Thursday, January 27, 2022

Review - Eve of Eridu

Eve of Eridu
(Eridu #1)
by Alanah Andrews
Date: 2018
Publisher: Michael Terence Publishing
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 226
Format: e-book
Source: Kobo

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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Wow. I don't think I've ever had this much of a drop in enjoyment between two instalments of a series before.

I read The Harvest (the prequel short story) a week or so ago and was really intrigued by the world the author had built. Eve and Hana were interesting characters, the world was fascinating, and I wanted to know more. Why was Eve's brother, Luc, culled? That was the biggest question I had, and I really wanted to see if Eve of Eridu would answer it. Well, it did... but that answer was less than satisfactory.

It's painfully obvious that Eve of Eridu was written before The Harvest, even though the latter is the prequel. While The Harvest featured distinct characters and an intriguing introduction to the world of Eridu, Eve of Eridu feels incomplete, confusing, and not consistent with its prequel. I kind of liked Eve in The Harvest; she's completely unlikeable in Eve of Eridu. Maybe the author realized she needed to humanize Eve a little more in the prequel so that she didn't come off as a brainwashed sociopath. (Yes, she gets better toward the end of this book, but it's too little, too late... and even then, she's still spouting the cult's sayings like a loyal member. It makes her final actions ring a bit false.) Also, if you liked Hana in The Harvest, you'll be disappointed here; she's little more than a cardboard cutout for Eve to look down upon in this book.

The other way this book seems obviously written first is the writing and editing. The first part is okay, but then the editor seems to give up. The rest of the book is full of comma splices, misplaced action beats, and incorrect punctuation (including a seeming aversion to question marks). If I hadn't wanted so badly to find out how this cult started and what its goal really was, I would've given up.

I can't even imagine reading this book without first reading the prequel. As I was reading Eve of Eridu, I was thinking about how confused I would've been had I not already been introduced to the world and all its terminology. And as for Luc... well, that's probably this book's biggest failing. He's already gone by the time the story starts, so we never get to see his relationship with Eve... and that makes it really difficult to feel anything for her because we don't really know what kind of relationship she's lost. All we know is what she tells us. (Unfortunately, the amount of telling in this book borders on the ridiculous. We're often not shown anything at all, and Eve just explains things to us. At one point, we skip ahead by months, just with one sentence. This transition could've worked... but not stuck in the middle of a random paragraph as it was.)

I'm just disappointed. I so rarely read YA these days, and I thought I'd found a series that I'd actually enjoy. Right now, I'm more annoyed than anything, and hesitant to even recommend the prequel (even though it's far better than this book). Judging by the rating on Goodreads, I'm probably in the minority. Your mileage, as always, may vary. But, if you do decide to read this, make sure you start with The Harvest.

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Editing: 2/5
Originality: 3/5
Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2.25 out of 5 ladybugs

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