. There was something of The Dark Intercept in there, the idea of your emotions being tracked and monitored for the greater good of the people. It makes for sinister reading, particularly when you are reading from the perspective of someone who, for a good portion of the book, genuinely believes this to be a positive thing. It takes a lot to shake Eve from her view of the world, which felt quite significant since so often in stories like these it doesn’t take too much to unseat the main character from their beliefs.
I also enjoyed some of the ideas of the wider setting, which I won’t go into too much detail on because you should probably explore them for yourself, but things like attitudes towards the afterlife and death, in general, are very interesting in this world. There’s also a huge scope for this world to expand in a later novel, or perhaps a companion novel? I don’t think it needs to, but it would be interesting to explore what life on the surface is like while humanity has been shut in a bunker.
My one criticism with this book, and it’s a criticism I have with pretty much every ’emotions are a bad thing’ book I’ve read, the idea that love is essential. That people aren’t living if they don’t experience love. It isn’t as prevalent in this story as it is in, for example, Delerium, but it is still there and I do think it’s a harmful attitude to have and does somewhat ignore Aromantic representation. I’d quite like to read a book like this that has platonic love or affection as the core point, which this does have to a point which is partly why it does so much better than other examples of the genre.
I loved the way that the mystery unfolded in this book. I always love an unreliable narrator or a narrator who finds themselves questioning aspects of their world that they have always believed to be true. The pacing of this book works well for that, you never feel like you’re being bombarded with plot twist after plot twist, but it keeps the excitement up throughout. By around 1/3 of the way in I was totally hooked, I needed to know how this one ended. It also managed to genuinely surprise me at times, which is no mean feat at this point!
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? What other books like this do you know? Let me know in the comments below!