First of all, I'm an atheist. So reading biblical fiction for me is no different that reading the bible itself. All of it is fiction.
Having said that, this review has no bearing on my atheism. I have read and enjoyed [b:The Red Tent: A Novel|4989|The Red Tent A Novel|Anita Diamant|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312026800s/4989.jpg|1041558] very much! A book is still a book, and if written well and kept me engaged, I see no reason to rate it down. The problem I have with Eve: A Novel is that Elissa Elliott managed to create a book with not one single likable character.
I have an issue with multiple narrators, first of all, and would have preferred to read this book with one narrator only, or designate different 'books' to be narrated by another. This book is narrated by Eve, and her three daughters -- all of whom annoyed me.
Eve herself is a bore, dumb as a box of hair, and relies completely on her husband and children for answers because she can't lift a finger herself to figure anything out. Her eldest daughter Naava, is the only character who does not narrate in first-person. Instead Elliott does not give her a voice, and all of Naava's chapters are written as third person. Why? I don't know. Her chapters go on to describe conversations and feelings amongst the others in the family, so it seemed quite unnecessary. Eve's middle daughter Aya reminded me of Dakota Fanning. Way too mature beyond her years, way too depended upon by everyone, and way too intelligent. I've seen reviews here where Aya is actually most people's favourite character. Why? She was eleven years old and had no business to be the saviour for everyone. Lastly, Eve's youngest daughter Dara narrates in baby-talk mixed with mature wording. So when describing "pee-pee" like a tot, the rest of her sentences could be comparable to the elders. Dara's baby-talk became annoying to read through, knowing full well that her description of everything else made her aware and capable to describe as an adult. For this, Elliott was inconsistent, and after each new chapter with no improvement, the more evident it was.
I wish very much Elissa Elliott would have put her "Afterword" at the beginning of the book to explain the inconsistencies of the bible itself. To read about Adam and Eve as the universal parents only to be met by Sumerians later on was a contradiction. I learned at the end, reading her Afterword, that all of this inconsistency was from the bible itself. Good to know, because I had been critical of Elissa Elliott for this the entire time I was reading it.
I will give Elissa Elliott credit for reading something that was pleasing to the eye to read. Her lush language of the ancient world describing the surroundings, the food, the clothing, and the people were all a joy to read. But it did not carry the weight of a story that was written by four narrators (well, three but technically Naava gets credits for speaking as her chapters are named for her), and all four women are hard to like, much less identify with given that their personalities are either so dull (Eve), poisonous and incestuous (Naava), too good to be true (Aya), or annoying (Dara). As for the much more entertaining boys in this book, I think the point to give feminism a nod was not a success here with Eve's so-called bravery to eat the forbidden fruit only to have her turn in to a dud thereafter.
I would have much preferred a novel narrated entirely by Eve, but I'm afraid that Eve's inability to rub two sticks together probably would have frustrated me to the point of not being able to read the whole book.