Look at that book cover. Mmm. Delightful. ❤
Tis Willow leading the review today. My mum actually chose this book for Lauren’s birthday (hi Mum). I enjoyed this way more than expected. I’m not sure what made me nervous – probably just the premise “beautiful teen girl living in a world of literally only men” is enough to make any woman clench.
The writing is incredibly cinematic. It’s hella action-packed and visually awesome. Set in a dystopian London (yay!), the story hones in on the life of two teens called Bram and Eve. Despite being mildly predictable, it utilised world building to satisfying effect. I was very gratified rather than annoyed when everything I predicted was set-up for specific later events turned out to be true. Lauren has a fantastic theory about two of the villains, but I’ll leave that for her to explain.
My major critique is that it should have done more with gender and sexual diversity. Bram’s main role for his entire life has been to pretend to be a girl, and Eve has only ever known Bram as “Holly”, her best friend, the projected illusion.
When romance develops between the two of them, I longed to see an internal revelation from Eve who didn’t know what attracted her to Bram in the first place. She knows him fairly well, but only looking like a girl. Does she like girls? Or is she attracted to people before looks, making her demisexual?
Bram also hints that he has experimented with men. I’d personally love to know more about that. In a world only of men, would you grow up noticing if you found other men attractive, even if you didn’t act upon those observations?
It leans A LOT into gender roles for 60% of the book, but I don’t think this will be the intention for book two, so that’s hopeful. I just feel like it didn’t push itself enough in regards to multiple generations of men growing up only knowing elderly women.
Still, the story does a fabulous job of unfolding various mysteries and leading you to guess some of the the outcomes. I felt like smartz reader, yay! Lauren’s observation is something we desperately want answered, and I’m totally convinced she’s bang on the mark.
Finally, Eve is a fantastically active protagonist considering her restrictive circumstances. That deserves praise. She’s driven, curious, compassionate, and daring. I think it’s forgivable that she’s naive and gullible – she’s been moulded to fit a warped world view – and when she does see cracks in the façade, she only continues to gain momentum in smashing sky around her.
I hope book two is just as satisfying.
I concur! Lauren here, after a happy couple of weeks glued to this book – thank you, Auntie Trudie!
Willow, I’m not here to discuss our theories, I’m here to TELL YOU my theory. Tra la la! Oh, while it pops into my head: We had a few giggles over Bram’s leadership skillz – like, wow, wish I could walk into a room of strangers and declare I AM NOW YOUR LEADER. Okay, son. Anyway, back to my theory.
Vivian and Bram’s Dad? Same person. Yep, you heard it here first. Here’s what I’m thinking: Eve thinks Vivian had a personality transplant at some point, Vivian and Bram’s dad have never appeared in a scene together, and when Bram crashed into Daddyo’s office, he was all flustered and removing a visor. Make it not make sense.
Very much a page-turner this one was. I enjoyed the concept of Holly, the ‘Drop’, and the suspense of waiting for Eve to finally wake up and smell the roses. The fact that we know so much more than she does about the prison she is living in makes for a tense read and just the right level of frustrating.
Spoiler warning: One of my only complaints is that it was disappointing we never got to find out how Eve’s dad delivered that message to Hartman. After going through a long WE MUST SET EVE’S DAD FREE scene, it would have been nice to see Eve’s Dad stick it to the EPO.
Can’t wait for book two. Lol jokes we’ve already started reading book two… BUSTED (it’s a pun! Cos, you know, Tom Fletcher). Naughty book-clubbers.
Also, I hope Hartman is okay. Long live Hartman. That is all.