Review: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

August 13, 2014 2 stars, Book Review 29 ★★

Review: Dark Eden by Chris BeckettDark Eden by Chris Beckett
Series: Dark Eden #1
Published by Broadway Books on April 1, 2014
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 441
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. 

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return. 

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty--rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.


Not about aliens…boo, but anyway…

Jumping into Dark Eden is like jumping into a freezing swimming pool. The language takes some getting used to and it takes some time for the water to start feeling warmer. Wollybuck? Slip? Buckfat? What the hell do these words mean? Don’t worry, you’ll find out and it will all start to make more sense as you read along. I did love the changing of words like: Veekle = Vehicle, Any Virsry = Anniversary, Rayard Yo = Radio. I also liked the different interpretations of stories, like Hitler killing Jesus and how Angela and Tom came from planet earth. Those were done really well and added to the elements of this created world.

The writing style is really simplistic and honestly, I really craved some description. There was not enough in my opinion, especially on what the shelters looked like and what the people looked like. Turns out they aren’t aliens; they’re humans that evolved somehow…with batfaces or claw feet or some looking perfectly normal.

The worldbuilding was wonderful aside from that mentioned above and all of my questions were answered, surprisingly. There is also a lot of underlying biblical themes (conservative vs. liberal interpretations of “Mother Angela”) as well as the idea of loss of innocence (introduction to sex and violence at a young age). It reminds me a lot of Lord of the Flies except taking place on another planet.

There’s my nice portion of the review. Now prepare for the rants below on why even with all those good things, I didn’t like this one.

John is the main MC. John is apparently beautiful and every girl and their mothers (literally) wants his “baby juice”…seriously, that’s what they call it. He wants something more in life than just staying in the same old routine, living in the community (where everyone is related as they all spawned from the great Tom and Angela who landed from earth) called Family. He is:

“Restless and empty inside and hungry for something more than just ordinary things”

…people never questioned their way of life. They stayed in the same marked spot, waiting for earth to come back and pick them all up again. Waiting for hundreds of years for something to happen.

“Family, our miserable, bitter, lonely Family, full of stupid people, full of hateful, disappointed people, full of sour people, full of ignorant people who never thought anything through for themselves”

Finally, John decides to question everything and then goes off on his own. This is his constant persona (and it was really quite annoying at times).

Tina was so unrealistic it pissed me off on multiple occasions. Y’know how I complain about women not writing good male POVs? Well I guess, men are the same way with women (in this case). Here’s one occasion: John rips Tina’s clothes off and has sex with her…her POV is in the next chapter and she doesn’t bring it up at all!! I mean any sensible woman would think: a) WTF? I can’t believe that just happened. b) wow, that was hot. c) well, that was fast/quick d) ew, wtf, he practically raped me or e) a mess of emotions with all the above. Also, I got confused on which POV it was, because she sounded so similar to John. I had to look back to make sure who’s chapter I was on.

Every other character didn’t really make much of an impression.

Feminist Rant: 

What really bothered me was the amount of crap I had to put up with when reading these female characters. I’ve only read one other Sci-Fi this year, Red Rising, (if you read it) you know all those strong confident mind-blowing women in that novel? Yeah, picture every opposite trait and put it in all the of the women in this story and you get…

Women who are horny all the fricking time, ignorant, weak-minded, whimpy and/or scared, when one actually speaks up she’s hushed away, just there for breeding, and would “slip” with anyone with a motherfricking penisThere is not one strong female in this story! NOT ONE. Even Tina, who disagrees with John is hushed away and she proceeds to sleep with three different guys (has babies with two different ones?!). Don’t get me started on Bella or Martha or any other stupid woman in this. There all a bunch of horndogs and babymakers.

The ending came full circle, but there was also a huge part that was left completely ambiguous?!

It was very unsatisfying for me…but you can pick it up for yourself and see if it’s worth reading.

Also, I was annoyed annoyed with the emphasis on the repeating of the same same word to get someone’s point point across. This repeating was sprinkled throughout the whole book. And so was “Harry’s dick” and “Gela’s tits” and others in replacement of curse words (just thought I’d mention it).

29 Responses to “Review: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett”

    • Kat

      Thank YOU! LOL, yeah, it wasn’t really a fun read for me. It was more rage inducing if anything. I think that’s because I focus a lot on the characters and I couldn’t find ONE likable one. Then the storyline got draggy and the women were–y’know. Then it all went to hell after that point.
      Kat recently posted…Wishing Stars: Space Opera FairytalesMy Profile

    • Kat

      I know!! I WANTED SOME ALIENS. I mean the humans did evolve with some deformities, but come on man. I wanted more than that. And I think both me and you can agree that we like strong independent women. There’s usually at least one in a book.

      None here, that’s all I’m sayin’
      Kat recently posted…Wishing Stars: Space Opera FairytalesMy Profile

    • Kat

      I’m sure there are positive reviews and I would weigh the pros and cons 🙂 that’s what I normally do for books such as this one. Like Lisa commented, people have WAY different viewpoints on this society.
      Kat recently posted…Wishing Stars: Space Opera FairytalesMy Profile

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    OK, we had COMPLETELY different takes on this one. Hopefully you don’t mind a bit of friendly devil’s advocate here. I know not everyone is going to like this book, and yes, there are areas it could be improved. But I thought part of the point with all the sex (which maybe I could have done without) is that it was a completely different thing in their society. It didn’t have the emotional attachments to it we have. Also, in our society, a woman sleeping around like the women did would be considered sluts, but there, it was normal society, women could sleep with who they wanted when they wanted without being judged, and I think there’s something there. Personally, I liked how it showed the evolution of the society, I liked the darkness. The protagonist was certainly a flawed character, sometimes his actions made me cringe, but I liked it. Just a different take than yours 🙂
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsMy Profile

    • Kat

      WOW, NO I LOVE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE and thanks for sharing that take. I did read in other reviews that it was actually giving more power to females seeing as how one was in charge and they were allowed to sleep with whomever they wanted.

      Which is wonderful, my problem is that the woman my have power, but they weren’t powerful (to me). I mean the leader slept with the main MC, didn’t question anything in Family, and overall the females made a lesser impact on the story.

      Maybe if they all didn’t sleep with the main character, I would feel differently. But, I know they took looks into consideration for their procreation and he happened to be handsome so it makes sense, I just didn’t like it all that much 🙂 Happy that people did enjoy it and it’s definitely not a terrible read (if so I would have given a 1), but I’d be a bit dodgy.
      Kat recently posted…Wishing Stars: Space Opera FairytalesMy Profile

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Oh, HELL no. I would be feminist ranting right alongside you if I read this book. And, after your description of the wont for John’s “baby juice” I’m picturing that one episode of True Blood where Jason’s tied to the bed so that the werepanthers (I think?) could breed with him… There are so many things wrong with that image. *shakes it out of head*
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    • Kat

      EW!! LOL, that’s so hilarious, because it seems exactly like that. Sex is all for breeding and getting the best looking baby. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was. The wonderful worldbuilding just couldn’t save it for me.
      Kat recently posted…Cloak and DaggerMy Profile

  3. Kathleen

    Your review made me realize I need to check out Red Rising soon.

    I don’t think I’ll even bother reading even a chapter of this book. There are too many more good books worth reading.
    Kathleen recently posted…pretentiousMy Profile

  4. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

    Oh no!! No strong female?? HA, while I thought there were too many in Red Rising, it does sound better than none. Also, WHAT?? She didn’t bring the sex at all in her POV? That’s odd. I don’t like where there are TOO MANY description but lacking of it is not good either. I undestand why you didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t either and, even though I’m in a 2014 published books marathon, I won’t pick this up for sure. Thanks for the honest review! xx
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    • Kat

      Thanks for commenting Lola. I actually don’t think this is your cake at all. Even if the unique society is intriguing. Too many qualms to count and not enough pros to proceed or even attempt to rec you it. Definite pass for your tastes.
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    • Kat

      It really just depends on which weighs you more. Some people really love this society and it is very unique to it’s genre. I only couldn’t get past it because I’m bias toward stronger female characters (at least one need to be presented).
      Kat recently posted…Cloak and DaggerMy Profile

  5. Kirsty-Marie

    “baby juice” I think I just vomited a little. Hahaha…no. I’m staying well away from this, I don’t think my eyes could take it. Or my brain. Or my patience. The way the women come across, because yes WE’RE ALL LIKE THAT. Obviously. Go away, book, go away. But seriously, just no. This is why I’m always wary writers writing the opposite sex, okay, not all are bad, and I’ve come across a few that are done well, but usually, nope. So yeah, great example right here. I’d read it just to rant at it really, the ranting would be fun, but the waste of hours trying to get through it wouldn’t, ha.
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    • Kat

      HAHAH!! It’s a really long book too, I’m used to reading 300 pagers, and with all the crap that goes on it felt much longer. I agree though, it’s nice to read just to rant about it. I like getting things like that off my chest. I remember people having other issues rather than the women, but those I could overlook.

      The women in this story are the ones that I couldn’t look past. TOO MUCH FOR ME as well. So thanks for the comment. Glad to know I’m not on my own.
      Kat recently posted…TantalizedMy Profile

  6. molly mortensen

    Sounds like the book had a good concept and promise, but the author blew it. This doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. Thanks for the warning. I appreciated your mentioning the good parts along with the bad. I wish you better luck on your next book.

    • Kat

      I like to give a both good or bad sides to a story, just in case people can see past the bad (sometimes my goods are bad for people too) so it all really depends on the person 🙂 But yes…this one was not my cup either.
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    • Kat

      HAH! Glad you enjoyed it. I’m usually not so harsh, there’s so much good in this book, but I just couldn’t look past it. Really depends on the person 🙂
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