Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire
Date of publication: October 11th, 2022
Genre: Horror, Gothic, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Religion, Cults, Adult, Thriller, Fantasy
A heart-pounding tale of faith and family, with a devastating twist
“A great day is upon us. He is coming. The world will be washed away.”
On the wind-battered isle of Altnaharra, off the wildest coast of Scotland, a clan prepares to bring about the end of the world and its imminent rebirth.
The Adder is coming and one of their number will inherit its powers. They all want the honor, but young Eve is willing to do anything for the distinction.
A reckoning beyond Eve’s imagination begins when Chief Inspector Black arrives to investigate a brutal murder and their sacred ceremony goes terribly wrong.
And soon all the secrets of Altnaharra will be uncovered.
My heart is a dark passage, lined with ranks of gleaming jars.Little Eve by Catriona Ward
When I got the invite from Tor to read Little Eve, I had a fan girl moment. I started jumping up and down and yelling, “I got it!! I got it!!“. I rarely have that type of reaction to getting a book invite. But this was different. I had recently read (and reviewed) The House on Needless Street. So, it was a given that I would accept this book. I am glad that I did because this book was a great read.
Little Eve is the story of Evelyn (aka Eve). Eve grew up on an isolated island off the coast of Scotland. Living with her Uncle, his two consorts, and three other children, her life revolves around chores, exercise, school, and a ritual that her Uncle oversees – who is going to become the next Adder? Eve is determined to become the next Adder, even if that means isolating everyone from the village they used to frequent. But Eve has discovered something about her Uncle that changes how she views her life. What has she found, and how is it going to affect her? How is it going to affect her family? And who is Uncle, and why does he have such power over everyone?
There are trigger warnings in Little Eve. There are graphic examples of child abuse (children being starved, having their mouths tarred shut, being maimed, exercise as punishment, alluded sexual abuse, and medical/physical needs not being met). If that triggers you, I suggest not reading this book.
Little Eve started slow and gradually amped up the speed of the book. It was never lightning fast which worked with how the story was.
Little Eve takes place on an island called Altnaharra in Scotland and its neighboring village. I love books set in Scotland, and this book didn’t dampen my love of it.
I needed help telling the characters apart at the beginning of the book. The author labeled the chapters with the names and years in which the book took place. But still, I couldn’t keep them straight in my head.
- Eve—I wasn’t sure about her when the book started. She was a wild child who marched to the beat of her own drummer, which was frowned upon in 1920s Scotland. But, as the book went on, I began to see how she acted was more of a survival technique than being different. By the time of the murders, she had thrown off Uncle’s brainwashing techniques and was desperate to help her family. There is so much more that I can say, but I will say this – read the beginning of the book with a very open mind. Not everything is how it seems, and it will become crystal clear as the book progresses.
- Uncle—I went back and forth about having him as one of the main characters. I decided he would be one because of his overwhelming presence in the book. The more the author revealed about him, the less I liked him. Uncle wasn’t a nice man, and he wielded his power over the children in ways that made me sick. When Nora finally told all towards the end of the book, I wanted to throw up.
- Nora—-She was another one I went back and forth about adding as a main character. And, like Uncle, I chose to do it since she was a colossal figure in the book in so many ways. I couldn’t understand why Nora was almost constantly pregnant during the book or kept losing the babies. It didn’t hit me until about halfway through what Uncle was doing and why Nora kept losing the babies. I felt so bad for her, and I understood her actions at the end of the book.
- Dinah—She was a third of the triad of characters that I waffled on putting as the main character. She was Eve’s Jiminy Cricket in some ways. Everything Eve did for the entire book was mainly for Dinah. Dinah did love Eve, but she didn’t understand her.
A ton of secondary characters in Little Eve add extra depth to the book. The ones that stood out the most to me were Abel, Jaime, and Ruby.
Little Eve fits perfectly into the Gothic horror genre. Catriona Ward is becoming one of my favorite authors of this genre. She writes it so beautifully.
The storyline with Eve, Uncle, the other residents of the island, and everything that was happening on the island was well written. The author did a fantastic job of keeping me on edge with everything. I was horrified at the killings and how Dinah was maimed. I was also horrified at the glimpses of abuse everyone on that island went through. I wasn’t expecting that storyline to end the way it did because of how chaotically it was written. As I stated above, keep a very open mind about what is happening. Things will explain themselves at the end of the book.
The storyline with Eve and Chief Inspector Black was interesting. Chief Inspector Black had an idea of what was happening on the island and did everything to get Eve out of there. I loved that the author included that he was trying to use forensic science!! Of course, that storyline did get sad, but he was vindicated by the end of the book.
The end of Little Eve was terrific. There were a few massive twists that I didn’t see (or want to see coming). I left reading this book feeling like the author had put me through the wringer.
Three Things I Liked About Little Eve:
- The author. I am a massive fan of her books.
- It is set in Scotland.
- The storylines. They were creepy and kept me guessing.
Three Things I Disliked About Little Eve:
- Child abuse. The author didn’t lay it on thick, but it was stated as a matter of fact.
- Uncle. He gave me the heebie-jeebies.
- What happened to Chief Inspector Black. It was a travesty, and I was not happy about it.
I would recommend Little Eve to anyone over 21. There is mild language, graphic violence, and no sex. Also, see the trigger warnings at the beginning of the review.
If you enjoyed reading Little Eve, you will enjoy reading these books: