4 / 5 Stars
Bold, imaginative and cinematic - but a few question-marks over the credibility of the plot.
Yes, it's a dystopian book. And let's face it, there are rather a few of them around at the moment. However, this definitely stood out from the crowd, thanks to its inventive approach and strong, confident writing.
Eve is the last young female on earth. As this statement implies, the human race has pretty much wrecked itself, and for some reason, women stopped producing female babies a while back. This left humanity in a dire situation, with only one woman to (hopefully) produce more women.
As such, Eve is hidden away from the world in a strange high tower-building called The Dome. She's protected, yet isolated, with only a hologram of 'Holly' to act as her friend. Ironically, Holly is activated by a male called Bram. Even more ironically, they fall in love... and that's when things start getting very interesting.
Without giving too much away, Bram's on a mission to rescue Eve from the cruel situation she's in; but make no mistake, the people of the Dome aren't going to make it easy for him, or the other 'freevers'.
What I really liked about this book was the moral dilemma at the centre of it. Is it acceptable to keep a girl locked up for the greater good? Is it right to treat her like a breeding cow? And what methods of generating further females are permissible?
I also loved the set-up itself. There was something very eerie about the concept of a huge dome, towering over the rest of the messed up population - this weird little place that should be paradise, were it not all completely artificial. Likewise, the characters were good fun - relatable, interesting and certainly not too cliched (apart from the 'bad guy' Vivian - I really wanted to know her back story but the book never quite got there).
One thing that stopped me giving this a full five stars was the problematic plot itself. I couldn't quite comprehend that humanity would ever get to the point where only one woman of child-bearing age existed. How would this situation arise? Wouldn't more be done before it ever got to this state? Whilst I appreciated the drama of the idea, it felt a little too far-fetched for comfort. Likewise this whole 'they just wanted Eve to gain power' plot-line. We've seen that one in other books - I wanted something fresh. Why couldn't it genuinely be a case that they thought they were helping humanity? That would have added a fresh layer of moral ambiguity that would have been interesting.
However, I do accept that this genre often veers into the far-fetched, and in this case, it wasn't to the detriment of my overall enjoyment. I definitely had my nose stuck right into it throughout.