Review: “Eve and Adam” by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Title: “Eve and Adam”

Author: Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate

Genre: YA, sci-fi, biopunk

Publication Date: October 2, 2012 (North America – Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything… until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

☆: 2.5/5 stars – great idea, but needed a few more drafts.

Review: One of my most anticipated fall releases really let me down. I mean, I love the concept, but the execution of so much of “Eve and Adam” just lacked heart and conviction. I love the authors’ previous work – I was a huge “Animorphs” fan as a kid, so I know they can write. And the quality of the writing really isn’t coming into question – it’s the rest of the technical qualities that just didn’t feel quite developed enough for primetime. However, I do think this book will definitely be a great jumping-off point for getting the young YA crowd into biopunk genre books. I just expected more. Note, there are spoilers in this review, so you’ve been warned.

First – insta-love. Really? Again? At least it wasn’t a love triangle, but the trope of the creator falling in love with their creation is tired. I mean, it was tired back when the Greeks were doing it in their literature and art. Had it been more of a one-sided love, I think it would have worked better, and it would have added more momentum and tension that was really badly needed and sorely lacking. We all KNOW that Adam was created to be perfect in all ways, including aesthetically/visually. But I feel like we don’t really get to see him – we get told about him. And the showing versus telling problem is really not limited to this area of the book – it’s a problem everywhere, and one that really started to bug me.

Second – the problem of the non-sympathetic heroine. We see Eve. But there’s not much deep feeling to her. We can explain this away by saying she’s a mod (genetically modified human), and thus, uh, not quite subject to the same emotional rules as the rest of us. But you see, that’s where these two great authors lost me. Eve suffers a terrible accident, but her reaction isn’t nearly what it should be. I mean. Yeah, her leg grows back, but SHE LOST A LEG, GUYS. AND SHE BARELY ACKNOWLEDGES THAT. That’s just one example, but I just found Eve to be this extremely apathetic heroine that I couldn’t find a single thing to really identify with. That shouldn’t be happening. She needed more torturing, more tension, and more reaction.

Three – general sci-fi credibility. What really kind of made me roll my eyes was the internal memo regarding Project Adam within Spiker, talking about how phase two was going to start building genetically modified humans. It wasn’t credible, or believable – real biotech companies? They would have used heavy and more than slightly insulting euphamisms for humans like “products” or “subjects” instead of dropping the h-bomb in a trackable, hackable internal memo. It just wasn’t believable, and even though there’s a certain amount of that I can handle within a book and still have everything work for me, this was kind of the final straw.

What was awesome: the spy vs spy plot by Solo to bring down Spiker. I found him a much more sympathetic character, and actually kind of wished they’d switched him to being the MC instead of Eve. The horrific showing of what was lurking in the Spiker labs (one of the few times in the book where the authors really showed instead of told) – man, that was horrible, but AWESOME. I wanted more of that. I needed more of that. But I liked Solo’s sub-plot the most. I felt like he was the only character who actually developed and changed the most, and was the most relatable.

Final verdict? This will be great for young YA readers just getting into biopunk lit, but for me, I just expect more by this point and feel like this book needed a few more drafts before reaching the ARC stage of things. I loved the concept, I feel like it was squandered with all of the telling over showing. But I still love these authors, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

“Eve and Adam” will be published by Macmillan in North America October 2, 2012, so be sure to check it out then!


2 thoughts on “Review: “Eve and Adam” by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! | birth of a new witch.

  2. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves – Week 20 | birth of a new witch.

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