You will read a touching sad letter at the start of this book written by a desperate mother for her daughter, Eve to read. The letter gives you the premise of the story and tells of a horrible epidemic that will soon claim this mother’s life and leave Eve with little hope for the future. Fast forward to a world where this epidemic has killed off the majority of the world’s population and young girls have been raised in schools and boys in labour camps. Girls have been educated with the idea that once graduating the world is their oyster….they will go on to learn a trade, earn money and live very successful and rewarding lives. However, on graduation day Eve uncovers the disturbing truth of what the girls’ future really holds. (I won’t spoil it for readers by revealing this truth) but Eve yearns for much more out of life. She runs away from the school and embarks on an incredible journey. She meets up with another girl named Arden, who has also escaped, a girl she wasn’t fond of while at school. They quickly form a strong bond as they are forced to rely on each other for survival.
The girls run into a boy named Caleb, who tales them back to a place were a group of wayward boys have taken up residence after they have run away from a labour camp. The three swap childhood stories, the girls telling of their fake education and their predestined fate and the boys of their harsh upbringing and dismal future. They soon discover that the King is searching for Eve and she must once again go on the run. Nothing quite goes to plan as Eve, Arden and Caleb come up against unsuspecting problems which force them into all different situations.
The writing style is good and the characters are very different yet all likeable in their own way. Eve is brave, intelligent, considerate and full of thought. Arden is tough, street smart and resourceful. Caleb is charismatic, protective and a real sweetheart. The three interact really well with each other and I connected with them all. They are so real – it would be hard not to bond with them :-)
Anna Carey had me believing what I was reading, an essential element for a dystopian novel to work. It’s fast pace had me turning the pages and I couldn’t put it down. The summary for the second book, entitled Once, is intriguing with a plot centred on dealings with this King. What will Eve do now???