Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eve and Adam - Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Title: Eve and Adam
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends, 2012 (Hardcover)
Length: 291 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction
Started: January 9, 2012
Finished: January 10, 2012

From the inside cover:

In the beginning, there was an apple.

And then there was a car crash, a horrible, debilitating injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker could regain consciousness, there was a strange boy checking her out of the hospital and rushing her to Spiker Biopharmaceuticals, her mother's research facility. Once there, Eve has to heal, and cope with an eerie isolation only interrupted by her overbearing mother, a strange group of doctors, and the mysterious boy who brought her there.

Just when Eve thinks she will die-not from her injuries, but boredom-her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation that is designed to teach human genetics, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up: eyes, hair, muscles, even a brain, and potential personality traits. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect...won't he?

I was super excited about this book when I first saw the cover and summary. It's co-written by the author of the Gone series (that I love to pieces) and his wife. The plot seemed intriguing and original, which it is, but unfortunately was underwhelming in every other aspect.

The novel is told through a series of alternating narratives: Eve, Solo, and later on, Adam. The problem is that all three narratives sound exactly the same and are essentially interchangeable, if I hadn't read the top of each chapter telling me who was narrating I actually had a hard time figuring it out (though Adam is slightly easier to decipher than the other two since his narratives always mention men and women fawning over him due to his extreme hotness). Some authors can pull off multiple narratives, but this is not the case here.

In terms of characters, most of them fall flat. Eve is fairly average and I did like her, though the fact that she didn't question how she could re-grow a chipped tooth or heal insanely fast and never got sick seems really unrealistic. Solo comes off as a complete asshole (seriously, who can have sexy thoughts about a girl that was in a nearly fatal car crash who's screaming in pain?), and Adam seems to exist only to be beautiful and instantly love Eve (for a created human complete with a brain and personality he's very limited in that regard). Aislin was annoying and hyper-sexualized and just made me want to smack her, and the subplot with her loser drug-dealing boyfriend was a complete waste of time, and just illustrated how much of a doormat Aislin was and how stupid Eve was for giving them money to keep him out of trouble. Eve's mom, Terra, was interesting; but even she was pretty much the frigid ice queen and seemed like a trope rather than a well rounded female character with a tendency to be cold and calculated.

The premise of the novel and the ethical questions raised relating to genetic modifications, cloning, and playing God in general are wonderful and thought-provoking, this book had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it just wasn't executed very well at all.

Thoughts on the cover:
I like it. The apple made up of puzzle pieces and the spark (of life maybe?), complete with binary code in the background, plus the colours are appealing.

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