Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher
I decided to read Eve of Man because it was quite heavily promoted on my social media when it came out. On paper it’s right up my street; a classic dystopian YA novel. I have read so many of these over the years and most of them I thoroughly enjoyed, but this one I found a bit disappointing.
I had fairly high expectations because it’s by two well-known authors who between them have produced a fairly substantial amount of published material. I have not read either of their work but I know they have both received a fair amount of praise for their books.
The basic premise of the book is that no females are born to the human race and after fifty years of experimenting and trying to manipulate nature a girl is conceived naturally to aging parents and manages to survive. She is then cocooned in a virtual reality, heavily controlled by those in power. We enter the story when she is sixteen and about to be introduced to three potential suitors in order to begin repopulating the world.
There have been many comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, but having neither read the book nor seen the television series my mind immediately jumped to Consider Her Ways, a short story by John Wyndham in which there are no more men and the women have taken it upon themselves to reproduce. In that story the ‘Mothers’ are breeding machines and as the story unfolds in Eve of Man and we find out more about the character of Silva, this is what I envisioned as her intended future for Eve.
The book has some interesting concepts and explores the theme of humanity and how it would fare without the balance of both sexes. Would men destroy the world and it’s resources faced with the demise of the human race? Another theme the book takes a good look at particularly in the second half is power: the haves and the have-nots. This idea is taken to extremes where those who have access to Eve live in an impenetrable tower whilst the rest of the population lives in a world destroyed by flooding, in damp makeshift living quarters.
Eve of Man is a book of two halves. The first building up the character of Eve and the world she has been brought up in; the second containing a lot more action, driving the plot forward. The change of pace felt a bit abrupt and the speed at which events happened was a bit jarring. However, this is the first book in a series so some world building is necessary and the race to the cliffhanger does leave the reader wanting to know what happens next.
I found the overall feeling of the book a bit flat. Maybe the dystopian teen novel has been overdone in recent years, but I don’t necessarily think that means it has no place in the literary world. I’m hoping that as the series goes on the pace of it will even out and they will continue to explore interesting and relevant themes. I don’t know if I would rush to buy book two as soon as it comes out but I will definitely get around to reading it…I can’t leave a story unfinished!
Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to the next instalment? Let me know!