Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tea Time: E

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
E, Kate Wrath (E #1)

Anarchy reigns in far-flung Outpost Three, where a nameless girl wakens, having lost everything that defines her-- home, family, memories. E is the story of her battle to survive, to find meaning in a gritty world full of darkness, and to hold on to the few beautiful things she has managed to scrape together. At once riveting and heart-breaking, E delivers an action-packed page-turning experience that flows with an undercurrent of dark poetry. (source:goodreads)

Cover-I adore the use of the robot hand that's holding the lily. It's the kind of concept that I wouldn't ever expect to see, but I think the effect of that part of the image is absolutely breathtaking.

The image behind it, though, of the alley blends with the hand a bit, so I have to question the placement of it. I also wish that the title was a little more visible, and the author name a little less. This would have made the center image-the robot hand with the lily-and the title work together to create one comprehensive cover for the book.

Still. That concept with the hand and the lily. I love just thinking about it.

Narrative-This book is told in the first person POV from the perspective of Eden, the self-named protagonist of the novel. To sum it up, I can say that Eden's voice is breathtaking and hauntingly beautiful, particularly within the first few chapters of the book (although it remains that way throughout the entire thing, as well).

I point out the first few chapters, in particular, since this is where it's basically just Eden. There's no dialogue (with the exception of a few lines), so the entire opening is what Eden is doing to survive, her thoughts, and her thought processes, and the entire time I read it I couldn't help but notice that Wrath gave Eden an incredible voice, able to describe any situation and feeling with incredible detail and accuracy.

This pattern remains constant, even after Eden meets the band of misfits that become her family; if anything, it becomes even stronger as her emotions become anchored in those people who take her in. It's poetic, in a way, without weighing the narrative down, and there were a number of times that I couldn't help but stop and be insanely jealous that Wrath's writing was so fantastic and beautiful.

Plot-Wrath's 'E' is everything I love in a futuristic world where nothing goes right. There's death everywhere, people literally fighting to survive on a daily basis, alliances that have to be forged and broken just to stay alive...the best part? Things only ever get worse. There literally is no "better."

Even after Eden is off the streets, things can only go well for so long. The initial fight for survival is over, but then the stakes rise when food becomes basically nonexistent; this is where troubles begin to rise not only within Outpost Three, but between Outpost Three and Outpost Two, who is ruled by an even worse anarchist than the one who controls Three. Begin trouble.

Despite all of this, I love the angle that Wrath took: Eden is only slightly involved in the actual planning and fighting, and more concerned with navigating alliances between people she cares about and doesn't want to lose. She's trying not to starve to death, and she's trying to make sure that her new family doesn't starve to death. Even though she has no clue who she was before being "erased" (the term used to refer to the process in which first-time offenders of the law are completely stripped of everything they had before that point: their memories), she focuses on the future. At one point we learn what might be her name (I'm still wondering if that really is her name or not, or if it'll come up later), and yet there is very little of Eden focusing on that, since there's other things that steal her attention.

This book is about survival in a world where every choice is the wrong one. Eden may want to save everybody, but she can't even save herself.

Simply: I loved it.

I will point out that there isn't a lot to be learned about where the Sentries came from (giant robot things that are more effective than police, in some ways), or how the process of being "erased" actually works, or even how that system was administrated in the first place. What I find incredible is that these were things I didn't think about until after I read the book, and they still aren't a problem for me. Wrath literally puts the reader in the middle of Outpost Three and makes us appreciate not the struggles of the "system," but of the people struggling to survive in the middle of it.

Characters-Shoot, I have no clue where to even begin with these guys.

I'm not even kidding I don't know where to begin. I guess from the beginning?

Eden is our kickass main character. She literally wakes up, and within five minutes saves herself from slavers. Then she manages to survive a few weeks on her own, pretending to be a sick old hag while trying to feed herself amidst being blackmailed by a real old hag who knows that she is, in fact, a young girl suitable to be sold to the slavers. She's smart, and she's resourceful, which made me like her practically the moment I began reading the book. Plus, those smarts inevitably lead her into the company of a pair of nice guys. Which leads me to:

Apollon and Jonas. These two are the big, burly, lovable glue that holds the family together and protects them at the same time. Note also that it's not really a "family," but a group of people just trying to survive; also not that it was Apollon's idea to take in all of them, and Jonas was overruled by him, though he really does care about everybody in the same way. As mentioned, they're the protectors, and they have a rather interesting past that connects them to Outpost Two, which makes it extremely hard for Eden to later "choose" sides. They're brotherly, smart, and willing to so whatever it takes to survive. They also don't mind throwing around a cute smart-ass quips now and again.

Miranda, Oscar, and Neveah. Miranda is a little spitfire. Something I loved about her was her ability to act tough when she needed to, particularly when one of her own was being threatened. At the same time, she's a girl with ghosts, just like the rest of them, and ultimately her skills are not within combat or bloody encounters, which is a detail that she seems to know about herself. Oscar is the cutest eight-year-old kid ever. He's the little ray of sunshine in everyone else's life, able to look at things with a kid-like naivete that only...well that only a kid could have. At the same time, fighting for survival on the streets has given him wisdom beyond his years, making it so that he can understand a lot more with just a look than people would give him credit for. Last within the family of misfits is Neveah, a woman of little words but who is skilled with herbs and medicines. While she's more in the background, she is a bit of the mother figure; even when she's not in the middle of the action, I couldn't help but think, "Don't worry, she's there."

Last is Matthew, or Matt as he's also known. Like this category, I have no clue where to start with him. Within the first few pages of the book, you know he's not the guy you want to mess with. Even further in, you still hear his name and realize that he runs the entire outpost. Then Eden meets him, because he takes an interest in her, and cue the downward spiral. Matt is like...well he's the anti-hero. You want to like him so freaking much, and then he goes and does something that proves to you that he's evil. Then you want to like him again, and then you hate him. Then the end of the book comes and you're like, "Matt, let me hold you, everything will be okay!"

Then you're staring at the screen of your e-reader blankly wondering what the heck just happened.

I'm not even kidding, Matt is probably one of my favorites just because of how challenging he is to figure out.

Okay, I really did love this book. If I'm being completely honest, I didn't think I'd love this book near as much as I actually love this book.

Obviously, this is  a lot of love. The only reason this book doesn't get a perfect score is because I think the cover could have been put together a tad better. If I weren't playing by my own rules (the ones outlines on the reviews page), then I would totally give it a perfect score.

But, alas, I must play by my own rules or risk being called out as a hypocrite, which is something I'm trying not to do.

Still, this is an insanely good review from me. I typically don't like books this much.

Final Answer: 4.5 / 5

Special thanks to Kate Wrath, who provided me with a copy of E to read and review. Everybody, please go check her out.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Rae! Thank you so much! Your review made me smile, laugh, and again... do the happy author dance. :) Very much appreciated!